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February 12, 2014

Storm leaves Deep South covered in ice

(Continued)

ATLANTA — However, traffic backed up on highways in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., and commutes that normally take minutes turned into hours-long ordeals.

Caitlin Palmieri drove two blocks from her job at a bread store in downtown Raleigh before getting stuck. She left her car behind and walked back to work.

"It seemed like every other car was getting stuck, fishtailing, trying to move forward," she said.

Across the region, those who had power passed the time watching movies or surfing the Internet. Matt Altmix walked his Great Dane, Stella, in Atlanta because "even in the snow, you still have to do your business."

"I think some folks would even say they were a little trigger-happy to go ahead and cancel schools yesterday, as well as do all the preparation they did," Altmix said. "But it's justified."

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who was widely criticized over his handling of the last storm, sounded an upbeat note this time.

"Thanks to the people of Georgia. You have shown your character," he said.

Deal said four students, ages 11 to 18, from the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon were back home in metro Atlanta after hitching a ride with the Georgia National Guard before the worst of the storm hit. Their parents were unable to make the drive, which is 80 or 90 miles one way.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory urged people to charge their cellphones and find batteries for radios and flashlights because the storm could bring nearly a foot of snow in places such as Charlotte.

"Stay smart. Don't put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbors," McCrory said.

Kathy Davies Muzzey of Wilmington, N.C., said she hid the car keys from her husband, John, on Tuesday night because he was thinking about driving to Chapel Hill for the Duke-UNC basketball game. He has missed only two games between the rivals since he left school in the late 1960s.

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