ABC News(NEW YORK) — A major winter storm that pummeled the Southeast has become a “nightmare and a tragedy” in North Carolina, claiming at least two lives, the governor said, as he warned drivers to be cautious of snowy roads and dangerous ice.

The storm has dropped staggering amounts of snow, ice and rain across North Carolina, with a year’s worth of snow falling in some places in just one day, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday.

A driver died in Matthews, NC, on Sunday after a tree struck the car. The driver then plowed through the front lawn of a church, hitting the building and causing minor structural damage, local police said.

In Haywood County, a woman on hospice care died, Cooper said, and another possible storm-related death is under investigation.

Now the South is digging out from what Cooper called a “mammoth winter storm.”

While up to 20 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in North Carolina, the storm also brought 2 feet of snow to Whitetop, Va.

Richmond, Va., had its second-snowiest December day on record and double-digit totals were reported in South Carolina, Tennessee and as far west as Texas.

Parts of West Virginia saw a whopping 20 inches of snow.

Freezing temperatures could turn wet and slushy roads into ice rinks in some areas on Tuesday, Cooper warned Monday.

Cars were abandoned amid the snow and sleet. A four-wheel drive plow even became stuck in 1 foot of snow in Greensboro, NC.

In Virginia, state police said they responded to over 1,000 car crashes on Sunday.

Due to the heavy snow and freezing temperatures overnight, state police on Monday are urging Virginians to avoid driving in the western, southern and central regions of the state.

Gov. Cooper added Sunday, “Travel conditions are extremely hazardous. Don’t put your life and the lives of first responders at risk by getting out on roads covered with snow and ice.”

The storm not only canceled over 1,000 flights on Sunday, it also left more than 276,000 people without power across seven states Monday morning. Over half of the power outages are in North Carolina.

The forecast

That storm now has moved to the coast, just off the Carolinas. Wet snow was falling Monday morning in the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

Snow and rain are expected to continue falling in the Southeast as the low pressure slowly begins to pull away from the coast. Not much snow accumulation is expected.

The Southeast will remain chilly into Tuesday, with early-morning wind chills in the 20s and 30s for many areas.

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Source: National News