Sat, Feb 05, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Ice, freezing rain lash southern US

NORTHEAST IS NEXT:A cold front from Canada followed the giant winter storm that blanketed a large portion of the US this week and more chilly weather is on its way

Bloomberg

Workers remove snow from a runway at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, on Thursday after a blizzard hit the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Freezing rain, sleet and snow were falling across the US South from Texas to North Carolina yesterday as part of a winter storm that will turn toward New York and the Northeast today, according to forecasters.

Houston was under a winter storm warning until noon and as much as 7.6cm of sleet and snow could accumulate yesterday, according to the US National Weather Service. Dallas and Fort Worth might receive about 5cm of snow, said Dan Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“The Friday morning commute will be the worst, with ice on the roads in places like Dallas or Austin or Houston,” Pydynowski said. “It is going to be wintery precipitation all the way to the Gulf Coast.”

Earlier this week, a giant winter storm moved across the northern US, grounding about 13,000 flights and sending wind gusts of 113kph and heavy snow to Chicago.

US President Barack Obama declared an emergency in Missouri, which allowed federal aid to be used to help residents and state and local officials recover from the storm, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency statement released on Thursday.

Behind that storm, a blast of frigid air swept from Canada in to the US South. That drove temperatures down to a maximum of minus 5?C in the Dallas Fort Worth area, which is far below normal, according to the weather service.

“Down in Texas, it is cold,” said Tim Bowden, who works as a senior meteorologist at Planalytics in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

Cold weather this week caused the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s grid, to order rotating outages after at least 50 generating units producing 7,000 megawatts were knocked off line.

Pydynowski said it is possible sleet and ice may reach all the way to Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border.

Bowden said Texas would warm up before tomorrow’s National Football League Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers.

Continental Airlines, American Airlines and other US carriers canceled at least 2,471 flights on Thursday. As of 12:30am, 891 flights had been scrubbed for yesterday, most of them to or from Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to FlightAware.

After the weather passes from the South it will move north toward the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast.

“This is the same system that is down in Texas now,” Pydynowski said. “This would be the same one that will come northeastward on Friday night into Saturday and spread some rain and snow in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast as well.”

New York, Boston and other parts of the northeastern US have been coping with above-normal snowfalls this season. Central Park has received 146.5cm since Dec. 1, 117cm more than normal, making this the sixth-snowiest season on record.

The snowiest season in New York was 1995to 1996 with 192cm inches. Records go back to 1869, according to the weather service.

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, 179.5 inches of snow have fallen since Dec. 1, or 126cm more than normal, as of Thursday, according to the weather service.

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