An intense storm has headed out to sea after dumping up to 60 centimetres of snow on parts of the south-eastern United States, leaving three people dead in North Carolina and up to 200,000 households without power.
School districts across North and South Carolina and Virginia cancelled classes on Monday and officials warned heavy snow and icy roads were slowing responses to hundreds of stranded motorists.
The US National Weather Service said the storm dropped its heaviest snow in the appropriately named Whitetop, Virginia, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains along the western end of the Virginia-North Carolina border.
Whitetop received 60 centimetres of snow, while Greensboro, North Carolina, had 41 centimetres and Durham, North Carolina, got 36 centimetres.
Slippery conditions on roadways in central and western North Carolina and south-west Virginia were expected on Monday night with temperatures forecast to drop below freezing, Daniel Petersen, NWS meteorologist, said.
But temperatures were expected to rise later in the week, reaching to 10C in North Carolina east of the mountains on Friday, when there is a chance of rain.
There were three storm-related deaths, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s office said.
A person died from a heart-related condition while en route to a shelter and a terminally ill woman died when her oxygen device stopped working.
A motorist also died and a passenger was injured at Matthews in south-western North Carolina on Sunday when a tree fell on their vehicle.
A fierce winter storm slamming southern U.S. states has closed schools, canceled flights, left more than 200,000 places without power and killed at least two people@megoliver reports from North Carolina https://t.co/ExYNCupWv9 pic.twitter.com/At3IYDQLBk
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 10, 2018
The number of customers without power in the Carolinas and Virginia had decreased to about 138,000 by Monday evening from more than 220,000, Poweroutage.us reported.
The storm prompted the cancellation of one in four flights into and out of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest in the country, and other airports across the region.
The mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, Nancy Vaughan, who declared a state of emergency on Sunday, said online its police and fire departments had responded to more than 100 accidents and 450 stranded motorists.