Winter storm persists in southern US, but relief is forecast


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Plenty of ice, sleet and snow remained across much of the southern United States as thousands of people in Texas endured freezing temperatures without power, including many in the state capital of Austin, but forecasts that a warming trend will bring relief from Thursday’s deadly storm.

More than 390,000 customers in Texas lost power early Thursday when ice-laden trees bent over power lines, according to PowerOutage, a website that tracks utility reports.

More than 150,000 of those outages were in Austin, where the city’s utility company warned residents who had been without power that lights and heat might not come back on until later Thursday.

Pablo Vegas, who heads the Texas Electric Reliability Council, promised that the state’s electric grid and natural gas supply would be reliable and that there would be no repeat of the blackouts of February 2021 when the grid was on the brink of total failure.

School systems in Dallas and Austin, plus many in Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, planned to close Thursday as winter precipitation continued.

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Nearly 700 flights scheduled for Thursday had already been canceled as of Thursday morning, according to flight tracking service That followed thousands of cancellations and delays since the frigid weather began on Monday.

Winter condition watches and warnings have been issued for an area stretching along the West Texas border with Mexico through Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.

Dangerous driving conditions have led to at least eight deaths on slippery roads since Monday, including seven in Texas and one in Arkansas. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott urged people not to drive.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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