Deadly Winter Weather Warnings Across the USby Jana Ritter - Published: 12/09/2013
A deadly winter storm slammed the nation's midsection Friday, snarling travel and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers. Some forecasters are even saying it’s the worst to hit the United States in years and At least three deaths had been attributed to the storm as of Friday afternoon.
The line of ice, snow and freezing temperatures stretched from the Texas-Mexico border northeast to the Ohio Valley, with the most severe conditions near Dallas, then punching through Arkansas and western Kentucky. Parts of southern Illinois and most of Indiana remain under a winter storm warning, according to the National Weather Service. By the time the snow tapers off tonight, total snowfalls should average 5-11 inches south of I-70, with totals increasing with distance south from the interstate, the NSW reports. By midday, about one foot of snow had fallen in parts of southern Illinois. Ten inches were reported in Mount Vernon and Sunfield, 9.5 in Chester and 9 inches in Olney.
Residents of large cities and small towns hunkered down against the storm. Many were without power as broad outages were reported through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, according to local utilities. 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 208,000 by Friday afternoon.
The travel troubles also delayed commerce, as the 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. UPS staff meteorologists are tracking the storm closely, said UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg, and the company may try to reroute some of its delivery network and use more rail.
One of the storm’s casualties was the mayor of Granby, Missouri, whose vehicle veered off a snowy road and struck a tree on Thursday afternoon, 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 and more was predicted. Arnall had been mayor since April in the town of 2,100.
In Texas, a man died when the BMW he was driving hit an 18-wheeler truck that was partially blocking a roadway near Dallas, police said. Police attributed the crash to icy conditions. In Arkansas, another man died when a tree fell onto his camper in Pope County, 80 miles west of Little Rock, during the storm late Thursday.
The National Weather Service said it expected the harsh conditions to continue into the weekend, with temperatures about 30 degrees lower than average in some areas.