Temperatures plummeted late Monday, turning slushy streets into sheets of ice across Southern states that are more accustomed to sunshine than snow. The wintry blast has grounded flights, cut power to thousands of homes and even forced Auburn University to cancel viewing parties for the national championship bowl game.
Snow ranging from several inches to more than a foot blanketed states from Louisiana to the Carolinas - a region where many cities have only a handful of snow plows, if any. In many areas, the snow began turning to freezing rain, making roads even more treacherous.
"If you're off the main roads, it's a skating rink," said Tim Loucks, manager of the Pilot Truck Stop in Haughton, La.
The storm shut down most cities and towns, closed many businesses, and canceled most flights at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest. At least nine people were killed in weather-related traffic accidents.
Worried shoppers left grocery store shelves bare, and families without electricity huddled in dark, chilly homes. Predicted overnight lows in the 20s raised the threat of more outages as snow and freezing rain accumulated on tree branches and power lines.