As winter storm crosses the United States, ice becomes a major concern | Weather News

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More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost power across the United States on Thursday as power companies struggled to keep up with freezing rain and snow that weighed down tree branches and encrusted power lines after the spread of a winter storm from Texas to the northeast.

Power outages blamed on icy or downed power lines were concentrated in Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas, but the storm’s track extended further from the central United States to the south and northeast.

Heavy snowfall was expected from the southern Rockies to northern New England, while forecasters said heavy ice accumulation was likely from Texas to Pennsylvania.

“We have a lot of real estate covered by the impacts of winter weather this morning,” Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland, said Thursday morning. “We have a large area of ​​heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain.”

Parts of Ohio, New York and northern New England are expected to see heavy snowfall as the storm moves east with 30 to 45 centimeters (12 to 18 inches) of snowfall possible at some places until Friday, Orrison said.

On the warmer side of the storm, severe thunderstorms capable of damaging gusty winds and tornadoes were possible Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Ice covers trees and road as an SUV drives down a snowy road in Richardson, Texas [LM Otero/AP Photo]

The Midwest snowstorm was nothing out of the ordinary, except that in some places it was so large it had a heavier-than-normal heavy snow track, said Victor Gensini, professor of meteorology at the Northern Illinois University. With a warmer climate, people are forgetting what a Midwestern winter was like, he said.

“The only incredible winters I have been able to experience are through the photographs of my parents from the 1970s,” said Gensini, who is 35. [storm] is normal for the course, not only for the past, but the present winters.

More than 51 centimeters (20 inches) of snow was reported in the southern Rockies, while more than a foot of snow fell in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Sleet and freezing rain occurred early Thursday in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas. More than 200,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas, according to the poweroutage.us website, which tracks utility reports.

“Unfortunately, we’re looking at enough ice accumulations that we’re looking at significant travel impacts,” Orrison said.

Tennessee had the highest number of reported power outages at noon, particularly in Memphis and surrounding areas in West Tennessee.

Trees sagged under the weight of the ice in Memphis, causing branches and branches to fall from trees. Parked cars had a layer of ice on them, and authorities in several communities in the city warned that some cars were sliding on slippery pavement.

In Texas, the return of below-freezing weather has sparked heightened anxiety nearly a year after the catastrophic February 2021 freeze that shut down the state’s power grid for days, killing hundreds in the one of the worst blackouts in US history.

Facing a new test of the Texas grid, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he was holding up and was on track to have more than enough power to weather the storm. Texas had about 70,000 outages as of Thursday morning, but Abbott and local officials said that was due to high winds or icy, downed transmission lines, not grid outages.

South Bend, Indiana, reported record snowfall for the Wednesday date of 28.5 centimeters (11.2 inches), eclipsing the previous record of 20.3 centimeters (8 inches) set for the 1908 date, a said Hannah Carpenter, meteorologist at the National Weather. Service office in Syracuse, Indiana.

Once the storm passes, she said temperatures will drop sharply. “It’s definitely not going to melt very quickly here,” Carpenter said Thursday morning.

Snow falls on a ground crew working outside a parked plane at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
Snow falls on a ground crew working at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas on Thursday [LM Otero/AP Photo]

Freezing temperatures have settled into regions after the snowy weather, with Kansas residents waking up to a dangerous wind chill of around -26 degrees Celsius (-15 Fahrenheit).

In New Mexico, schools and non-essential government services were closed in some areas on Thursday due to icy roads.

The disruptive storm began on Tuesday and moved through the central United States on Wednesday on Groundhog Day, the same day the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.

The storm came on the heels of a Nor’easter last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.

Airlines have canceled nearly 7,000 U.S. flights scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, flight-tracking service FlightAware.com said. More than a thousand flights were canceled Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport alone, and more than 300 were canceled near Dallas Love Field.

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