US winter storm
© AP
Snow, sleet and freezing rain swept across five southern states, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity
At least three people have been killed and hundreds of thousands were without power as a heavy snowstorm slammed into south-eastern US states.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain battered states from Georgia to West Virginia with temperatures expected to plummet further, bringing more treacherous conditions.

The storm has been blamed for at least three deaths in North Carolina and a state of emergency has been declared in the region amid the extreme weather.

Thousands of flights were cancelled across the region, and scores of schools, businesses and government offices were closed as the severe conditions worsened on Monday.

A truck driver died on Sunday after suffering what appeared to be a heart attack from shovelling out his rig that got stuck at the height of the storm in the central part of the state.

Officials said one man also died when a tree fell on his car, while an ailing woman died when her oxygen was cut off due to power outages.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said the worst of the storm had passed but warned residents to be careful if attempting to travel as temperatures will fall overnight.

He said emergency services had responded to more than 670 collision and almost 1,600 calls for help since the storm first took hold.

Snowfall totals topped 20 inches (50 centimetres) in some areas of the western part of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Flight cancellations and delays continued at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the country.

The airport had nearly 400 cancellations, about one-fourth of its scheduled flights.

More than 244,000 power outages were reported across the region on Monday morning, with North Carolina bearing the brunt of it, according to officials.

South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee also suffered outages.