Hundreds of thousands of households and businesses were without power Friday morning as a deadly winter storm had 80 million people under winter weather alerts and left parts of the United States facing potentially “treacherous” buildups of snow and ice.
In Texas, conditions already proved hazardous, with scores of drivers left stranded for hours after multiple crashes were reported on a northbound stretch of Interstate 10 near Kerrville.
The Texas Department of Transportation warned residents early Friday morning against driving “unless it’s necessary” as roadways remained slick. “Crews continue to spread deicer,” it said in a tweet.
As of early Friday morning, more than 360,000 customers were out of power from Texas to New York, with snow and freezing rain weighing down tree limbs and affecting power lines, according to outage tracker PowerOutage.us.
Outages were reported in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, with more than 131,000 customers left without power in Tennessee alone as of around 9 a.m. ET.
In New York, where nearly 44,000 were without power, Gov. Kathy Hochul warned of “significant amounts of freezing rain and ice accumulation in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region Friday morning.
“Commuters — if you don’t have to drive this morning, please avoid travel so our crews can keep roads safe,” she said in a tweet.
The National Weather Service in Albany said the sleet coming down “has been prolific!”
“We continue to see an icy mix of sleet, freezing rain, and/or snow between roughly I-90 and Poughkeepsie,” the weather service said in a tweet, adding that residents should expect a transition to snow later on “as additional cold air allows for the wintry mix and snow lines to shift southward.”
In addition to causing outages, the storm also prompted another day of flight cancellations, with more than 2,900 flights within, into and out of the U.S. canceled as of 9 a.m. ET, adding to the more than 5,200 flights called off on Thursday, according to flight tracking platform FlightAware.
The storm, which the weather service said has over the past week produced “heavy snow, crippling ice accumulations, flash flooding and severe weather” has entered its third and final day “before exiting stage right into the Atlantic Ocean this weekend.”
But before it departs, more heavy snow is forecast across northern New England, with the heaviest accumulations in eastern Maine, where over 6 inches of snowfall is anticipated, according to the weather service.