"We're going to try to go down south and get below" the storm, said Richard Power, traveling from home in Levittown, N.Y., to Kentucky with his wife, two children and their beagle, Lucky.
He said they were well on their way until they hit snow in Pennsylvania, then 15-mph traffic on I-81 at Hagerstown, Md.
"We're going to go as far as we can go. ... If it doesn't get better, we're going to just get a hotel," he said.
More than 1,600 flights were canceled, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com, and some airlines said they would waive change fees. Lengthy delays were reported Wednesday at the three major New York City-area airports, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
In Arkansas, some of the nearly 200,000 people who lost power could be without it for as long as a week because of snapped poles and wires after ice and 10 inches of snow coated power lines, said the state's largest utility, Entergy Arkansas.
Gov. Mike Beebe, who declared a statewide emergency, sent out National Guard teams, and Humvees transported medical workers and patients. Snow hadn't fallen in Little Rock on Christmas since 1926, but the capital ended Tuesday with 10.3 inches of it.
Other states also had scattered outages. Duke Energy said it had nearly 300 outages in Indiana, with few left in Ohio by early afternoon after scores were reported in the morning.
As the storm moved east, New England state highway departments were treating roads and getting ready to mobilize with snowfall forecasts of a foot or more.
"People are picking up salt and a lot of shovels today," said Andy Greenwood, an assistant manager at Aubuchon Hardware in Keene, N.H.
As usual, winter-sports enthusiasts welcomed the snow. At Smiling Hill Farm in Maine, Warren Knight was hoping for enough snow to allow the opening of trails.
"We watch the weather more carefully for cross-country skiing than we do for farming. And we're pretty diligent about farming. We're glued to the weather radio," said Knight, who described the weather at the 500-acre farm in Westbrook as being akin to the prizes in "Cracker Jacks — we don't know what we're going to get."
Behind the storm, Mississippi's governor declared states of emergency in eight counties with more than 25 people reported injured and 70 homes left damaged.
Cindy Williams stood near a home in McNeill, Miss., where its front had collapsed into a pile of wood and brick, a balcony and the porch ripped apart. Large oak trees were uprooted and winds sheared off treetops in a nearby grove. But she focused instead on the fact that all her family members had escaped harm.
"We are so thankful," she said. "God took care of us."
Associated Press writers Rick Callahan and Charles Wilson in Indianapolis, Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Ark.; Jim Van Anglen in Mobile, Ala.; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss.; Julie Carr Smyth and Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio; Amanda Lee Myers in Cincinnati; David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; and David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.
Contact Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell