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Rare snow disrupts travel in the Southeast

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  • NEW: Weather forces cancellation of hundreds of flights out of and into Atlanta
  • Up to 2 inches of snow may accumulate in parts of Georgia
  • Winter weather and snow advisories are in effect for parts of the Carolinas
  • Drivers warned about snow-covered roads, "slushy accumulation"
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Rain and snow fell Saturday across the Southeast, causing slippery roads, triggering flight cancellations and setting the stage for icy conditions as temperatures continued to drop.

A snow advisory was in effect for north and west central Georgia until Saturday evening.

Snow could accumulate up to 2 inches in the region before tapering off Saturday night, the National Weather Service said.

It warned of travel difficulties and urged drivers to "be prepared for snow-covered roads and limited visibilities." Video Watch why the snow is a 'big deal' in the South »

Roadways and runways were open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, said spokesman DeAllous Smith.

But the wintry weather forced the cancellation of up to 1,000 flights into and out of Atlanta, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. There was a de-icing delay of 90 minutes, she said. Video Watch the conditions at the airport »

Check-in wait times were less than 10 minutes, and airport officials were working with airlines to minimize delays.

Flights arriving into Atlanta, however, experienced delays of about four hours. Passengers were asked to check with their airlines before coming to the airport.

Winter weather and snow advisories were in effect for parts of the Carolinas. A winter storm warning was issued for the area around Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Flights arriving into Charlotte, North Carolina, were subject to a delay of about an hour and a half, according to the FAA.

Up to 3 inches of snow was forecast to put a "wet, slushy accumulation" on Raleigh-area roads and especially bridges and overpasses, the National Weather Service said. "Any slushy accumulations or puddles of water on area roadways will freeze solid overnight as overnight lows dip into the lower 20s."

In South Carolina, Republican presidential candidates were hoping the weather did not affect turnout for a critical primary.

Winter weather was expected as far south as Alabama.

"Icing conditions are likely to create a significant hazard tonight, especially after dark," said Jim Augustine, medical director for Atlanta Fire-Rescue.

"Snow and mixed winter precipitation followed by a rapid drop in temperatures into the teens will create a very risky icing condition on roadways and walkways. ... Icing at unexpected places that has occurred very rapidly due to falling temperatures is called 'black ice.' "

Drivers in Alabama were warned that patchy ice might be a possibility on roads. A hard-freeze warning was issued for southern Alabama and Mississippi.

Temperatures were expected to rise above freezing by midday Sunday across most of the South, but dip below freezing again Sunday evening. Freeze warnings stretched westward into Texas.

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In Florida, tornado watches and warnings were issued, accompanying thunderstorms south of Jacksonville near Gainesville, as the cold air pushed southward.

A tornado was reported on the ground near Weeki Wachee in Hernando County, but it was unclear whether it caused any damage, the National Weather Service said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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