Winter Storm Diego is here and it is already causing major disruption across the South.
As Reuters reports, the powerful winter storm knocked out power for at least 190,000 people on Sunday.
According to the report, the National Weather Service has urged people in affected areas not to drive as snow, sleet, and freezing rain are expected throughout the weekend.
The storm prompted some 1,000 flight cancellations at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest airport in the country, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Sunday that the state of emergency would remain in effect and that the North Carolina National Guard had been activated to help with the response.
The effects of the storm could last for days in the state, officials warned.
Utilities company Duke Energy Corp said on Friday the weather system could lead to more than 500,000 power outages in the Carolinas.
As ABC 7 reports, more than 20 million people were in the expected path of the storm.
More than 20 million people are under winter storm watches and warnings from New Mexico to North Carolina, where authorities have declared a statewide emergency as some areas could get over a foot of snow.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents of his state that, while beautiful, snow carries with it potentially dangerous conditions.
“Snow may be beautiful but it can also be treacherous and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now,” Cooper said in a statement, per ABC 7.
CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said Charlotte, North Carolina could see up to six inches of snow, enough to close the city.
“Six inches will shut that city down,” Chinchar said. “It’s very much like any other Southern city … where they don’t have the resources that a lot of other cities have. They have few salt trucks, few snowplows. It takes them longer to clean something like that up.”
According to the report, this storm could bring with it record snowfall to some parts of North Carolina:
Parts of North Carolina could see record snowfall, described by the National Weather Service as a “once-in-a-generation event.” The mountains and foothills west of Interstate 85 could get up to a foot of snow.
Cities such as Asheville and Morganton in the mountains could get up to 16 inches of snow, increasing the threat of power outages as high accumulations could bring down trees on power lines, according to Chinchar.
“This storm comes at a time of year when North Carolinians are usually hearing carols about snow, not actually seeing it. But this time, the real thing is headed our way and North Carolina is getting prepared,” Cooper said, according to CNN affiliate WSOC in Charlotte. “A winter storm’s not a Christmas carol snow. It’s serious, and you need to take steps now to get your family ready.”