Winter weather expected to wallop about 75 million Americans through Monday

A massive winter storm system, responsible for dumping several feet of snow on the central United States since Friday, is expected to bring a wintry mix through the Mid-Mississippi Valley into the Southeast and up the Eastern Seaboard through Monday.

>> PHOTOS: Winter storms wallop South, East Coast, leave thousands without power

At least 74 million people in 33 states across the country’s central and eastern thirds were under winter weather alerts by Saturday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

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Forecasts currently call for snow and ice as far south as Georgia.

According to the National Weather Service, the highest snowfall totals should fall “along the spine of the Appalachians as well as across the lower Great Lakes as the storm center is forecast to track up the Piedmont sections of the East Coast. The most significant icing is expected over the Piedmont section of the Carolinas on Sunday. Farther north from the Mid-Atlantic up through New England, precipitation is forecast to begin as snow before changing over to ice/sleet and eventually rain with the approach of the storm center.”

Meanwhile, forecasters are focusing particular attention on portions of Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, where the system could spawn a crippling ice event as early as Sunday, CNN reported.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told CBS News that his city is ready for the expected onslaught of ice and snow, even though the city hasn’t seen significant snowfall in four years.

“This is about public safety, the public interest, and making sure that the business of the city can continue as necessary,” Dickens told the network.

Meanwhile, outgoing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged caution among residents, many of whom are still reeling from the blizzard that left motorists stranded overnight on Interstate 95 earlier this month, CBS News reported.

According to CNN, the storm is forecast to swing to the Southeast late Saturday into Sunday, bringing torrential rains, as well as freezing rain and snow before moving northeast Sunday into Monday.

Widespread power outages loomed late Saturday into Sunday, with Duke Energy, alone, estimating that as many as 750,000 residents across the Carolinas could be plunged into darkness in the coming days.

Meanwhile, parts of Tennessee could get as much as six inches of snow, forecasters said, and northern Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley region of Alabama could receive light snow accumulations, CBS News reported.

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