U.S. winter storm knocks out power to 140,000 in North Carolina

Heavy snowfall blankets the street in Beech Mountain, North Carolina, U.S. December 9, 2018 in this still image taken from a social media video. CAMERON/via REUTERS

(Reuters) – A powerful winter storm that hit the U.S. Southeast over the weekend knocked out power for more than 140,000 customers in North Carolina, a utilities company said early on Sunday.

Authorities urged residents to stay off the roads as snow, sleet, and freezing rain were expected to continue into Sunday morning, the National Weather Service said.

The Northwest Piedmont region in North Carolina could see up to 12 inches (30 cm) of snow Sunday through Monday, with heavy snow most common across parts of western and central North Carolina into southern Virginia, the agency said.

The storm prompted some 1,000 flight cancellations at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest airport in the country, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and the effects of the storm could last for days in North Carolina, officials said.

Utilities company Duke Energy Corp said on Friday the weather system could lead to more than 500,000 power outages in the Carolinas.

In North Raleigh, residents woke up to several inches of snow that blanketed roads, cars and homes. Many people took to Twitter to share photos of the unusually harsh weather, and the hashtag #Snowmageddon2018 was trending on Twitter on Sunday morning.

In South Carolina, snow gave way to sleet and rain as temperatures hovered around freezing, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said on Twitter.

The storm formed earlier this week off the Texas coast and moved east, lashing parts of Arkansas and Tennessee with icy rain.

Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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