An ice storm driven by a large-scale winter storm over the Southern US, has led to widespread travel disruption and massive power outages, including in Texas.
The storm is part of a larger system called the polar vortex, which causes the ongoing Arctic cold front in the northern tier of the US, bringing cold air southward into Canada and the country.
Deadly Ice Storm
(Photo : Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)
AccuWeather issued an updated report that the deadly ice storm gripping the South US has led to the cancellation of thousands of flights and left many people without power on Wednesday, February 1, following a multi-day storm.
While the US is heading into the weekend, forecasters reportedly issued a warning that the storm is not yet over.
Data from flight-monitoring site FlightAware earlier this week indicated that over 2,400 flights were cancelled and almost 5,000 others were delayed nationwide before midday on Wednesday, as cited by AccuWeather.
Texas Ice Storm
The intense winter storm passed through the state of Texas on Thursday, February 2, causing power outages in hundreds of thousands of residential and business establishments, as reported by the National Public Radio (NPR), a US based non-profit media organization.
The stormy weather in Texas is part of a major ice storm striking the Southern US since Tuesday, January 31, stretching in a wide area from Texas to Tennessee.
Across Texas, the arctic conditions reportedly destroyed classrooms, disrupted flights, such as delays or cancellations, caused multiple car accidents, including one fatal crash in Austin, Texas, according to NPR.
What is an Ice Storm?
An ice storm is a violent weather event and a type of winter storm associated with freezing rain.
This phenomenon involves heavy accumulations of ice that can bring down trees, topple utility poles, and damage communication towers, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Ice caused by winter precipitation can disrupt communications and cause power outages for several days while utility service providers repair extensive damage, the NWS added.
In the past, this even can cause icy conditions that are dangerous to motorists and pedestrians.
In addition to slippery roads, bridges and overpasses are particularly dangerous since they freeze first before other surfaces.
The US weather agency defines the following kinds of icy conditions and their repercussions caused by ice storms:
- Black Ice – a patchy ice on roads or other transportation surfaces not easily seen by the naked eye. Some called clear ice, black is a thin layer of ice on a surface.
- Ice Jams – a chunk of ice broken from frozen rivers and lakes can cause these bodies of water to jam, resulting in riverine flooding or the overflow of water levels.
- Ice Recreation – ice found on lakes and streams can also be deadly since people can fall under water which is still flowing.
- Frost – a thin ice crystal that forms on the ground or other surfaces in various shapes like fans, feathers, needles, or scales.
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