Power outages have risen sharply in the Atlanta area during the morning hours as ice began coating trees and power lines.
Georgia Power reported that more than 57,000 customers were already without power around 9 a.m. More than 45,000 of them were in metro Atlanta. National Weather Service forecasters say huge amounts of ice will make travel "impossible" in the hardest-hit areas.
Overnight forecasters at the federal agency expressed awe as they watched the forecast turn to reality. They wrote that the winter storm would have "historical significance."
National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Davis said as much as one and a-third inches of ice is possible along a corridor between Atlanta and Augusta. He said that after just about two hours of precipitation in Augusta, there had already been an accumulation of about a quarter of an inch.
From Texas to the Carolinas, roads are slick with ice, thousands are without power, and a wintry mix is falling in many areas. The Mid-Atlantic region also is expected to be hit as the storm crawls east.