(Adds detail about precipitation totals, deaths, closings,
By Karen Brooks
AUSTIN, Texas Dec 6 A deadly winter storm some
forecasters say is the worst to hit the United States in years
slammed the nation's midsection Friday, snarling travel and
knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers.
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, according to forecasters at
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
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.
More than 1,900 flights were canceled on Friday, according
to online flight trackers.
First-time air traveler Madison Cunningham, 18, was stranded
for more than 12 hours overnight in the Dallas-Forth Worth
International Airport when ice prevented her flight home to
"I'm never going to fly again," said Cunningham. "I'll take
the train next time."
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.
At least three deaths had been attributed to the storm by
One of the 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.
"He cared about the city," said Granby City Clerk Paula
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.
And 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
Sub-zero temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex
expected through Sunday guaranteed that a layer of ice and sleet
up to three inches on roads will go nowhere fast, according to
the National Weather Service.
CITIES HALT ACTIVITIES
School closures, travel hassles and holiday event
cancellations from Texas to Wisconsin piled up as the storm wore
Officials in Wausau, Wisconsin, canceled the city's holiday
parade, scheduled for Friday, as the wind chill was expected to
hit 25 degrees below zero.
Nashville's biggest night of holiday celebration was put on
ice, literally, with the city's Christmas Parade canceled along
with the city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Instead of the usual fanfare at dusk, the city's mayor will
simply flip the switch around 4:30 p.m. to illuminate the
30-foot Norway spruce with its 5,000 multi-colored LED lights.
A planned marathon in Dallas is a nonstarter, and an auction
of Hollywood memorabilia, including '70s icon Farrah Fawcett's
famous red swimsuit, planned for Friday, was postponed until
In Dallas, where forecasters are predicting up to a
three-inch buildup of sleet, the city's Dallas Area Rapid
Transit light rail was forced to shut down because of ice on the
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.
(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino, Nivedita Bhattacharjee
in Chicago; Phil Wahba in Dallas; Kevin Murphy in Kansas City,
Missouri; Brendan O'Brien in Madison, Wisconsin; Tim Ghianni in
Nashville; Suzi Parker in Little Rock, Arkansas; Lisa Maria
Garza and Marice Richter in Dallas; Editing by Colleen Jenkins,
Lisa Von Ahn and Gunna Dickson)