Snow falls in parts of Deep South

ATLANTA (AP) — Snow, rain and sleet spread across parts of the South on Saturday, dusting lawns and shrubs with flakes and leading airlines to cancel several hundred flights.

Enough snow fell in Montgomery, Ala., for children to make snowballs to toss in front of the state Capitol, although the snow melted on contact with pavement.

Snow also fell as far south as southwestern Mississippi, with totals of as much as 3 inches, although the ground was too warm to allow it to accumulate. It was that area’s first snowfall since 2001, the National Weather Service said.

All five runways at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were reported open. Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways had hundreds of cancellations.

The last time snow fell at Leander, La., 30 miles west of Alexandria, was three or four years ago, “but right now it’s coming down,” said resident Zelle Nichols, 78. She said her outdoor thermometer read 32 degrees at 7:35 a.m.

Meteorologists in Georgia warned that the area’s mixture of rain and snow could make roads icy this morning, after overnight temperatures only in the upper teens and low 20s. The weather service posted freeze watches for Saturday night and this morning in parts of Louisiana, including the New Orleans area.

As much as 5 inches of snow fell in Alabama. The state’s last major winter storm dropped 16 inches in March 1993. Two tornadoes touched down along Florida’s west coast late Saturday afternoon, the weather service said.