Nightly News   |  February 12, 2014

Thousands Lose Power as Ice Strikes Georgia

Weather problems began before dawn when freezing rain turned into slush and ice, creating dangerous road conditions and downing power lines.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening, tonight, on the interstate in north carolina people who are unable to move forward are parking their cars, locking the doors and walking away in the middle of the storm. they will retrieve them some other time. but for now, tonight, a storm is moving up over top of them at speeds faster than traffic on a good day, a very large snow and ice storm that now almost follows the path of i-95 to the north. we estimate that upwards of half a million people are without power tonight. a staggering number, considering the wires may stay down now for days. schools are out, some cancelled days in advance. airports obviously shut down, and we can see how air travel has diverted around the area and in some places, the precipitation is falling as ice. we have it all covered. al roker is here, and peter alexander is in hard-hit north carolina , and mark potter will start us off tonight, mark, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian, the word here in atlanta , the weather is just miserable, and expected to get even worse tonight and tomorrow. already some 5500 flights have either been delayed or cancelled. the steve of atlanta learned a hard lesson from the last big storm when thousands of motorists were stranded on area roads, including i-85. this is that same stretch of highway today as people now heed official warnings and stay off the roads. still, there was no escaping the ice, the weather problems began today shortly before dawn when freezing rain became slush and ice, causing accidents. as trees grew heavy with ice, they began to fall. this one fell into a house where an 88-year-old woman was sleeping in this bed when the ceiling collapsed. her grandson said while injured she is lucky to be alive.

>> and she was just covered with insulation and sheet rock .

>> reporter: power crews spent all day repairing downed lines as more than 200,000 georgia homes and businesses lost service.

>> just getting the lights back on.

>> reporter: while some who lost power have generators for lights and heat others are not so fortunate.

>> we have a fire going, that is basically it right now. candles, no phone service either.

>> reporter: as the roads became more dangerous, plows tried to keep pace with the weather. among those staying home today are the ackermans, for robert, the dad, and bert, the mom, having the family home from school is a bit of a challenge. elsewhere, trees in south carolina are hit with ice and tennessee roads are covered with snow. atlanta was left as a ghost town as the deep south digs out and braces for more, mark potter , nbc news.