Ice storm causes blackouts, delays in Texas, Arkansas; freeze shows no sign of weekend melt as storm moves north

Motorists drive slowly on N. Sylvania Avenue after an overnight ice storm in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
David Kent | MCT
Motorists drive slowly on N. Sylvania Avenue after an overnight ice storm in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
Posted Dec. 07, 2013, at 5:47 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 07, 2013, at 3:07 p.m.
A lemon tree is covered in icicles at Foothill Organic Growers in Newcastle, Calif., Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
Lezlie Sterling | MCT
A lemon tree is covered in icicles at Foothill Organic Growers in Newcastle, Calif., Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
Mark Vogel (right) gives his daughter Parker, 7, a push on the sled on the icy streets in west Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.
Joyce Marshall | MCT
Mark Vogel (right) gives his daughter Parker, 7, a push on the sled on the icy streets in west Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain are forecast to hit the eastern United States this weekend, and temperatures will stay below zero in the west, the National Weather Service said, after a deadly winter storm slammed the nation’s midsection Friday.

A layer of ice and sleet up to 3 inches thick is expected to stay on roads in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex through Sunday, forecasters said, after what some say is the worst winter weather to hit the United States in years.

Freezing weather gripped parts of Texas and Arkansas on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people coping in the cold without power after a winter storm made roads impassable and caused severe flight delays.

More than 3,300 travelers were forced to sleep on cots overnight at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where workers had managed to thaw only two of its seven runways by Saturday morning.

Airlines canceled more than 350 flights from DFW that were scheduled for Saturday, the airport said in a statement.

At the height of the storm, some 267,000 electricity outages were reported in Texas, according to utility provider Oncor, but that number was down to about 130,000 early on Saturday. Oncor said it hoped to get power restored to “nearly all of its customers by Sunday night.

Forecasters predicted subzero temperatures and icy conditions in the region for the rest of the weekend, with layers of ice and sleet up to 3 inches thick around Dallas. The city has already canceled a marathon planned for Sunday.

Cold weather was due to roll into the Northeast on Sunday through Monday. Accuweather predicted a “wintry mess” of ice, freezing rain and some of the first snow accumulations of the season from Virginia to New England, which may cause further travel delays.

The travel troubles also delayed commerce, as 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.

Spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said UPS may try to reroute some of its delivery network, using more rail transport.

Among the several deaths attributed to the weather was the mayor of Granby, Mo. His vehicle veered off a snowy road and struck a tree on Thursday, officials said.

Ronald Arnall, 64, was killed on a state highway in southern Missouri, where up to 8 inches of snow fell through early Friday. More snow was expected.

In the San Francisco Bay area, Santa Clara County officials said four homeless men died this week of hypothermia.

In Arkansas, a man died when a tree fell onto his camper in Pope County, 80 miles west of Little Rock, late on Thursday.

And in Texas, a man died when his car hit an 18-wheeler truck that was partially blocking a road near Dallas, police said. They attributed the crash to icy conditions.

 

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