As much of the South of the country began to slowly defrost on Thursday following a tragic encounter with a dangerous winter weather system, Northern regions prepared for an arctic blast that was predicted to bring some areas’ temperatures far below zero.
The number of fatalities rose to 10, with seven occurring in Texas. Meanwhile, 550,000 homes and businesses in four states were left without electricity due to the four-day cold front that delivered ice, sleet, and snow.
Hazards will persist because thawing ice could still cause trees and tree limbs to break, according to the National Weather Service, as icing changes to rain and finally ceases across the South into the Mid-South.
Early on Thursday afternoon, there were roughly 750 canceled flights into and out of U.S. airports or about 35% of those at Dallas Forth Worth International. However, this is still a significant decrease from the thousands of cancellations of the previous several days.
Now the difficult spot is the North, where a cold front moving in from Canada could bring wind chills to drop as low as minus 50. The northern Plains and Upper Midwest are anticipated to be slammed by the system on Thursday, followed by the Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic on Friday.
The New England states will experience exceptionally arctic weather, with some areas experiencing 40–50 degree temperature drops from Thursday through Friday. In addition, people in New England and New York state made preparations for the possibility of difficult travel conditions throughout the region due to wind and heavy lake-effect snow.
Wind gusts might reach 100 mph, according to Jay Broccolo, director of meteorological operations at an observatory on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, which for many years held the world record for the fastest wind gust.
We take safety in the higher summits very seriously, and even by our standards, this weekend’s forecast is looking quite bad, Broccolo added.
Other changes to the wintertime weather
Northern New York, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and portions of Connecticut were under a wind chill advisory on Thursday, according to the weather service. The weather office warned that these wind chills might result in frostbite on exposed flesh in as little as 10 minutes.
The power company and the mayor of Austin, the capital of Texas, cautioned people that they would not have heat or lights until later on Thursday or Friday due to the more than 150,000 outages the city is currently experiencing.
As of Thursday afternoon, about 74,000 power users in Arkansas, 23,000 in Mississippi, and 19,000 in Tennessee were still without power.
In Texas, power outages are still a problem
Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas were still without power even after the ice storm warning was lifted. According to PowerOutage.us, there were more than 432,000 houses and businesses without electricity as of Thursday early afternoon.
At a press conference on Thursday, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said that the city’s citizens have been reminded by the winter weather of the “fear and trauma” they felt during the February 2021 storm that claimed at least 200 lives.
The length and intensity of the storm have made it “extremely difficult” to restore power, according to Watson.
A warming trend will benefit the South
The destructive ice storm that has affected Texas to Tennessee, according to the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, is expected to conclude on Thursday when “a final surge of moisture slides eastward.”
Tom Kines, the senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, predicted that by Thursday afternoon, temperatures in the South would be above freezing.
According to experts, temperatures in Dallas and Memphis, Tennessee, might reach the mid-30s on Thursday. The Dallas area was predicted to reach the mid-40s and close to 50 degrees on Friday thanks to sunshine.
Although it’s unlikely that the change would result in precipitation, Kines said that overnight lows that drop below 32 could make the roadways slick on Friday morning.
By Thursday morning, as the precipitation steadily dissipated, the majority of the effects had passed over residents of the Dallas and Fort Worth region, according to weather service meteorologist Hunter Reeves.
Reeves claims that Friday will mark the beginning of more substantial improvements to the state of the roads. Reeves informed us that while many people will see improved road conditions and there will still be some slushy areas, some people won’t notice much of a difference.
The states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and other ones are still under ice storm warning
According to the National Weather Service in Memphis, an ice storm warning was still in effect Thursday for portions of six states.
While officials continued to discourage travel, they advised those who must drive to have an extra flashlight, food, and water in their cars.
More than 3 million people were affected by the ice storm warning on Thursday in portions of Arkansas, southwestern Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
Although power outages and tree damage were still likely due to ice, the National Weather Service office in Dallas/Fort Worth said that ice storm warnings were withdrawn Thursday morning as conditions improved and no advisories remained in force in the area.
Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota are under a wind chill advisory
Up to Friday, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and parts of Minnesota are under a wind-chill alert. Low wind chills of up to 50 degrees below zero are possible.
When going outside, folks were urged to dress for the weather by wearing gloves and a hat.