More than 200,000 homes and businesses lose power as freezing rain and snow weigh down tree limbs and encrusted power lines, part of a winter storm that has also caused shutting of schools and cancellation of thousands of flights.
A massive winter storm has swept across the central and Northeast United States where it was delivering heavy snow and ice, making travel treacherous if not impossible, knocking out power to some 200,000 homes and businesses and closing schools in several states.
Winter and ice storm warnings on Thursday remained in effect for a wide swathe of the United States that reached from Texas up through the Midwest and into New England until Friday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
More than 100 million people across at least 25 states were under winter weather alerts, CNN reported.
After the storm dumped heavy snow on the Midwest on Wednesday, parts of the region were forecast to see another 6 inches of snow on Thursday, accompanied by high winds of up to 56 km per hour.
READ MORE: US braces for major storm packing heavy ice, snow
Thousands of flights cancelled
Storm conditions also caused headaches for travellers across the country as airlines cancelled more than 6,000 flights scheduled for Thursday or Friday in the US.
At Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, authorities shut down all runways on Thursday morning and reported more than 1,000 cancelled flights.
A damaging ice storm was underway in portions of Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. More than a half-inch of ice may accumulate by Friday morning in some spots, possibly causing power outages, tree damage and dangerous travel conditions, the weather service warned.
"Everything will freeze overnight and heighten the potential for black ice tomorrow," The Arkansas Department of Transportation warned in a tweet.
More than 220,000 homes and businesses in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were without power on Thursday afternoon, Poweroutages.us reported.
"No power here in Walnut Grove Lake but I've got beer, firewood, food and a good sleeping bag. I just don't want frozen pipes," retired Navy senior chief Paul Stack said on Twitter.
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Texas governor Greg Abbott said on Thursday that the state's power grid is "fully functioning and continues to be reliable."
Last winter, a deadly deep freeze crippled the grid, leaving millions without power.
"Texas is experiencing one of the most significant ice events in decades," Abbott said.
School districts in several states including Texas, Michigan and Ohio cancelled classes on Thursday. Dallas closed schools attended by 145,000 students for Thursday and Friday.
The storm will push temperatures down. Highs in many places across the Plains and Mississippi Valley will be between 20-40 degrees below average over the next few days, the NWS said.
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