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Storm punishes swath of US with snow, ice and freezing rain

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By Associated Press

A winter storm that contributed to at least five deaths in the Midwest pummeled the mid-Atlantic region for a second day on Sunday, bringing with it an icy mix that knocked out power, cancelled flights and contributed to hundreds of car accidents.

Virginia State Police said the driver of a military surplus vehicle was killed late on Saturday after he lost control on Interstate 81 because of slick road conditions.

Police said Ronald W. Harris, 73, of Gainesville, Georgia, died after his vehicle was struck by two tractor-trailers. The two tractor-trailer drivers were taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. The state medical examiner determined on Sunday that Harris’ death was storm-related, police said.

Virginia State Police said they responded to more than 300 traffic crashes and helped nearly 200 disabled vehicles in Virginia from midnight to late on Sunday afternoon.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 200 000 people in Virginia and North Carolina at its height Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Sunday to help utility crews restore electricity more quickly after power lines fell because of freezing rain, ice and toppled trees. The state’s western mountains and foothills were hardest-hit along with the western Piedmont region and nearly 1 000 state transportation workers were called out to clear ice and snow.

The National Weather Service reported nearly a half-inch of ice in some sections of western North Carolina, leading to fallen trees and power lines but other areas of the state got mostly a cold rain or freezing precipitation.

Meanwhile, the storm caused headaches for travellers into and out of airports in the region, including more than 250 flight cancellations on Sunday at the three main airports serving the nation’s capital. Washington’s Dulles International Airport tweeted that the Federal Aviation Administration had implemented a ground stop there on Sunday evening, impacting both inbound and outbound flights.