Deadly Ice, Snow Storm Grips Winter-Weary U.S.

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A deadly storm packing heavy snow and ice plowed into the eastern United States Thursday, triggering widespread road accidents and flight cancellations as hundreds of thousands of people were left without power.

The storm enveloped the capital Washington in a deep, white blanket, closing much of the federal government, and blotted visibility in New York City, where several more inches of snow were expected later Thursday.

Thousands of travelers were stranded as flights, including at major air hubs in Atlanta and New York, were canceled, and nearly 800,000 homes and businesses lost power, mainly in Georgia and North and South Carolina.

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The latest brutal freeze to hammer the eastern states of the country since the start of the year has been dubbed "Snowmaggedon," "mind-boggling" and "historic" by major television networks and forecasters.

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Media reports said at least 11 people had died as a result of the storm.

One of the latest casualties came in New York early Thursday, when a snow plow struck and killed a 36-year-old pregnant woman in a supermarket parking lot, police said.

The woman was taken to hospital where her baby was delivered by cesarean section and said to be in a stable but critical condition.

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As the storm moved north, the National Weather Service warned that the "mammoth dome" of Arctic air would cut a wide swath of winter weather from Georgia to New England.

Moisture from the Atlantic "will continue to fuel widespread precipitation," it said.

Sleet and freezing rain were expected to set up along I-95, the major interstate highway that runs the length of the eastern seaboard.