AUSTIN, Texas – Texans in more than 340,000 homes and businesses braced for near-freezing temperatures without power Wednesday and more than 2,300 flights were canceled amid an unrelenting blast of treacherous, icy conditions and brutal cold that has left at least six dead.
The winter weather system, now in its third day, has swept from Minnesota deep into Texas. Wrecks on slippery roads have been reported in Texas, Arkansas and other states across the region all week.
“We really cannot emphasize this enough: DO NOT BE ON THE ROADS,” the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth tweeted Wednesday. “They are going to virtually be impassable through today and tonight.”
School systems across Arkansas, along with those in Dallas, Austin, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, canceled classes for Thursday.
Power outages were expected to last 12 to 24 hours in the Texas state capital as ice brought down power lines and tree limbs, Austin Energy warned. The city’s community-owned electric utility said its crews were facing icy roads and frozen equipment, which made it “difficult to provide estimated restoration times.”
Parts of Texas were colder than Alaska early in the day. AccuWeather reported a “real feel” temperature of 28 degrees in Dallas on Wednesday morning – 3 degrees warmer than in Anchorage, Alaska.
The weather service said Wednesday that “the epic ice storm should come to a close on Thursday,” and states across the Southern Plains to the Mid-South remain…