Rare Winter Storm Cripples U.S. South

Icy chaos gripped the U.S. South Wednesday as an unusual snow and ice storm forced thousands of children to shelter in schools overnight and left thousands of motorists stranded.

The storm, which has killed at least seven people, on Tuesday swept over a region of about 60 million largely unaccustomed to ice and snow -- stretching from Texas through Georgia and into the Carolinas.

In Atlanta, motorists remained trapped in their cars on icy Interstates Wednesday, some of them having spent as long as 18 hours on the road. About 800 traffic accidents were reported in the city, but there were no serious injuries.

At least five deaths in Alabama and two in Georgia were blamed on the weather.

Airlines canceled thousands of flights, with nearly 1,000 of them canceled by Wednesday afternoon at the world's busiest airport -- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

Just north of Atlanta, a woman and her husband had to deliver their baby girl alongside Interstate 285 with help from a police officer who arrived just in time. The parents and infant were reported to be fine.

Forecasters predicted little relief, with temperatures unlikely to rise much above freezing, before dipping below freezing again across the Southeast early Thursday.

VOA News / Jan. 30, 2014 09:06 KST