NEW YORK – A swath of land from central Texas through New York City was under a winter weather advisory Thursday as an ice storm brought freezing rain, dangerous conditions and power outages.
Millions were bracing along a 1,500-mile path as the storm moved into parts of Arkansas and Kentucky overnight and Thursday morning. It could bring up to half an inch of ice accumulation in some areas, the National Weather Service said.
“A mixture of sleet and freezing rain is forecast to gradually come to an end today, but not before leaving a long swath of damaging ice accumulations,” the National Weather Service said.
The Ozarks to the I-64 corridor in eastern Kentucky could see a quarter inch of ice, according to the Weather Service.
“This amount of ice will likely lead to hazardous travel conditions, power outages and scattered tree damage,” the Weather Service said in a forecast.
More than 70,000 customers in Kentucky and 42,000 in West Virginia were without power Thursday morning, according to tracking website PowerOutage.us.
Through Friday, the storm is forecast to bring light snow to the Ohio Valley and Central Appalachians to the Mid-Atlantic, which could see 2 to 6 inches, according to the Weather Service.
More freezing rain on Friday is also possible for the Central Appalachians and into parts of Virginia and northern North Carolina, the Weather Service said.
“Accidents and icy conditions could potentially shut down portions of highways for an extended period,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said.
In Kentucky, the severe weather has resulted in schools, COVID-19 vaccination sites and state offices closing. Louisville’s MetroSafe reported 10 crashes from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Thursday, with a wreck on I-64 resulting in injuries. Wednesday saw 70 crashes from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., including 17 with injuries.
Memphis woke up Thursday morning to a city with a fresh blanket of ice slush on the roads and sagging tree limbs heavy with a sheath of frozen precipitation. Wednesday evening into Thursday morning, there was also a rare appearance of “thunder ice,” or a thunderstorm with freezing rain or ice.
Amid light snow on Wednesday evening, an airplane with nearly 80 passengers slid off the runway at Pittsburgh International Airport, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. There were no injuries.
A light dusting of snow that fell overnight blanketed cars and sidewalks in New York City on Thursday morning, too.
The Weather Service said gusty winds could cause further damage Thursday into Friday, and bitterly cold temperatures were expected into the weekend.
In Dallas, that cold air blast could even lead to the Texas city’s first snowfall of the season Sunday, AccuWeather said.
“Anytime you get an Arctic air mass into Texas, you always have to worry about snow and ice because, at some point, warmer air is going to try to return. And, when warmer air collides with that colder air, you get clouds and precipitation,” said AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest was also expected to see “impactful winter weather” through Saturday, the Weather Service said.
“A low pressure system is forecast to enter southern Oregon this evening while
simultaneously interacting with very cold air draining into the region. This combination may lead to not only heavy snow across the typical mountainous locations, but in the lowlands as well,” the forecast said.
Seattle and Portland could see some snow, too: AccuWeather was predicting 1-3 inches in both cities.
Contributing: Billy Kobin, Louisville Courier Journal; Micaela A. Watts, Memphis Commercial Appeal