Winter Storm Blasts East Coast, Cuts Power to More Than 500,000

Ice storm leaves South in the dark as it takes a snowy turn up the coast.

Snow blankets a street on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in downtown Birmingham, Ala. Snow and ice covered the northern half of the state, forcing authorities to close roads and prompting another day of school and business closings.

Snow blankets a street Wednesday in downtown Birmingham, Ala. Snow and ice covered the northern half of the state, forcing authorities to close roads and prompting another day of school and business closings.

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After tormenting the South and leaving more than 500,000 without power, the powerful winter storm stretching from Alabama to Massachusetts turned its force on the East Coast, dropping snow up to two inches an hour in Washington, D.C.

“That’s basically as heavy as you are going to see it snow without thunder snow involved,” according to The Weather Channel, which dubbed the wintry menace “Pax.”

A foot of snow or more is being recorded in parts of the mid-Atlantic region including Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, with New England expected to receive up to 18 inches, the Weather Channel reported.

[READ: Snow and Ice Mixture Bombards the Southeast, Creating Treacherous Conditions]

More than 4,500 flights have been canceled and about 1,900 more delayed as of Thursday morning, most from airports in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Newark and near Washington, D.C., according to FlightAware.com, which tracks delays and cancellations in real time.

The same system dropped about a half an inch of freezing rain in the South, cutting power to about 230,000 in Georgia, 200,000 in South Carolina and  90,000 in North Carolina, according to NBC News.

And though Georgians learned their lesson from two weeks ago and mostly stayed off the roads during the storm, those in the Carolinas did not.

[READ: Georgia Prepares as Storm 'Pax' Bears Down on Southern States]

“There were so many accidents on the roads Wednesday that police in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill said they would be responding to only the more serious ones,” according to the Raleigh News and Observer. “Durham’s 911 center received about 600 calls in two hours and was tending to more than 100 wrecks as of 4 p.m.”

Meteorologists predicted the snowfall would turn to rain by mid-morning for areas in the mid-Atlantic before reverting back to snow as more cold air pushed in from the west later in the day, potentially creating a chaotic mix for residents around D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.