Winter storm causes Southern discomfort
4:45 a.m. EST
ATLANTA (CNN) -- A blustery winter storm moved across the Deep South overnight, bringing with it snow and brisk winds. Public safety officials urged holiday travelers and those returning to work Monday to use extreme caution on the slick roads.
The winter blast is expected to continue up the East Coast, perhaps bringing as much as a foot of snow to parts of New England by late Tuesday.
The storm moved across Alabama overnight and reached Atlanta just before daybreak, dusting highways and streets with a snowy glaze ahead of morning rush hour. Forecasters said the Georgia mountains north of Atlanta could see up to 6 inches of the white stuff. Parts of eastern Tennessee were expected to receive similar amounts of snow.
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While snow isn't unheard of in the Deep South, it is rare, particularly in these accumulations. However, this marks the second time this month that parts of Mississippi and Alabama have seen significant snowfall.
Forecasters said once the storm turns up the Atlantic seaboard it could tap into the warmth and moisture of the Gulf Stream, possibly dumping 4 to 6 inches of snow over Virginia, Delaware and Maryland -- and perhaps as much as a foot by the time it reaches Maine, where high winds may create blizzard conditions.
The National Weather Service has found two previous storm systems that developed in a similar fashion to the one now poised to strike the Southeast. The first, in 1971, dumped heavy show, but the other, in 1991, produced much less.