Winter storm warnings and weather advisories stretched from Texas to New York on Tuesday as snow, sleet and freezing rain snarled air traffic and brought havoc to roadways.
More than 50 million Americans were under some sort of winter weather warning or watch Tuesday, including 18 million under a wind chill advisory.
Almost 3,000 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were delayed or canceled before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, and more than half of those were called off. In Texas, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field issued ground stops Tuesday morning because of snow and ice. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth said a band of sleet and storms were moving over the area.
“Expect road conditions to continue to worsen,” the Fort Worth office said in a tweet. “It is advised to NOT be on the roads today. If possible, please stay home. It’s messy out there.”
The same was true about 200 miles to the south in Travis County, where law enforcement officers were responding to a new crash every three minutes since 8 a.m., according to the Austin-Travis County Traffic Report Page. That included at least one fatality in Austin, the capital city’s fire department said.
Other airport developments:
►In New York, LaGuardia Airport issued a brief ground stop early Tuesday from icy weather conditions that were causing ” flight disruptions.” Planes began flying again, and delays were averaging almost an hour. Travelers were advised to check with airlines to determine the status of flights.
►In North Carolina, Charlotte Douglas International Airport issued a ground stop because of fog and low visibility.
►In Kentucky, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport was briefly closed because of weather conditions.
Power outages; state trooper in Texas seriously injured
A winter storm warning was in effect in north Texas and western central Texas until noon on Wednesday, the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth said. The area was mostly expecting freezing rain and sleet. The Austin metro area was also under a winter storm warning until Wednesday. Officials warned against any non-emergency travel.
Gov. Greg Abbott said about 7,000 power outages had been reported in the state, emphasizing they were because of downed trees or iced electrical lines, not the performance of the Texas power grid that buckled for days during a deadly winter storm in 2021.
A state trooper was hospitalized with serious injuries after being hit by a driver who lost control of the vehicle, said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Ice storm warning extends to Southern states
The ice storm warning impacting Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee until noon on Wednesday was expected to bring ice accumulations of a quarter to one-half inch, the weather service in Memphis said.
Travel is discouraged in these areas, and power outages and tree damage are likely from the icy conditions. Parts of east Arkansas, Northern Mississippi and west Tennessee were under an ice storm warning.
Interstate 40 in the Forrest City area of Arkansas had a coat of ice that made for “extremely hazardous” conditions early Tuesday, said the city’s fire department, which posted photos of semi trucks that had wrecked.
Division Chief Jeremy Sharp said the department had responded to more than 15 crashes Tuesday morning, often with drivers going too fast as they reached an icy bridge. “They hit the ice and they start wrecking,” he told The Associated Press.
Treacherous road conditions in Nashville, Memphis
The National Weather Service warned that much of Tennessee was facing ice and sleet. Nashville schools delayed opening two hours late Tuesday because of the potential for hazardous road conditions when buses would be on the road.
“Roads and bridges/overpasses are very slick. Please use extreme caution,” the Memphis office tweeted. “If you don’t have to be out, please stay home. Accidents have been reported all over the area.”
Wind advisories, wind chills as low as 35 degrees below zero
Farther north, wind advisories were in effect in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states across the Midwest and Plains until Tuesday morning. Wind chills dropped to 35 degrees below zero in some places. The dangerous temperatures can “cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the National Weather Service warned.
Similar warnings extended into:
Temperatures are expected to rise in parts of Wisconsin on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent, part of the USA TODAY Network. But wind chills are expected to drop into negative 20s on Friday.
FLIGHTS SCRUBBED:Almost 1,000 US flights canceled Tuesday morning as winter storm extends east
SIGNIFICANT ICING EVENT:50 million under winter weather warnings as arctic cold moves in; Texas braces for days of ice