Friday, March 31, 2023
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At least 8 dead as ice storm rages in south, causing travel chaos and cancellations

“Due to icing, many roads in Texas will remain very dangerous for the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “Be careful, especially with things like black ice.”

The Fort Worth Weather Service warned that light to moderate freezing rain pouring into central Texas counties early Wednesday “would freeze on contact and accumulate ice on ALL surfaces!”

“Already smooth roads will be even smoother tonight and tomorrow and very dangerous!” it said in a tweet.

The storm has also contributed to thousands of flight cancellations and delays so far this week.

At least 2,403 flights within, to and from the United States were canceled on Wednesday, according to online flight tracker FlightAware. At least 1,338 of these flight cancellations occurred at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, while nearly 390 were recorded at Dallas Love Field and 345 at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, both national carriers based in the region, accounted for the majority of the cancellations, with Southwest canceling 675 flights and American Airlines recording 876 cancellations, according to FlightAware.

The National Basketball Association has canceled a Wednesday night game between the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons due to travel issues.

“Due to the severe weather in the Dallas area, the Pistons were unable to fly back to Detroit after Monday’s game at the American Airlines Center,” the NBA said.

Widespread power outages

In Texas, more than 366,000 homes and businesses were without power as of early Thursday, according to outage-tracking website PowerOutage.us.

“Ice and branches are still breaking as our line workers work to restore,” tweeted utility Austin Energy, which had over 163,000 customers without power as of Wednesday.

The utility said power could be out in some areas through Friday, noting recovery efforts have been hampered by ice accumulation and freezing temperatures.

Nearly half an inch of freezing rain was recorded in parts of the city, the National Weather Service said, knocking down numerous trees and branches.

Utility Oncor served around 125,800 customers. Crews were said to be working as quickly as possible to restore power.

At Tuesday’s news conference, utility officials said the state’s power grid and natural gas supply are ready and will remain reliable through the course of the severe weather event.

Public Utility Commission Chairman Peter Lake urged Texans to contact their local electric utilities when winter weather and icing conditions cause local power outages.

severe weather to continue

Abbott said people in the state’s northern, western and central regions should prepare for ongoing severe weather through Thursday.

He said parts of Texas could even be inundated by flash floods on Wednesday and Thursday.

More frigid conditions were expected through much of the mid-South of Texas on Wednesday, the weather service said. Additional ice accumulations of up to half an inch have been forecast for much of central and northern Texas and parts of southern Arkansas, it said.

“A quarter of an inch ice accumulation is possible over a larger area that includes southern Oklahoma, most of Arkansas and far western Tennessee,” it added, warning that that amount of ice accumulation would be on top of what’s already there fallen could lead to more “treacherous travel”, along with the possibility of tree damage and power outages.

Ice storm warnings, winter storm warnings and winter weather warnings are in place for hard-hit areas, and residents have been urged to check road conditions before traveling and drive with extreme caution, it said.

Delivery services Grubhub and DoorDash confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that services have been suspended in weather-affected areas.




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