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Author
The Associated Press
Date
February 12, 2014

From power to potholes: A look at the latest storm

A winter-weary East Coast is getting hit with yet another storm, one that’s dropping snow and ice in the Southeast before it’s expected to track northward and dump several inches in and around some of the nation’s biggest cities. Here’s a sampling of what the latest round of winter weather is wreaking:

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DIRE FORECAST: The National Weather Service called the storm “catastrophic … crippling … paralyzing … choose your adjective” for the South, including Atlanta, where a storm a few weeks ago created huge traffic jams. A National Weather Service map of the storm showed possible effects hitting 22 states from Texas to Maine.

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UPSIDE-DOWN WEATHER: While Northeast residents suffered through another day of freezing temperatures, the temperatures soared to 63 degrees at the Winter Games in Sochi, providing Olympic visitors with opportunities for outdoor napping, sunbathing and even a dip in the Black Sea.

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IN THE DARK: More than 350,000 homes and businesses lacked power in several Southeastern states by early Wednesday afternoon, and the numbers were growing.

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TREACHEROUS TRAVEL: More than 3,100 flights were canceled across the country, according to the website FlightAware. At least nine traffic deaths have been reported, including three killed after an ambulance careened off a slick Texas highway and caught fire and a firefighter killed when he was knocked off an interstate ramp in Dallas. The mayor of Washington planned to declare a snow emergency — meaning vehicles parked on emergency routes will be towed — for the first time since 2010.

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POTHOLE PLETHORA: A relentless cycle of snow and bitter cold is testing the nation’s infrastructure. New York City crews filled 69,000 potholes in the first five weeks of the year — nearly twice as many as the same period in 2013. In Iowa, a Des Moines official said the city has never endured so many broken water mains.

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WINTER CANCELS WINTER: A celebration of winter tourism in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y., has been postponed because of storm forecasts. Plans had called for visitors take part in skiing, bobsledding and other winter sports at the sites that hosted the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics. A new date has not been chosen.

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STOCKING UP: “It’s a survival instinct. We’re taught to stock up in case we can’t leave the house,” says Virginia Lee, a senior research analyst with Euromonitor International in Chicago. Her research company tracks only annual sales figures, but she says there is little doubt of a spike in sales of staples like bread, milk and eggs ahead of the storm.

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STROKE RISK: Cold weather, high humidity and big daily temperature swings seem to land more people in the hospital with strokes, according to new information out of the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference in San Diego. The study finds that as it gets warmer, stroke risk falls 3 percent for every 5 degrees.

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