ATLANTA (AP) - A wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain has blanketed a large swath of the South, trailed by a blast of frigid air that could approach record low temperatures.

By Tuesday evening, steadily dropping snow was forcing cars on Interstate 75 about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta to slow considerably amid scattered fender benders.

National Water Service meteorologist Ryan Willis in Peachtree City says the forecast calls for 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 centimeters) of snow in metro Atlanta through Wednesday morning. Forecasters said travel could be difficult because of below-zero (-18 Celsius) wind chills.

The same slippery conditions and dangerous wind chills swept across several southern states Tuesday, shutting down interstates, triggering highway crashes, closing airport runways and prompting widespread school closings.

The system was expected to push into the Carolinas overnight.

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