Southeast snow storm knocks out power to hundreds of thousands, paralyzes 18-wheelers

Southeast snow storm knocks out power

More than 260,000 customers across the Southeast are without power Monday following a deadly weekend snow storm. Heavy ice and snow caused trees to fall across the Carolinas and Virginia, bringing power lines down with them. Residents in Oak Park, North Carolina lost power after an electrical transformer exploded near their home.

As much as 20 inches of snow fell across parts of the Carolinas, causing drivers to slip off slick roads. At least one death is being blamed on the severe weather, and a winter storm warning is in effect in at least four states.

There are 700 utility trucks ready to launch within the hour to help restore power to more than 150,000 customers in the Carolinas. While there are nearly 9,000 workers responding to outages, Duke Energy said it could take days before all the lights come back on, reports CBS News' Meg Oliver. The company said it restored power to more than 330,000 customers.

Highway and utility workers are scrambling to get roads and power lines up and running after an early season snow storm pounded the southeast. The wintry blast snarled traffic and stopped 18-wheelers in their tracks.

Mike Richie spent the night in his truck after getting stranded on the side of the road. He said the driving conditions were "terrible."

"That's why we had to pull over," Richie said.

The weather turned deadly Sunday afternoon when police say a tree fell on a car in a Charlotte suburb, killing the driver. One-hundred miles away near Raleigh, a tree crashed onto an apartment building, sending three people to the hospital.

Airports from Georgia to Virginia raced to keep taxiways clear and planes de-iced while passengers inside the terminals faced more than 1,800 cancellations. Hundreds more are expected Monday.

Lynn Clark was traveling from Tennessee with more than a dozen members of a missionary group when their bus broke down near Asheville. They huddled for more than five hours without power or heat at a truck stop waiting for help to arrive. 

"We knew God was going to take care of us," Clark said.