Classes and flights are canceled, businesses are closing early, after-school activities have been canceled and drivers are warned to proceed cautiously, all because of the winter storm that The Weather Channel has named Leon.
The weather system has already dropped snow on many states along the Gulf Coast, and weather experts predict that it will only get worse from here.
In addition to snow, the winter storm is also expected to bring freezing rain and sleet that can create extremely hazardous conditions on the road.
“If you get into any of these kind of slippery conditions, most of these people don’t have snow tires on their cars, and they’re going to slide around very quickly,” said The Weather Channel’s Tom Niziol.
Meteorologist Christ Dolce added, “No matter what type of precipitation falls in any given location, travel conditions are likely to be dangerous into Wednesday. Part of southeast Georgia and coastal South Carolina are of particular concern for significant amounts of freezing rain, which could cause tree damage and power outages.”
Flights to the Deep South have also been affected by the anticipation of up to two inches of snowfall.
Delta Air Lines was forced to cancel over 800 flights and is offering travelers the opportunity to switch their tickets to a new destination free of charge.
The Department of Transportation is also preparing for the worst as crews and equipment are ready to be deployed in case of emergencies.
“Our equipment is already prepared from the previous close calls we have had this year, so all we need to do is watch the weather and based on that, we will decide when and where to deploy our crews,” Department of Transportation spokesperson Mark McKinnon said.
While two inches of snow may not seem like it should cause such a fuss to some people, it’s actually the ice that many experts are concerned about.
After the winter weather drops snow and sleet on Tuesday, temperatures in many of the states will still not reach above freezing on Wednesday, which could be a much more serious problem to deal with.
“The snowfall amounts are going to matter very little in this situation because of the ice potential,” meteorologist Jason Deese said. “Some parts of [Georgia] may end up seeing the greatest impact, just because they get more ice than snow.”
Georgia is also preparing to deal with possible propane shortages that plagued the state in the past when the Polar Vortex swept the East Coast.
Other states including Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina have decided to close down certain bridges expected to ice over quickly, while also closing many schools and businesses for Tuesday and Wednesday.