Atlanta, other parts of South brace for ice storm; 4 killed in accidents in Texas

The Associated Press

A Georgia transportation sign warns motorists on Interstate 75 on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Kennesaw, Ga., about 20 miles north of metro Atlanta. A winter snow storm is blowing into Georgia in what the National Weather Service predicted to be "an event of historical proportions." (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Associated Press + More

On Monday, before a drop of freezing rain or snow fell, Deal declared a state of emergency for nearly a third of the state and state employees were told they could stay home. He expanded the declaration Tuesday to more than half the state's counties.

Dustin Wilkes, 36, of Atlanta, was one of the few who headed to the office Tuesday. His parking lot was mostly deserted.

"I think they probably overreacted," Wilkes said. "It's to be expected."

Atlanta has a painful past of being ill-equipped to deal with snowy weather. Despite officials' promises after a crippling ice storm in 2011, the Jan. 28 storm proved they still had many kinks to work out.

Around the Deep South, slick roads were causing problems. In North Texas, at least four people died in traffic accidents on icy roads, including a Dallas firefighter who was knocked from an Interstate 20 ramp and fell 50 feet, according to a police report.

In northeastern Alabama, two National Guard wreckers were dispatched to help clear jackknifed 18-wheelers on Interstate 65. Gov. Robert Bentley said one lesson learned from the storm two weeks ago was to get those wreckers organized earlier.

Michelle Owen, of Mount Pleasant, Tenn., was driving north on Interstate 65 when she hit an icy patch on a bridge. Her sport-utility vehicle and a trailer it was pulling fishtailed, sending her 18-year-old son Tyler through the rear window and on to the car that was atop the trailer.

"He wound up on top of the Mustang we were hauling," Owen said. He suffered only minor injuries.

Parts of northeast Mississippi could see up to 4 inches of snow. South Carolina, which hasn't seen a major ice storm in nearly a decade, could get a quarter to three-quarters of an inch of ice and as much as 8 inches of snow in some areas.

Delta canceled nearly 2,200 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, most of them in Atlanta.

___

Associated Press writers Kate Brumback, Ray Henry and Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.; and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., contributed to this report.

___

Follow Christina Almeida Cassidy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Christina.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.