A layer of ice and sleet up to three inches thick is expected to
stay on roads in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex through Sunday,
forecasters said, after what some say is the worst winter weather to
hit the United States in years.
On Friday, ice snarled travel and knocked out power for hundreds of
thousands of people.
The freeze stretched from the Texas-Mexico border northeast to the
Ohio Valley, with the most severe conditions near Dallas, punching
through Arkansas and western Kentucky, according to forecasters at
Residents of large cities and small towns were without power as
broad outages were reported through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana,
local utilities said.
"The lingering frigid air will not only lay the path for more ice
this weekend, but will also delay recovery in communities dealing
with widespread power outages and thus no heat," AccuWeather.com
meteorologist Meghan Evans said in an email.
At the height of the storm, some 267,000 outages were reported in
the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, according to utility provider
Oncor, but that number was down to about 200,000 late on Friday.
Nearly 5,000 customers in Tennessee and roughly 30,000 in Arkansas
were without power, energy companies said on Friday.
More than 1,900 flights were canceled on Friday, according to online
First-time air traveler Madison Cunningham, 18, was stranded for
more than 12 hours in the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
when ice prevented her flight home to Indianapolis.
"I'm never going to fly again," said Cunningham. "I'll take the
train next time."
The Texas airport said airlines canceled more than 750 departures
scheduled for Friday, leaving some 4,000 passengers to spend the
night sleeping on cots.
The travel troubles also delayed commerce, as United Parcel Service,
the nation's largest package delivery company, said deliveries have
been disrupted in Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico and the panhandle
portion of Texas on Friday.
Spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said UPS may try to reroute some of its
delivery network, using more rail transport.
Among the several deaths attributed to the weather was the mayor of
Granby, Missouri. His vehicle veered off a snowy road and struck a
tree on Thursday, officials said.
Ronald Arnall, 64, was killed on a state highway in southern
Missouri, where up to eight inches of snow fell through early
Friday. More snow was expected.
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In the San Francisco Bay area, Santa Clara County officials said
four homeless men died this week of hypothermia.
In Arkansas, a man died when a tree fell onto his camper in Pope
County, 80 miles west of Little Rock, late on Thursday.
And in Texas, a man died when his car hit an 18-wheeler truck that
was partially blocking a road near Dallas, police said. They
attributed the crash to icy conditions.
CITIES HALT ACTIVITIES
School closures, travel hassles and holiday event cancellations from
Texas to Wisconsin piled up.
Officials in Wausau, Wisconsin, canceled the city's holiday parade,
scheduled for Friday, as the wind chill was expected to hit 25
degrees below zero.
Nashville's biggest night of holiday celebration was put on ice,
literally, with the city's Christmas Parade canceled along with the
city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Instead of a fanfare at dusk, the mayor will simply switch on the
lights on its 30-foot tree around 4:30 p.m. (2230 GMT).
The conditions also forced St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to
cancel the Memphis Marathon on Saturday.
A planned marathon in Dallas is also a nonstarter, and an auction of
Hollywood memorabilia, including '70s icon Farrah Fawcett's famous
red swimsuit, planned for Friday, was postponed until next Thursday.
In Dallas, where forecasters are predicting up to a three-inch
buildup of sleet, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail was
forced to shut down because of ice on the tracks.
(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino, Nivedita Bhattacharjee in
Chicago; Phil Wahba in Dallas; Kevin Murphy in Kansas City,
Mo.; Brendan O'Brien in Madison, Wis.; Tim Ghianni in
Nashville; Suzi Parker in Little Rock, Ark.; Lisa Maria Garza
and Marice Richter in Dallas and Laila Kearney in San Francisco;
editing by Eric M. Johnson, Colleen Jenkins, Lisa Von Ahn and Gunna
Dickson; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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