Ice Storm Spreads Glaze Across East

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Baltimore, MD (AP by Kathy Gambell) Jan. 31--Tens of thousands of homes still had no electricity today in the aftermath of a storm that spread a heavy glaze of ice on power lines and tree limbs from Georgia to New York.

The storm, which headed through New England today on its way out of the country, was blamed for at least 16 deaths on its path across the southern Plains and South and up the East Coast.

New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia airports still reported scattered delays today because of ice around the region.

Only 6 inches of snow fell on central Maryland on Sunday, but the ice forced the cancellations of dozens of flights at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Significant flight delays and cancellations also were reported Sunday at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia's Washington suburbs.

Pennsylvania's General Assembly called off today's sessions because of slippery roads, and schools were closed or opened late from North Carolina to Maine, including 20 of Maryland's 24 school districts.

The accumulation of ice knocked out power to more than 200,000 utility customers in Virginia, and about 160,000 still had no lights this morning, Virginia Power reported.

In North Carolina, some 30,700 homes and business had no electricity yet this morning, down from more than 85,000 late Sunday.

Although roads were hazardous, North Carolina authorities said there were few accidents and most motorists appeared to stay home Sunday, especially with some stores closed and church services canceled.

``I think people are realizing that they shouldn't be on the roads if they don't know how to drive in it,'' said Penny Roark, a dispatcher in Watauga County, N.C.

Some schools in North Carolina were closed for a fifth consecutive class day today because of this storm and the aftereffects of the storm last weekend that left more than 20 inches of snow.

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges requested $9.2 million in federal disaster aid to help his state dig out. Power was knocked out to about 20,000 customers.

``Snow and ice have pelted South Carolina for a week now,'' Hodges said in his request to President Clinton. ``It's clear this unusual run of winter storms is causing unexpected problems.''

In the suburbs of Washington, D.C., authorities said freezing temperatures ruptured a 30-inch water line, sending a torrent of icy water roaring through a College Park, Md., neighborhood and knocking a house off its foundation. Officials said the repairs likely will take two days.

Georgia Power expected to have power restored to all its customers this morning, spokeswoman Carol Boatright said. Utilities reported as many as 50,000 customers lost power early Sunday, only about a tenth of the homes and businesses blacked out by the storm that struck one week earlier.

``Georgia just doesn't get two ice storms in a week,'' Georgia Transmission Corp. spokeswoman Phyllis Turner said.

Since the storm swept onto the southern Plains last week, dropping 17 inches of snow on Oklahoma, weather-related deaths included four in Texas, one in Oklahoma, three in Arkansas, one in Mississippi, 2 in Georgia, 3 in West Virginia, and one in Virginia.

The National Weather Service said the storm's departure would leave much of the East Coast to dry off after a long, wet week.

``We could get some flurries, but otherwise the week looks dry,'' said weather service forecaster Jim Wiesmueller in Sterling, Va.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press