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In southern New Jersey’s Philadelphia suburbs, supermarkets were crowded early in the day and there was a run on snow shovels. Stores were quiet by late afternoon — though there was a line at the Red Box video kiosk outside a Walgreen’s store in Cherry Hill.

The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast and strengthened as it moved northeast, according to the National Weather Service.

Travel misery began a day earlier in parts of the South, which was hit with a white Christmas for the record books.

Columbia, S.C., had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887. Atlanta had just over an inch of snow — the first measurable accumulation on Christmas Day since the 1880s. About a foot of snow fell in Norfolk, Va., the most seen there since a February 1989 storm dumped nearly 15 inches.

Utility companies in the Carolinas said more than 100,000 people lost power because of the storm, and only about a third had service restored by midday Sunday.

The National Weather Service said 8.5 inches of snow fell in Franklinton, N.C., about 30 miles north of Raleigh, from Saturday through Sunday.

Diane Smith, 55, said her power was out for about four hours there Sunday morning, but she and her husband have a generator. Relatives, including two grandchildren, who live nearby came over for breakfast and to get warm before going home after power was restored.

“It’s beautiful,” Smith said. “As long as I have power, I love it.”


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, N.J.; Tim Jacobs in Newark, N.J.; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; Page Ivey in Columbia; Jacquelyn Martin and Norm Gomlak in Washington; Ben Nuckols in Baltimore; Eric Tucker in Providence, R.I.; John Raby in Charleston, W.Va., and Beth DeFalco in Jackson, N.J.