The Latest: N. Carolina makes emergency storm preparations


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the wintery storm moving across the South (all times local):

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10:00 a.m.

North Carolina’s governor says he’s signing an emergency declaration for all of the state’s 100 counties ahead of a snowstorm expected to sweep the Southeast.

Gov. Roy Cooper said at a Friday news conference that the declaration was being drawn up for him to sign. He said the declaration will allow authorities to move equipment around the state more easily.

Cooper urged people to stay off the roads during what’s expected to be “a significant snow event.”

He said the state Department of Transportation has up to 1,900 trucks available. He said National Guard members are also on standby.

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8:30 a.m.

Schools, government offices and businesses are closed throughout much of Arkansas and Oklahoma as a winter storm delivers snow to the Southern Plains.

In Oklahoma, forecasters are expecting 2 to 4 inches of snow in the central part of the state, prompting the closure of schools, universities and businesses. In Arkansas, a winter weather advisory remains in effect until 3 p.m. Friday as snow continues to fall along the Interstate 40 corridor in the central part of the state.

Meanwhile, in the Texas Panhandle, 5 to 7 inches of snow are in the forecast through Friday afternoon.

The wintry precipitation is part of a larger storm system that is expected to intensify as it makes its way east. Winter storm warnings are in effect for several Southeastern states.

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8 a.m.

Organizers say they’ve moved the annual Joan of Arc Parade through New Orleans’ French Quarter from Friday to Saturday night over concerns about the winter storm moving across the South.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/2iY4lCn ) that the Joan of Arc parade usually rolls on her birthday of Jan. 6 — the official start of Carnival. It celebrates the French saint who led her fellow countrymen in relieving the siege at Orleans, France, in the Hundred Years War.

The parade route includes traditional stops for a toast from Consul General of France Grégor Trumel; the blessing of the saint’s sword at the St. Louis Cathedral; and the traditional King Cake Ceremony at Jackson Square.

The parade’s new start time is 7 p.m. Saturday.

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7:50 a.m.

Much of South Carolina expects to see ice, sleet or snow this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for 14 counties in the northwestern portion of the state from Friday evening to Saturday morning. A winter storm watch is in effect for three counties in the northeast.

Forecasters say up to 7 inches of snow could fall in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. Up to 5 inches of snow could fall around Lancaster and Chesterfield. Up to 3 inches of snow could fall north of Columbia. One or 2 inches of snow are possible around Darlington, Dillion and Marlboro counties.

Transportation department crews are already spreading salt and sand on highways in Upstate and plan to begin in the central part of the state later Friday.

7:30 a.m.

Crews have moved trucks and dozens of road workers from south Georgia to the northern part of the state to help clear roads of snow.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says many workers on Friday began working 12-hour shifts, as up to 4 inches of snow is expected in parts of the state.

The agency says that statewide, it has 1,900 employees on call and more than 380 pieces of snow removal equipment.

Authorities say they also have 54,030 tons of salt, 65,460 tons of gravel, and 450,000 gallons of brine — a mixture of salt and water used to treat roads.

In DeKalb County, one of Georgia’s largest counties near Atlanta, officials say they have 110 cots available for employees who will work 16-hour shifts if necessary.

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7:05 a.m.

Virtually all of North Carolina is expected to see snow this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for most of the state for Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. A winter storm watch is in effect in a few areas. Only the southeastern corner of the state is not expecting snow before the storm moves through.

Snowfall is expected to range from about 1 inch around Lumberton to as much as 9 inches around Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh. As much as 7 inches could fall from Asheville to Charlotte.

Bitterly cold temperatures are expected to follow the snow.

Utilities are making plans to deal with power outages. No problems were being reported early Friday.

Transportation department officials are spreading salt and sand on many roads.

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3 a.m.

A winter storm bearing down on the Southeast with the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain is threatening to disrupt weekend travel and bring misery to millions.

Alabama and Georgia announced they were going on an emergency footing. Classes have been canceled across several states and motorists are being urged to avoid unnecessary weekend travel as crews rush to pre-treat roads that could be made treacherous by the storm.

Authorities said one person has died, a man whose pickup truck slid off a snow-covered road Thursday in Kentucky.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Friday and Saturday from eastern Alabama through north Georgia, including Atlanta, and into the Carolinas and part of Virginia.

In North Carolina, Saturday’s ceremonies formally inaugurating a governor were canceled.

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