WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- A new round of major winter storm is affecting the southeastern of the United States on Wednesday, bringing with it "dangerous ice and snow" and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and business without power.
The storm is expected to intensify Wednesday evening as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard, affecting locations across the mid- Atlantic and Northeast," said the National Weather Service on Wednesday.
The agency said more than 2.5 cm of ice accumulation is possible from central Georgia into South Carolina through Thursday morning. The forecasters have also warned that the storm could be "a catastrophic event" of "historical proportions."
The winter storm has already knocked out power for more than 300,000 homes and businesses in the Southeast, including Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Among them, Georgia Power, the state's largest utility company, has reported more than 133,000 outages and warned that hundreds of thousands of customers could be without electricity for days.
More than 1600 Atlanta-based flights have been canceled for Wednesday.
Ice storm warnings and freezing rain advisories are in effect across much of central Georgia. Atlanta, the state's capital and the country's 9th metropolitan area, was paralyzed in a winter storm after a snowfall of 6.6 cm on Jan. 28 and left highways gridlocked for over 20 hours. The state and local governments have been under criticism for the past two weeks and vowed to do better this time.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal told CNN on Wednesday that the local authorities "are prepared" this time to brace the threats of the new round of winter storm.
"Ice is the biggest danger," he said, expecting more ice and snow to come. The governor and local officials have told local residents to stay at home and stay off icy roads.
Deal had declared a state of emergency for much of the state even before the new round of winter storm arrived. President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Georgia, making federal emergency aid available to the state.
The National Guard has opened 65 emergency shelters throughout the state.