Arkansas braces for blast of winter
An icy storm that started in the West and is blamed in at least 10 fatal accidents was bringing a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas on Monday as it trudged eastward in the run-up to Thanksgiving.
The storm dropped more than 10 inches of snow on parts of southwest Oklahoma overnight, and a winter weather advisory remained in place for much of the southeast of the state with freezing rain and sleet in the cards.
The National Weather Service meanwhile issued a winter weather warning for southwestern Arkansas. The region should prepare for the worst of the storm through Monday afternoon, forecasters said, warning of ice accumulations on slick roads. It downgraded the forecast for North Texas to a winter weather advisory, saying the area would experience light freezing rain and sleet but not temperatures as cold as originally forecast.
Meteorologists said they expected the Arctic mass to head south and east and threaten plans for Tuesday and Wednesday as people hit the roads and airports for some of the busiest travel days of the year.
Nearly 300 flights American Airlines and American Eagle were canceled in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Monday due to the weather, spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said, mirroring disruptions at the air hub a day earlier.
Early Monday, the weather service said southwestern Oklahoma had experienced some snow late Sunday, with 10 inches reported in Granite and 13 inches of snow reported in Vinson.
Around dawn in Dallas, where a mix or rain and sleet hit around midday Sunday, temperatures edged above freezing but rain continued to make roads treacherous and slick.
The storm last week hit California, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.
Portions of New Mexico had several inches of snow — especially at higher elevations — and near white-out conditions were reported near Albuquerque. Flagstaff in Arizona had 11 inches of snow early Sunday, while metro Phoenix and other parts of central Arizona were drenched with several inches of rain, causing the cancellation of sporting events and parades.
The weather was blamed in at least 10 deaths in traffic accidents. The storm also caused hundreds of rollover accidents, including one that injured three members of singer Willie Nelson’s band when their bus hit a pillar on Interstate 30 near Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas.
Early Monday, the Texas Department of Public Safety said two people died in separate wrecks Saturday night on snow-covered roads near Amarillo and Dumas.
Nonetheless, some were excited when they awoke to several inches of snow in southwestern Oklahoma on Sunday.
“It looks great. I love the snow,” said Damaris Machabo, a receptionist at a Holiday Inn motel in Altus.
Plushnick-Masti reported from Houston and can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RamitMastiAP