“Because of the icing, many roads in Texas will remain very dangerous for the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “Be cautious, especially for things like black ice.”
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth warned that light to moderate freezing rain moving into central Texas counties early Wednesday morning would “freeze on contact when it lands and accumulate ice on ALL surfaces!”
“Already slick roads will become even more slick & very dangerous tonight and tomorrow!” it said in a tweet.
The severe weather has also contributed to thousands of flight cancellations and delays so far this week.
As of early Wednesday, at least 1,300 flights within, into and out of the United States were canceled, according to online flight tracker FlightAware. At least 355 of those flight cancellations were at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, while nearly 160 were at Dallas Love Field and just under 110 were listed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, national carriers both based in the region, made up the majority of the cancellations, with Southwest seeing 487 flights canceled as of early Wednesday and American listing 434 cancellations, according to FlightAware.
Sweeping power outages
Residents across Texas have also faced power outages in the midst of the storm.
Nearly 120,000 utility customers were without power as of early Wednesday morning, according to online outage tracker PowerOutage.us.
Speaking at the news conference on Tuesday, utility officials said the state’s electrical grid and natural gas supply was ready and would remain reliable over the course of the severe weather event.
Public Utility Commission Chairman Peter Lake told Texans to contact their local power providers if winter weather and icing conditions caused local power outages.
Severe weather to continue
Abbott said Texans in the north, west and central regions of the state should prepare for continued severe weather through Thursday.
He said parts of Texas could even get flash flooding Wednesday and Thursday.
More icy conditions were expected Wednesday from Texas through a majority of the Mid-South, the National Weather Service said. Additional ice accumulations up to a half inch were forecast for much of central and north-central Texas, as well as for parts of southern Arkansas, it said.
“A quarter inch of ice accretion is possible across a larger area that includes southern Oklahoma, most of Arkansas, and into far western Tennessee,” it added, warning that this amount of ice accretion on top of what has already fallen could lead to more “treacherous travel,” along with the possibility of tree damage and power outages.
Ice Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Warnings, and Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for hard-hit areas and residents have been urged to check road conditions before traveling and to drive with extreme caution, it said.