'Once-in-a-decade' winter storm to blast Southeast with snow, sleet, freezing rain

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A winter storm was forecast to bring a miserable mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to parts of the Southeast on Friday and into early Saturday, meteorologists warned.

Several school systems canceled classes for Friday as the storm neared, and officials urged motorists to stay off the roads.

Winter weather advisories, winter storm and ice warnings were in effect Friday for dozens of counties from South Carolina to Virginia due to the approaching storm. The winter storm could ice over a large swath of eastern North Carolina and the northeastern corner of South Carolina, while dumping snow around Norfolk, Virginia, the National Weather Service said.

LATEST UPDATES: Stay off icy roads, officials warn after winter ice storm blasts Carolinas, Southeast with snow, sleet, rain

Ice is likely in beach cities such as Wilmington, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which "would cause significant impact to travel, along with stress to trees and power lines," the Weather Service added.

AccuWeather is calling it a "once-in-a-decade" ice storm for locations such as Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.

The heart of the storm's snow will focus on a region spanning from northeastern North Carolina to southeastern Virginia and the Atlantic beaches of Maryland, where 3 to 6 inches of snow was likely to fall, AccuWeather said.

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States of emergency declare in Carolinas, Virginia

The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia each declared states of emergency as the storm approached.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency Thursday that will remain in effect through Saturday, saying his executive order allows for greater flexibility in mobilizing people and resources to respond.

“I urge all Virginians to monitor their local weather forecasts and take personal safety precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families,” Youngkin said in a statement. He urged people to stay off roads during hazardous conditions.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a state of emergency at midweek, awaiting the second storm to hit the state in days. He said 114 National Guard troops were staging in central and eastern North Carolina to prepare to move to the affected areas. He said ice accumulations could cause extended power outages.

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Arctic blast: Temperatures drop to 30 below

The storm should move into the Atlantic by Saturday, however, temperatures below freezing early Saturday will mean untreated roads could remain slippery and hazardous, Weather.com said.

Meanwhile, an Arctic blast continued to make its presence felt across much of the central and eastern U.S. on Friday. Temperatures dipped to 30 below zero in parts of northern New York state on Friday morning, the Weather Service said.

Below-freezing daytime temperatures are forecast to be as far south as upstate South Carolina on Friday.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter ice storm to blast Carolinas, Southeast with snow, sleet, rain