- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2002

Thousands of youngsters stayed home from school yesterday as a storm spread ice and up to a foot of snow from the Texas Panhandle to Virginia, making highways slippery and leaving thousands of electricity customers without power.
Some 37,000 homes and businesses suffered blackouts in Oklahoma, utility officials said. Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin declared 42 of the state's 77 counties disaster emergency areas, allowing utilities to ask for help from out-of-state companies.
"Everybody needs to stay home," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Jerry Treadwell.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines canceled some flights because of the weather. About 56,000 homes and business had no electricity in northern Arkansas, and utilities said some people might have to wait until Saturday before getting power.
Slippery roads were blamed for at least two deaths in Kentucky traffic accidents, and ice contributed to another death in Tennessee, police said.
"It's nasty sleet, snow, freezing rain, a little bit of everything," said Shari Clapp with the Kentucky State Police in Mayfield.
Snow fell along a path from the Texas Panhandle to the central Appalachians in southwestern Virginia. Only a few inches fell in most areas, but nearly a foot piled up in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and trees and power lines were coated with ice across the state.
In the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway was shut down in North Carolina. Snow was a foot deep on a section of the parkway, National Park Service spokeswoman Pansy Clark said.
Schools were closed in nearly a dozen states, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, the Carolinas and Virginia. Some Georgia schools closed as a precaution because of expected icy roads.
More than 100,000 students were sent home early by North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, and South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, Democrat, told state agency heads to let workers go home early in 22 counties ahead of the storm.

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