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Surprise Snow Blankets Southeastern U.S.

Surprise Snow Blankets Southeastern U.S.

It was the earliest snow on record in the Columbia area by eight days.

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A surprise snow swept across parts of Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday, falling on pumpkins and power lines.

It was the earliest snow on record in the Columbia area by eight days, according to the National Weather Service. Neither Boston nor New York City has had snow yet this fall and Fargo, North Dakota, has had only a trace of the white stuff.

The wet flakes in South Carolina collected on trees and sent branches still full of leaves crashing down on power lines. Utilities reported a peak of about 20,000 power outages as the snow tapered off before noon Saturday.

The weather service said around 2 inches of snow fell in some areas of Greenville, which is in the northwest part of the state. The band continued south dumping a couple of inches of snow all the way to Lexington County, just west of Columbia.

Forecasters expected the snow to mix in with rain as low pressure moved through the state, but the low was more powerful than expected, and the snow fell to the surface before it could melt, weather service meteorologist Chris Liscinsky said.

"It was the complete changeover to snow that was quite unusual for this time of year," Liscinsky said.

The snow caused few problems on roads. The high in Columbia was 84 on Wednesday and 69 on Friday, so the pavement was too warm for the snow to stick.

Troopers did close a part of Interstate 20 in western Lexington County for a few minutes because several 18-wheelers got stuck in the slush trying to make it up a small hill. They were pulled to the side until the burst of snow stopped, Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins said.

Most of the snow was gone by the afternoon, leaving behind a cold, windy, bitter day in the 40s. Highs in Columbia will be back in the 70s by midweek, forecasters said.

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