DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost power across the United States on Thursday as freezing rain and snow weighed down tree branches and encrusted power lines, part of a winter storm that brought snowfall in parts of Texas.
The stormy conditions also caused headaches for travelers across the country, with airlines canceling more than 6,000 flights scheduled for Thursday or Friday in the United States.
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At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, authorities closed all runways Thursday morning and reported more than 1,000 canceled flights.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines shared the following statement with CBS News on the matter Thursday night:
“The winter storm is having a significant impact on our DFW operations. Due to airport conditions, the remainder of flights to DFW tonight have been canceled and we expect further impact until tomorrow morning. We apologize to our customers whose travel plans may be affected and would like to thank our team who are working tirelessly to help care for our customers safely.
The highest power outage totals blamed on icy or downed power lines were concentrated in Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and Ohio, but the storm’s track extended farther from the central United States. United to the south and northeast on Thursday.
Heavy snowfall was expected from the southern Rockies to northern New England, while forecasters said heavy ice accumulation was likely from Texas to Pennsylvania.
“We have a lot of real estate covered by the impacts of winter weather this morning,” Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland, said Thursday morning. “We have a large area of heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain.”
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In Texas, the return of below-freezing weather has sparked heightened anxiety nearly a year after the catastrophic February 2021 freeze that shut down the state’s power grid for days, killing hundreds in the one of the worst blackouts in US history.
Facing a new test of the Texas grid, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he was holding up and was on track to have more than enough power to weather the storm. Texas had about 70,000 outages as of Thursday morning, a far cry from the 4 million reported outages in 2021.
Abbott and local officials said Thursday’s outages were caused by high winds or icy and downed transmission lines, not network outages.
In Dallas, the overnight mix of snow and freezing rain had hardened Thursday afternoon to an icy patch that made roads treacherous.
The disruptive storm began on Tuesday and moved through the central United States on Wednesday on Groundhog Day, the same day the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. The storm came on the heels of a northeasterly last weekend that brought blizzard conditions to many parts of the East Coast.
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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)