Haley declares state of emergency to grapple with oncoming winter storm

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ATLANTA (AP) – The Latest on the winter storm moving across the South (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has declared a state of emergency to grapple with an oncoming winter storm.

Haley signed an executive order Friday to deal with potential snow and ice. It will remain in effect through midnight Sunday and does not affect schools or government offices.

The order puts the state’s emergency operations plan in effect. It allows state agencies access to equipment from the National Guard that can be used to treat and clear blocked roads and puts National Guard members on duty to assist.

Governors in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina have already declared states of emergencies.

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12:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service has downgraded the forecast for central and southwest Mississippi, posting a winter storm warning that now predicts up to 2 inches of sleet and snow over the region.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the downtown area was emptying, leaving deli owner Steve Long looking at lowered business.

Long said he called some employees and told them not to come to work when the first sleet shower hit after 7 a.m. Friday.

He said one of his two stores was offering only a limited menu, but said some food was too far along when weather worsened, so he completed a pot of chili and other items.

He said “I knew I’d sell chili, if nothing else.”

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11 a.m.

Shipping giant FedEx says delays are possible for packages being delivered across the country Friday due to winter weather that has swept through its home base in Memphis, Tennessee.

The company posted a statement on its website saying FedEx Express experienced “substantial disruptions” at its Memphis hub overnight due to winter weather.

The company says “potential delays are possible for package deliveries across the U.S.” with a delivery commitment of Friday.

FedEx says it is “committed to provide service to the best of our ability.” The company uses Memphis International Airport to send packages from its hub by air.

Customers can check the status of their shipments on fedex.com, or they can go to FedEx Service Alerts. Customers also can also contact FedEx Customer Service.

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11:40 a.m.

Delta Airlines has canceled 350 flights ahead of a winter storm bearing down on Atlanta, home of Delta’s global headquarters and the world’s busiest airport.

Delta said it had canceled the flights “pre-emptively” ahead of the storm.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Reese McCranie said the airport will never close, and will remain open through the wintry weather.

McCranie said crews will keep all runways, taxiways and roads open.

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10:15 a.m.

Sleet began falling across central and northern Mississippi after dawn Friday.

Schools and colleges mostly opened Friday, but some are dismissing students early.

Some ice is sticking to the elevated interchange of Interstate 55 and Interstate 20 in Jackson that’s the heart of Mississippi’s highway system. “The Stack,” as it’s known locally, is notorious for icing in winter weather.

Farther north in the state, mostly snow is falling.

Some Mississippi suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee, reported 2 to 3 inches of snow by mid-morning.

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10:00 a.m.

North Carolina’s governor says he’s signing an emergency declaration for all of the state’s 100 counties ahead of a snowstorm expected to sweep the Southeast.

Gov. Roy Cooper said at a Friday news conference that the declaration was being drawn up for him to sign. He said the declaration will allow authorities to move equipment around the state more easily.

Cooper urged people to stay off the roads during what’s expected to be “a significant snow event.”

He said the state Department of Transportation has up to 1,900 trucks available. He said National Guard members are also on standby.