Facts and figures on the latest winter blast

The Associated Press
Associated Press
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Charley English, left, head of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, arrives at the Capitol in downtown Atlanta, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 204, for a briefing with Gov. Nathan Deal. An ice storm knocked out power to a large swath of the South, as Atlanta saw its second bout of snow in just over two weeks. (AP Photo/Christina A. Cassidy)

Much of the eastern half of the United States is getting hit or under the threat of a winter storm that's dropping snow and icing up the Southeast. Some facts and figures about the storm:

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DIRE FORECAST: The National Weather Service called the storm "catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective" for the South, including Atlanta, where a storm a few weeks ago created huge traffic jams. A National Weather Service map of the storm showed possible effects hitting 22 states from Texas to Maine.

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POWER OUTAGES: More than 350,000 homes and businesses lacked power in several Southeastern states by early Wednesday afternoon, and the numbers were growing.

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TREACHEROUS TRAVEL: More than 3,100 flights were canceled across the country, according to the website FlightAware. At least nine traffic deaths have been reported, including three killed after an ambulance careened off a slick Texas highway and caught fire and a firefighter killed when he was knocked off an interstate ramp in Dallas. The mayor of Washington planned to declare a snow emergency — meaning vehicles parked on emergency routes will be towed — for the first time since 2010.

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STOCKING UP: "It's a survival instinct. We're taught to stock up in case we can't leave the house," says Virginia Lee, a senior research analyst with Euromonitor International in Chicago. Her research company only tracks annual sales figures, but she says there is little doubt of a spike in sales of staples like bread, milk and eggs ahead of the storm.

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WINTER CANCELS WINTER: A celebration of winter tourism in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y., has been postponed because of storm forecasts. Plans had called for visitors take part in skiing, bobsledding and other winter sports at the sites that hosted the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics. A new date has not been chosen.

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STROKE RISK: Cold weather, high humidity and big daily temperature swings seem to land more people in the hospital with strokes, according to new information out of the American Heart Association's International Stroke Conference in San Diego. The study finds that as it gets warmer, stroke risk falls 3 percent for every 5 degrees.