HOUSTON — Bands of sleet and snow that brought traffic to a standstill across the nation's midsection, canceled thousands of flights and were blamed for six deaths caused dangerous conditions for a third day Wednesday in several Southern states.
Watches and warnings stretched from Texas to West Virginia. Several rounds of mixed precipitation, including freezing rain and sleet, were in store for many areas throughout the day, meaning some regions could be hit multiple times, forecasters said.
Emergency responders rushed to hundreds of auto collisions across Texas and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott urged people to stay off the roads.
What you need to know
- At least six people died on slick Texas roads since Monday, including a triple fatality crash Tuesday near Brownfield, about 40 miles southwest of Lubbock, and two law officers in the state were seriously injured, authorities said.
- As of 5:30 p.m., 3,334 flights were canceled and another 13.280 were delayed in the U.S., according to FlightAware. This includes 58 cancellations at Bush Airport and 52 at Hobby Airport in Houston.
- As of noon Wednesday, more than 282,000 customers were without power in Texas, including more than 130,000 in the state capital of Austin, according to the website PowerOutage, which tracks utility reports.
What is an Ice Storm Warning?
According to the National Weather Service, an Ice Storm Warning is usually issued for ice accumulation of around 1/4 inch or more. This amount of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible and likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches. Travel is strongly discouraged.
What is a Winter Weather Warning?
According to the National Weather Service, a Winter Weather Warning is issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
What is a Winter Weather Advisory?
According to the National Weather Service, a Winter Weather Advisory is issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
Check the status of your flights
- Bush IAH: Arrivals | Departures
- Hobby airport: Arrivals | Departures
Stay up to date with KHOU 11's local 10-day forecast and state-wide weather radar.
LIVE RADARS: Greater Houston Area and Texas
MORE: 10-day forecast
Texas power outages | Check
With severe weather comes power outages. Use this map to track power outages as they move through.
You can check the current outages reported by CenterPoint Energy here with a map of where those outages are.
You can also check this real-time map from PowerOutage.us showing how counties across Texas are faring with electricity. As outages go up, the colors of each county will change.
Check the Texas power grid
Anytime the Texas power grid is the subject of a conservation advisory, or when the weather turns extreme in the Lone Star State, it's a good time to check on supply and demand.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has a dashboard that allows you to monitor real-time grid conditions.
This is a real-time look at supply of power and demand, as reported by ERCOT. It also shows projected supply and demand, based on forecast.
ERCOT is tracking the state of the grid, as well as the state of the operating reserve.
There are several more real-time monitors that you can check on ERCOT's site, including system-wide demand, solar, current prices, and more.
Texas winter storm
Fleets of emergency vehicles were fanned out among 1,600 roads impacted by the freeze.
In Texas, a sheriff’s deputy who stopped to help the driver of an 18-wheeler that went off an icy highway on Tuesday was hit by a second truck that pinned him beneath one of its tires, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. About 45 minutes after the crash on State Highway 130, the deputy was freed from the wreckage and taken to a hospital, where he was in surgery Tuesday afternoon, officials said. The deputy is expected to survive, officials said.
In another wreck, a Texas state trooper was hospitalized with serious injuries after being struck by a driver who lost control of their vehicle, said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“The roadways are very hazardous right now. We cannot overemphasize that,” Abbott said.
The storm began Monday as part of an expected “several rounds” of wintry precipitation through Wednesday across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Chenard.
“Generally light to moderate freezing rain resulting in some pretty significant ice amounts,” Chenard said.
“We're expecting ice accumulations potentially a quarter inch or higher as far south as Austin, Texas, up to Dallas over to Little Rock, Arkansas, towards Memphis, Tennessee, and even getting close to Nashville, Tennessee,” according to Chenard.
The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for a large swath of Texas and parts of southeastern Oklahoma and an ice storm warning across the midsection of Arkansas into western Tennessee.
A winter weather advisory is in place in much of the remainder of Arkansas and Tennessee and into much of Kentucky, West Virginia and southern parts of Indiana and Ohio.
Schools and colleges in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas planned to close or go to virtual learning Tuesday.