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Tennessee Hardest Hit by Fast-Moving Storm

Two die as snow disrupts much of East. Schools close and driving becomes dangerous.

January 18, 2003|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Tow trucks worked to remove abandoned cars and school buses littering the sides of roads across Tennessee on Friday, a day after a fast-moving storm blanketed a wide swath of the East with snow.

Tennessee took the brunt of the problems from the storm that moved into the mid-Atlantic states Friday, leaving a blanket of snow stretching to Delaware. At least two deaths were blamed on the snowstorm.

"The snow fell faster than anyone could respond to it," said Nashville public works spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins.

Twenty-three inches of snow fell in the mountains of West Virginia, while Virginia and Tennessee were digging out from under as much as 8 inches in some parts.

Maryland's Eastern Shore received 7 inches and North Carolina's higher elevations got 6 inches. Delaware reported up to 4 inches.

Schools were closed Friday in much of Tennessee and North Carolina. In West Virginia, at least 30 counties canceled classes, and most schools and some colleges were closed in Virginia.

In North Carolina, a man was killed Friday when his truck ran off icy N.C. 147 near Durham, crashed through a fence and struck two pine trees, authorities said.

A Tennessee driver died Thursday when her car hit a patch of ice and struck the back of a truck on Interstate 24 in Clarksville, 11 miles south of the Kentucky line, police said.

Despite below-freezing temperatures, driving conditions improved across most of Tennessee on Friday.

Still, Gov.-elect Phil Bredesen canceled his inauguration parade set for today because he said he didn't want high school bands and others to have to travel across the state.

His decision followed Thursday's gridlock as people tried to make their way home on icy roads and in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Commutes that usually took 15 or 20 minutes stretched to three to four hours, and some drivers ran out of gas while idling on clogged interstates.

At one point, 60 school buses were stranded throughout the city, and the snarled traffic included many salt trucks.

Most of the snow and ice was not expected to melt until Sunday.

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