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Much of South being hit by winter

POSTED: January 16, 2013 9:40 a.m.

JACKSON, Miss. — Winter storms punching across the Southeast coated roads in northern Mississippi and western Tennessee with hazardous ice, causing several road accidents Tuesday, authorities said. There also were reports of scattered flooding and power outages around the region.

Tennessee authorities announced they had gone on an emergency footing Tuesday afternoon because of reports of ice accumulating in some western counties of the state. They warned that problems with freezing rain and ice were likely to also effect middle Tennessee during the coming hours.

Scattered flooding also was reported in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Ice-covered roads caused numerous road accidents in northern Mississippi after temperatures plunged there, Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said. Motorists were urged to avoid unnecessary travel.

Several public schools remained closed Tuesday in northern Mississippi amid reports of scattered power outages and flooding of some homes in one county.

Freezing rain began falling Tuesday in western Tennessee, where motorists were reporting ice buildups on roads and bridges, said Jeremy Heidt with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. The spokesman said the agency was opening its emergency operations center amid warnings that middle Tennessee should brace for the possibility of freezing rain and ice. Some schools closed early in Tennessee as foul weather set in.

Much of Tennessee from its midsection westward was expected to remain under a winter weather advisory Wednesday. The National Weather Service also said the Tennessee River Valley region from Chattanooga to Knoxville also was under a flood watch because of recent, heavy rains.

In northern Alabama, the rain-swollen Tennessee River overflowed into some farm fields. Forecasters are warning of a threat of scattered road icing in northern Alabama after days of rains, adding snow was also possible though any accumulations were uncertain.

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