US winter storm causes third day of harmful, icy circumstances

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A lethal storm system lashed a big swath of the southern U.S. with bands of sleet and snow for a 3rd day on Wednesday, grounding a further 2,300 flights, leaving tons of of hundreds with out energy, forcing faculty closures and making already treacherous driving circumstances worse.

Watches and warnings about wintry circumstances had been issued for an space stretching West Texas’ border with Mexico by way of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, and into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. A number of rounds of combined precipitation, together with freezing rain and sleet, had been in retailer for a lot of areas all through the day, that means some locations may get hit a number of occasions, forecasters stated.

“It really appears to be like prefer it’s going to be getting worse once more throughout Texas, it’s already a reasonably large space of freezing rain throughout western and southwestern Texas,” stated Bob Oravec, a lead Nationwide Climate Service forecaster based mostly in Camp Springs, Maryland.

Oravec stated the icy climate is predicted to maneuver northeastward throughout elements of Oklahoma and Arkansas into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi earlier than it begins to dissipate.

“By later within the day on Thursday it must be just about completed, and all of the … precipitation will likely be properly downstream throughout elements of the South and the place will probably be principally heavy rain,” Oravec stated.

By late Wednesday morning, 2,300 U.S. flights had been canceled, together with three-quarters of the flights at Dallas-Fort Price Worldwide Airport and greater than two-thirds at Dallas Love Discipline, in accordance with the flight monitoring service Dallas-Forth Price Worldwide is American Airways’ largest hub, and Love Discipline is a serious base for Southwest Airways.

Many flights had been additionally canceled at different airports, together with in San Antonio, the Texas capital of Austin, and Nashville, Tennessee, compounding frustrations attributable to the practically 2,000 cancellations on Tuesday and roughly 1,100 on Monday.

Due to the storm, the Detroit Pistons had been unable to fly dwelling following their recreation Monday towards the Dallas Mavericks, and the NBA postponed the Pistons’ Wednesday night time dwelling recreation towards the Washington Wizards.

Many colleges all through Arkansas have introduced they’d be closed on Thursday. College programs in Dallas; Austin, Texas; and Memphis, Tennessee, additionally canceled courses for Thursday.

In Texas, greater than 350,000 clients had been with out energy Wednesday afternoon as timber — heavy with ice — buckled onto energy strains, in accordance with PowerOutage, a web site that tracks utility studies.

Greater than half of these outages had been in Austin, the place town’s utility warned residents who had been with out electrical energy for 10 hours or longer that lights and warmth could not come again on till Thursday. In a single day low temperatures had been anticipated to fall to 33 levels in Austin, with extra probabilities for freezing rain, in accordance with the Nationwide Climate Service. Austin Power requested clients to arrange emergency plans and relocate earlier than nightfall if wanted.

Pablo Vegas, who heads the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, vowed that the state’s electrical grid and pure fuel provide can be dependable and that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the February 2021 blackouts, when the grid was getting ready to whole failure.

Because the ice and sleet enveloped Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis-Shelby County Faculties introduced it could cancel courses Wednesday because of freezing rain and dangerous street circumstances. The varsity system serves about 100,000 college students. The Nationwide Civil Rights Museum in Memphis additionally closed because of the climate.

Additionally in Memphis, the icy climate delayed the funeral service for Tyre Nichols, who died following a brutal beating by police throughout a visitors cease. However extra icy climate was shifting in from the southwest simply forward of the funeral, which was pushed again a couple of hours to Wednesday afternoon.

“The third and FINAL spherical of freezing rain and/or sleet will begin this afternoon,” the Nationwide Climate Service’s Memphis workplace posted on social media Wednesday morning. The forefront of a wintry mixture of precipitation was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Memphis late Wednesday morning, radar confirmed.

The Dallas faculty district, which serves about 145,000 college students, additionally canceled courses Wednesday.

Emergency responders rushed to tons of of auto collisions throughout Texas on Tuesday and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott urged individuals to not drive. At the least six individuals have died on slick Texas roads since Monday, together with a triple fatality crash Tuesday close to Brownfield, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Lubbock.

Two Texas legislation officers, together with a state trooper who was struck by a car whereas investigating a crash on Interstate 45 southeast of Dallas, had been critically injured, authorities stated.

In Arkansas, Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to icy circumstances. Her declaration cited the “chance of quite a few downed energy strains” and stated street circumstances have created a backlog of deliveries by business drivers.


Martin reported from Atlanta. Related Press journalists David Koenig in Dallas; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; and Donna Warder in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.


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