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Put Off That Warm Southern Getaway. Wow.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Courtesy of ABC News:

Stranded vehicles littered roadsides Monday as several inches of snow and sleet coated Atlanta and other parts of the South, freezing the morning commute in many areas and canceling thousands of flights at the world’s busiest airport.

Sleet, ice and several inches of snow — as much as 9 inches in some places — blanketed states from Louisiana to the Carolinas mostly unaccustomed to arctic weather and caused at least one death in Louisiana.

In Atlanta, under three to four inches of snow and ice, state officials were forced to move Monday’s inauguration of newly elected Gov. Nathan Deal from the state Capitol steps inside to the shelter of the House chamber. The inaugural gala was scrapped to keep supporters off treacherous roads.

The winter weather began rolling across the South on Sunday, coating bridges and roads with snow, sleet and freezing rain. The governors of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee declared emergencies and schools and colleges called off classes. Snow and ice had blanketed several cities, including up to 3 inches in parts of Atlanta, which rarely gets so much.

Julie Camardella, an employee of The Smith House Restaurant and Hotel in Dahlonega, said she packed up some clothes and food and stayed the night at the north Georgia hotel so she could be at work early Monday.

“I’m looking out at the square right now, and it’s deserted,” Camardella said, adding the area got between six and seven inches of snow. “I haven’t seen a single car drive by. Everyone is staying in and staying safe.”

In Alabama, roads were coated with ice in Shelby County, just south of Birmingham, where Waffle House waitress Stephanie McGougin served eggs and grits to the few diners who could make it inside early Monday. There were plenty of empty seats at the restaurant, which is normally busy but was virtually deserted.

“I think we’re about the only place open,” McGougin said.

Despite officials imploring people to stay off the roads, interstates around Atlanta were clogged with cars early Monday.

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