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The major winter storm that has left hundreds of thousands in the southern USA without power is blazing a trail up the East Coast.

At least 12 deaths across the South were blamed on the weather as a snowy Thursday is forecast for most of the eastern U.S., from the Carolinas to Maine, according to AccuWeather.

More than 5,000 commercial flights have already been canceled Thursday, adding to the more than 4,000 that were scrubbed Wednesday, Flightstats.com reported.

Around half a million homes and business across the South saw their electricity knocked out as the storm advanced up the Interstate 95 corridor to the winter-weary Mid-Atlantic states, and more than a hundred million Americans are under some form of a winter storm warning, watch, or advisory, the National Weather Service said.

Roadways were again treacherous in the Deep South. Drivers in and around Raleigh, N.C., became snarled Wednesday in huge traffic jams and abandoned cars in scenes reminiscent of motorist woes in Atlanta during a storm two weeks earlier.

In Atlanta, many streets were eerily quiet this time, with drivers heeding dire warnings to stay off the roads. State troopers say they worked more than 200 crashes in Georgia. Snow was forecast to stop falling and temperatures to rise in most of the state by late morning, but ice remained a concern, with refreezing possible overnight and into Friday.

Washington, D.C., was largely shut down atfer getting around 8 inches of snow overnight. Federal offices were closed, and Reagan National Airport closed all runways. All Metrobus service in the capital was suspended.

As early as 4 a.m. Thursday, snow had turned to cold rain in parts of Delaware. Gov. Markell issued a limited state of emergency in two counties.

Anne Gordon, a Newark-area resident, said she looked at the roads in her neighborhood Thursday morning and concluded she did not need a notice from the governor to stay home.

"Our developments are horrible out here," Gordon said. "I can't even get my car out."

In the Northeast, Boston was forecast to see 8 inches; New York City could receive 6. The Philadelphia area could get a foot or more, and Portland, Maine, may see 8 or 9 inches.

Contributing: WUSA-TV; James Fisher, The News Journal in Wilmington, Del.; the Associated Press

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