400K losing power in Texas; Wind chill hits New England
More than 400,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas on Thursday as a damaging winter weather system of ice, sleet and snow continued to wreak havoc across much of the South.
Austin, with more than 150,000 outages, has been hit hard and the city’s utility company has warned residents they could be left without lights or heat until Thursday.
At least eight people have died on icy, treacherous highways since Monday, including seven in Texas and one in Arkansas. Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged residents to stay off the roads.
More than 700 flights scheduled for Thursday had already been canceled by morning, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.com. Arctic weather has been responsible for thousands of cancellations and delays since Monday.
Further north, several states bordering Canada were preparing for wind chills of up to 45 degrees below zero.
In New York and New England, residents also braced for freezing winds and heavy lake-effect snow that could create dangerous travel conditions in the region.
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Wind chills hit New York and New England
A wind chill warning was in effect Thursday in upstate New York, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut, according to the weather service. Wind chills could be as low as 50 degrees below zero.
Even before the dangerous temperatures, officials warned that people should keep pets indoors as much as possible and check on older family members, friends and neighbors frequently.
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Ice storm warning continues in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and other states
An ice storm warning remained in effect Thursday morning for parts of several states, the National Weather Service in Memphis, Tennessee said.
Authorities continued to discourage travel, but people who must drive must keep an extra flashlight and food and water in their vehicle.
The ice storm warning affected more than 11 million people Thursday in parts of Arkansas, southwestern Tennessee, northern Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In northwest and central Texas, the warning was set to be lifted at 9 a.m. Thursday, though power outages and damage to trees in the area are still possible due to ice.
Winter storm warnings and other advisories also continued Thursday morning, stretching from Texas to Tennessee.
Wind chill advisories in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin
A wind chill advisory is in effect Friday in parts of Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Wind chills could reach up to 50 degrees below zero.
Authorities have advised people to wear appropriate winter clothing, including a hat and gloves, when outdoors.
Winter storm tracking
National Weather Radar
Contributor: Doyle Rice, USA TODAY; Associated Press