More than 100 million people in 25 states stretching from the Mexican to Canadian borders were under winter weather alerts Thursday, CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett said.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport closed Thursday morning due to ice and snow, the Federal Aviation Authority said. The airport has had freezing rain since this morning. The FAA said the airport is expected to reopen at 11 a.m. CST.
Leaders of the state’s power grid — Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT — said Wednesday they believe they’re prepared to handle the high demands during the storm but also warned there may be local outages due to ice on wires or fallen tree limbs.
What ‘several rounds of winter weather’ will look like
As the storm system pushes farther east, forecasters say it will deliver a frigid mix of hazards.
“The system will be prolonged with several rounds of winter weather lasting through Friday for portions of the central U.S. before shifting to the interior Northeast,” the weather service said Wednesday.
CNN meteorologists Robert Shackelford and Mike Saenz said these cities are among those under the gun:
- Texas: Dallas could end up with a half inch of ice, but freezing rain, sleet and snow were projected to peak Thursday morning. The Dallas Independent School District will be closed Thursday and Friday, officials said. Austin could get a quarter of an inch and a half inch of sleet, with the worst peaking by Thursday afternoon.
- St. Louis: The city could get another 5 to 8 inches of snow Thursday after already getting about 4 inches in isolated areas. Peak conditions will last through 11 a.m. Thursday.
- Memphis, Tennessee: An additional quarter inch to half inch of ice are expected Thursday, when conditions are expected to peak now until 1 p.m. About one tenth of an inch of ice has already been reported.
- Louisville, Kentucky: Up to half an inch of ice is expected to form. Plus, about 1 inch sleet and snow — each — is projected to fall. Peak hours for a mixture of freezing rain, snow and sleet are 7 a.m. Thursday through 1 a.m. Friday.
- Little Rock, Arkansas: The city could get up to a half inch of ice in addition to an inch each of snow and sleet. Peak hours are expected between now and 11 a.m.
- Oklahoma City: The city just set a new February 2 record for snowfall — 3 inches on Wednesday — and could get another 4 inches of snow before the storm is over. Ice accumulation could reach half an inch.
- Chicago: The Windy City could see up to 4 inches of additional snow piled on top of the nearly 9 inches that already fell.
- Indiana: After getting pummeled with more than 11 inches of snow, South Bend could see an additional 2 to 6 inches — and peak conditions will last until 6 p.m. Thursday. Indianapolis has already gotten 4 inches of snow and could get another 3 inches.
- Buffalo, New York: The area could be buried under 7 to 13 inches of snowfall, which is expected to peak Thursday afternoon through evening.
Travel is already miserable
Perilous travel conditions have caused crashes and road closures. In Illinois, officials closed parts of several highways after numerous wrecks.
“The combination of the volumes of snow, high winds, and frigid temperatures make travel near impossible in some areas of the state with several highways shutdown from vehicle crashes and jack-knifed semi-trucks,” said Kevin Sur, spokesperson for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
In Springfield, a train crashed into a car that got stuck on the tracks due to snow Wednesday night. The driver — the only person in the car– was able to get out in time, Springfield police said. No injuries were reported.
The mammoth storm also snarled air travel Thursday, which is projected to be one of the 10 worst days for air travel over the past year.
Correction: A previous version of this story overstated the new February 2 snowfall record for Oklahoma City. The new record is 3 inches.
CNN’s Judson Jones, Paul P. Murphy, Joe Sutton, Amanda Musa, Jenn Selva, Pete Muntean, Greg Wallace, Rosa Flores, and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.
About 100,000 people lose power in the brutal cold as snow, ice and sleet wallop the South and Midwest