Texas, South face ice storm warnings as winter weather upends travel


The streets have been turned by a dangerous ice storm into a skating rink and closed schools across a large swath of the southern United States from Texas to Tennessee. Freezing precipitation, primarily in the form of freezing rain and sleet, developed in Texas and Oklahoma midday Monday before spreading east and northeast Monday night into Tuesday.

Multi-vehicle crashes near Austin and Memphis on Tuesday morning stranded drivers for hours, with at least one death confirmed, and hundreds of flights canceled or delayed, with airports serving Dallas and Austin among the worst hit. difficult

More than 1,700 flights canceled as winter weather hits the southern US

Ice storms threaten the South

as the temperature drops

Minimum temperature, forecast for Tuesday


Ice storms threaten the South

as the temperature drops

Minimum temperature, forecast for Tuesday


Ice storms threaten the South as temperatures drop

Minimum temperature, forecast for Tuesday


Power outages are also starting to build. As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, more than 20,000 customers in Texas were in the dark.

State and local officials are asking people to stay off icy roads and urging the safe use of space heaters to avoid destructive fires at home. In some cases, treated roads may be passable, but icy bridges can always be dangerous.

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One person was confirmed dead in a 10-vehicle pileup Tuesday morning in Austin. The Austin Fire Department said it responded to more than 90 accidents between midnight and about 11 am

Thundersleet, indicating an intense burst of precipitation, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Up to about 1.5 inches of fleece fell as far north as southern Missouri and southern Illinois.

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The forecast until Wednesday

Difficult or near impossible travel conditions are expected to continue Tuesday evening into early Wednesday. Winter storm warnings, ice storm warnings and winter weather advisories extend across central and northeast Texas, southeast Oklahoma, Arkansas, western Tennessee, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Kentucky and southwest Virginia.

An additional round of ice could hit central and northern Texas, as well as much of Oklahoma and Arkansas, Wednesday into early Thursday.

The National Weather Service is predicting ice accumulations of 0.25 to 0.75 inches across parts of central and north Texas, southern Oklahoma, south-central Arkansas and western Tennessee, with up to an inch possible in south-central Texas near and west of Austin. .

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“Ice accumulation on roads, especially bridges and crossings, will lead to treacherous travel conditions. Prolonged power outages and tree damage are likely,” the National Weather Service said in a summary of key messages.

Moderate to heavy sleet was expected to continue Tuesday across and southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with average ice accumulations of about 0.25 to 0.5 inches. Isolated thunderstorms could produce bursts of sleet and freezing rain, with some spots receiving up to an inch of snow.

Effects of travel It was expected to continue in and around Dallas-Fort Worth, and west to Abilene, Midland and Lubbock, through at least Wednesday evening, and in some spots possibly into Thursday morning before temperatures rise. above freezing.

The worst is likely yet to come in Austin and San Antonio. “Today is worse than yesterday, but tomorrow will be even worse than today,” the Weather Service office serving the region wrote on Tuesday.

Icy conditions are expected to remain north and west of the greater Houston area.

Periods of rain and freezing are expected to continue across much of Arkansas and central southern Oklahoma into Thursday, especially Tuesday evening into the evening, and again Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. For Little Rock, most of the precipitation should be in the form of freezing rain, with another 0.1 to 0.2 inches of ice accumulation possible.

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Oklahoma City is forecast to see the worst conditions Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

A mix of freezing rain and sleet is expected in Memphis, as well as near and north and west of Nashville, especially Tuesday afternoon into early Wednesday, and up to half an inch of ice accumulation is possible through Wednesday . Conditions should improve as temperatures rise above freezing late Wednesday.

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Cold air from the north, warm air from the south

The nasty combination of torrential rain and freezing is the result of warm air at the upper levels of the atmosphere coming from the south, and cold air near the surface coming from the north. Precipitation melts into liquid as it first falls through the higher, warmer air, then freezes as it reaches the cooler air near the ground.

Freezing rain occurs when liquid rain freezes on contact with the cold ground, creating an icy glaze. On the other hand, sleet develops when a narrow wedge of cold air exists thousands of feet high that freezes partially melted snow particles into pellet-sized pieces of ice. Overall, sleet offers more traction and is less hazardous to pedestrians and drivers than freezing rain – but it’s still quite slick.

Jason Samenow contributed to this report.


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