STORM Uri has cut off power for 2 million people in Texas and has sparked a pile-up in Oklahoma as snow is dumped across the South and Midwest.
President Biden approved Texas’ emergency disaster proclamation as a major winter storm batters large parts of the country – grounding flights and causing power outages.
The winter storm smashing through the country has caused terrible driving conditions and pile-ups[/caption]
Vehicles work to clear an intersection during a winter storm in Oklahoma City[/caption]
People play in the snow amidst persistent snowfall in Seattle, Washington[/caption]
Several people have been hospitalized after trucks collided in fiery pile-up crash during ‘dangerous’ winter storm[/caption]
Snow has been dumped across the South and Midwest[/caption]
Ice storms, heavy snow and freezing rain knocked out power, closed roads and saw 1,000 cancelled flights in southern Texas.
The rare deep freeze across the state has brought wind turbines to a halt – meaning there have been power outages for millions of people.
In Houston, where temperatures were in the 70s earlier this week, officials have advised residents to prepare for weather similar to that experienced in the wake of a Category 5 hurricane.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for all of the state’s 254 counties, describing the conditions as “extremely dangerous”.
As rain fell Sunday in the Houston area, the temperature hovered near freezing.
“This rain will be transitioning over to just freezing rain, sleet and snow during the overnight through early morning hours tomorrow,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Josh Lichter.
MONSTER STORM ON RAMPAGE
Chenard said significant ice and up to 12 inches of snow were expected across parts of the southern Plains into Monday.
Winter weather conditions are affecting large portions of the U.S., but it is rare for them to extend so far south, Chenard said.
The weather has already proven deadly. On Thursday, icy roads led to a massive crash involving more than 100 vehicles in Fort Worth, killing six people and leaving dozens more needing hospital treatment.
An Arctic air mass causing the chill gripped much of the country, from the Pacific Northwest through to the Great Plains and into the mid-Atlantic states.
Winter storm warnings were posted for much of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri, the National Weather Service said.
Meanwhile, a fiery crash involving two semis has led to multiple people being injured in a pileup on a snowy Oklahoma highway during a “dangerous” winter storm.
The crash – involving two semis and multiple other vehicles – led to multiple people being reportedly rushed to the hospital.
A woman walks through falling snow in San Antonio[/caption]
Several people have been injured in Oklahoma following a horrific pile-up[/caption]
Snow blanketed large swaths of the US, prompting cancelled flights, and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast[/caption]
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol shared pictures of blazing vehicles on social media.
Firefighters were seen working to extinguish the smoke and flames from the blazing vehicles.
The front cabs of two semis were seen completely crushed.
Other pictures circulating social media showed traffic backed up on the highway as emergency response vehicles were stopped with their lights on.
Emergency services attended to a major multi-vehicle crash closes Highway 231 in both directions near in Brindley Mountain, AL, today – however, there were no injuries.
By Sunday, the storm’s reach had already spanned the country – with just over 11 inches of snow fall in Seattle, and a record low temperature – minus 50 degrees – was set in one part of Minnesota.
“There (have) been numerous reports of accidents from icing recently,” National Weather Service lead forecaster Bob Oravec said Monday. “I think there’s going to be a big threat today as the system pushes northeastward.”
Accumulating ice between a tenth and a quarter of an inch was possible across eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, central Tennessee, Kentucky and over into the West Virginia and Ohio border region, Oravec said.
In Memphis, Tennessee, snow started falling Sunday afternoon, and while main roads were still passable, lines formed during the day at grocery stores as people rushed to stock up.
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In Mississippi, sleet in Jackson and other central parts of the state left roads and bridges slick. Bill Parker, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Jackson, said up to three-quarters of an inch of ice could accumulate in central Mississippi, bringing the possibility of power outages or falling tree limbs.
Parts of Kentucky and West Virginia still recovering from an ice storm last week are expected to get up to a quarter-inch of ice or up to 8 inches of snow by Tuesday.
Into Tuesday, 20 to 30 centimetres of snow is expected in central Oklahoma, and in Memphis, Tennessee, main roads were still impassable and queues were forming at supermarkets as people rushed to stock up.