Winter weather causing problems around the state

Much of south Alabama is shutting down because of a winter storm that forecasters say could leave the Gulf Coast covered by ice and snow.

Schools and business are closing Tuesday and Wednesday because of the threat, and Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency. He delayed three special legislative elections for a week.

The Alabama National Guard is on standby. Alabama Emergency Management Director Art Faulkner says widespread power outages are possible.

Snow began falling before dawn Tuesday in extreme northwest Alabama, near Florence. Another band of snow was moving into the state southwest of Tuscaloosa.

In southwest Alabama, just south of Demopolis and Selma, a wintery mix of precipitation was spreading east into the state.

The storm held the potential for freezing precipitation across central and south Alabama, with ice accumulations of as much as one-third of an inch possible by nightfall, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters say an additional 3 inches of snow could fall on top of that.