At least three people have died in fatal crashes on slick, ice-packed roads in Texas amid a series of ice storms that have brought inclement weather conditions across parts of south central United States on Tuesday.
The wintry weather conditions arose on Monday, causing dangerous travel conditions for those both on the roads and in the air.
“A long-duration winter storm that has already impacted a large portion of the Nation with hazardous sleet and freezing rain from Texas to Tennessee is expected to continue through at least early Thursday,” the federal Weather Prediction Center, which operates as part of the National Weather Service, announced early Wednesday.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled and thousands more delayed across multiple U.S. states. The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday warned that turbulent weather may “slow flights” at multiple airports.
FlightAware, a flight tracking website, showed early Wednesday that more than 1,900 flights have already been canceled and more than 5,000 flights have been delayed. The website reported that on Tuesday, more than 2,900 flights were canceled, and a total of 16,500 flights were delayed.
In Arlington, Texas, a 45-year-old man lost control of his black 1997 Toyota 4Runner when it was crossing an ice-covered overpass on Monday night, according to local reports. The vehicle went airborne before it rolled down an embankment. The man was ejected from his car. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. According to Arlington police, the man is believed to have not worn a seat belt and was traveling at unsafe speeds.
In Eldorado, Texas, a 49-year-old woman, identified as Sherry Lynn Taylor, crashed her 1997 Chevrolet Silverado into a tree on Monday night, reported San Angelo Live. She was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a preliminary investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the light duty truck was traveling on U.S. Highway 277, and lost control before hitting the tree due to poor driving conditions icy roads.
Meanwhile, in Austin, a 10-car pile-up resulted in one person dead on Tuesday, according to the Austin Fire Department.
The Austin-Travis County EMS reported a separate accident involving multiple cars, citing icy road conditions on State Highway 130. The EMS said two people were transported to a hospital after they “either jumped or were struck & thrown from the bridge,” adding that both patients sustained “serious potentially life-threatening injuries.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged people to stay off the roads. “The roadways are very hazardous right now. We cannot overemphasize that,” Abbott said late Tuesday, reported The Associated Press.
The Weather Prediction Center is predicting more icy conditions from Texas through a majority of the Mid-South.
“Additional ice accumulations up to a half inch are forecast across much of central and north-central Texas, as well as parts of southern Arkansas,” it announced early Wednesday. “A quarter inch of ice accretion is possible across a larger area that includes southern Oklahoma, most of Arkansas, and into far western Tennessee.”
The center said the ice accumulation on top of what’s already fallen “is likely to lead to more treacherous travel across untreated roadways, along with the potential for tree damage and power outages.”
It added: “Sleet may also add to the slippery conditions with amounts up to a half inch possible across northern portions of the precipitation shield … Residents are urged to check road conditions before traveling and drive with extreme caution.”
Late Tuesday, the center announced that ice storm warnings are now in effect across portions of central, north, and west Texas, western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and Arkansas.
It added that winter storm warnings are in effect for “parts of central, north, and east Texas, southern Oklahoma, and southwestern Arkansas,” and winter weather advisories are in effect from West Texas and southeastern New Mexico to southern West Virginia and northern Virginia.