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Winter Storm Lingers in Southern US, But Relief is Forecast (Photos)

February 2, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A mess of ice, sleet and snow lingered across much of the southern U.S. as thousands in Texas endured freezing temperatures with no power, including many in the state capital of Austin, but a warming trend was forecast to bring relief from the deadly storm Thursday.

More than 390,000 customers in Texas were without power early Thurdsay as trees, heavy with ice, buckled onto power lines, according to PowerOutage, a website tracking utility reports.

More than 150,000 of those outages were in Austin, where the city’s utility warned residents who had been without electricity that lights and heat may not come back on until later Thursday.

Pablo Vegas, who heads the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, vowed the state’s electrical grid and natural gas supply would be reliable and there wouldn’t be a repeat of the February 2021 blackouts when the grid was on the brink of total failure.

Icicles form on a rail on an overhead pass railing as drivers make their way north on US 75, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

School systems in the Dallas and Austin, plus many in Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee, planned to be closed Thursday as bands of winter precipitation continued to push through.

Nearly 700 flights scheduled for Thursday already had been canceled by Thursday morning, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.com. That followed thousands of cancelations and delays since frigid weather set in Monday.

Watches and warnings about wintry conditions were issued for an area stretching along the West Texas border with Mexico through Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.

The treacherous driving conditions resulted in at least eight deaths on slick roads since Monday, including seven in Texas and one in Arkansas. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged people not to drive.

CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER’S BYLINE TO LIESBETH POWERS INSTEAD OF SMILEY N. POOL – A plane with Southwest Airlines sits at one of the terminals at Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Dallas and other parts of North Texas are under a winter storm warning through Thursday. (Liesbeth Powers/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Austin Energy linemen Ken Gray, left, and Chad Sefcik work to restore power on ice-covered lines along West Alpine Road during a winter storm, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Crews clear ice from the Bush Turnpike near Preston Road on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Plano, Texas. Dallas and other parts of North Texas are under a winter storm warning through Thursday. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

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