'Epic' Texas Ice Storm Kills at Least 8 and Leaves 400,000 Without Power
A massive winter storm stretching across the southern U.S. is entering its fourth day, after widespread power outages, downed trees and icy highways have resulted in the deaths of at least eight people.
From West Texas to Tennessee and even into Kentucky, a mixture of sleet, freezing rain and ice has impacted travel and created havoc, canceling hundreds of flights and school for most of this week.
On Wednesday, as authorities cautioned against driving due to slick roads in North Texas, hundreds of miles south, an even icier wintry mix coated power lines and resulted in outages in Austin and the Hill Country, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
By Thursday morning, an estimated 171,000 Austin Energy customers were still without power, as ice up to three-quarters of an inch accumulated on power lines and snapped tree branches, per the newspaper. About 400,000 across the state were without power, according to PowerOutage.us.
ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News Texas ice storm
"These outages are due to severe winter weather and are not related to a statewide grid issue," Austin Energy said in a statement. "Ice is accumulating on power lines, utility poles and tree limbs leading to power outages."
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Chris Rusanowsky/ZUMA Press Wire Texas ice storm
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At least eight people have died as a result of the storm, including in traffic accidents in the cities of Arlington and Austin, as well as Arkansas state.
While authorities are cautioning against traveling by car, heading to the skies has not been an easy feat either.
About 75% of the flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and two-thirds at Dallas Love Field Airport were canceled on Wednesday.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, over half were canceled, according to FlightAware.com.
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Relief, however, is expected by late Thursday, according to the National Weather Service — at least for the South.
"The epic ice storm across the South and Mid-South will end today from west to east," the National Weather Service said.
"A system tracking near the Gulf Coast will clear-out the frozen mess, while also producing heavy rain and perhaps a severe thunderstorm for the Gulf Coast states," NWS added.
Their statement continued, "Meanwhile, a glancing shot of arctic air will sweep through the Northeastern U.S. on Friday to produce very dangerous wind chills through Saturday."