TODAY   |  February 13, 2014

Deep South slammed by storm

Freezing rain and snow is creating a winter nightmare throughout the South this morning. The cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh are an icy mess. More than half a million are living in the dark and without heat. The Weather Channel’s Sam Champion reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> today's top story, more than 560,000 customers are without power this morning, the majority of them in georgia and sork. alrea -- south carolina .

>> this is already the 15th storm of the season, well ahead of what we normally see by this time of year and still more than a month to go until the official end of winter. our weather dream team is spread out up and down the east coast . let's begin here in sochi with mr. roker. al?

>> that's right. this storm is just really getting wond up. we're watching it deepen and start to bring in heavy snow. philadelphia reporting 4 to 5 inches of snow falling per hour. as you can see, this thing is really getting wound up. we're seeing icing conditions, an icy mix today for washington d.c. and reagan international one of the airports reporting the delays. anywhere from 1,900 delays, offer 4,500 cancellations and we've got more coming. here's the system making ielts way up the coast. as it does, it's bringing in all this moisture off the atlantic. the 32-degree line is staying up to the north of that low so the low pressure deepens, the heaviest snow is going to be west of i-95. look for snowfall rates bringing big problems. philadelphia, 6 to 9 inches, while cape may right on the ocean only an inch, 6 to 10 in new york city , 8 to 14 in rutland, vermont and another clipper is coming across in the next few days that will add insult to injury . in the meantime, the southeast really took a punch. sam, it seems like lessons were learned from that last storm.

>> i would say exactly that. the question is what are the roads like? it's all about the roads, roads, roads. we still have a slushy mix on most of them. this storm hit atlanta, charlotte, raleigh, leaving all of them in that icy mess. a lesson learned, a big storm like this will shut southern cities down. it's a nightmare throughout the south this morning. winter storms with a deadly combination of freezing rain, slow, sleet and ice, more than half a million living in the dark without heat.

>> running ragged trying to get the lights back on.

>> ran into my grandma's room and she was covered with sheet rock .

>> i saw the roof go, boom.

>> in north carolina , gridlock on the highways. nbc's peter alexander spoke to frustrated motorists.

>> you know, we're not really accustomed to this here in charlotte.

>> the roads, a mess. in raleigh, durham, people even had to abandon their cars.

>> don't put your stupid hatt hat on at this point in time. protect yourselves and your neighbors.

>> schools are closed for days.

>> just have to feed them.

>> kids who have never seen this much snow are making the most of it. it's catastrophic weather in the u.s. that is much better suited for popular winter sporting events .

>> how about it's 60 degrees in russia and it's 30 here. it doesn't make sense, we should have the olympics here.

>> we are shaking our heads in the deep south . by the time you great little sleet, a little slush, a little snow on the roads, you try to shovel it out and this is what you get. atlanta is happy to fedex you all of this to sochi so you guys have a little of it.

>> i bet they are.

>> just got word dulles international and reagan national airports now are closed. the runways are shut down because of blowing and drifting heavy snow.