A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path spread rain, freezing rain and heavy snow further across the country on Thursday, knocking out power to more than 100,000 homes and businesses and disrupting flights at the busy Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
A long stretch of states from New Mexico to Maine remained under winter storm warnings and watches and the path of the storm stretched further from the central US into more of the South and Northeast.
Heavy snow was expected from the southern Rockies to northern New England, while forecasters said heavy ice build-up was likely from Texas to Pennsylvania.
“We have a lot of real estate covered by winter weather impacts this morning,” Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland, said early on Thursday.
“We do have an expansive area of heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain occurring.”
Parts of Ohio, New York and northern New England were expected to see heavy snowfall as the storm moves to the east with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 centimetres) of snow possible in some places through Friday, Mr Orrison said.
Along the warmer side of the storm, strong thunderstorms capable of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes were possible on Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the Storm Prediction Centre said.
More than 20 inches (51 centimetres) of snow was reported in the southern Rockies, while more than a foot of snow fell in areas of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
Sleet and freezing rain were occurring early on Thursday in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
More than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power, mostly in Texas and Arkansas, according to the website poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.
“Unfortunately we are looking at enough ice accumulations that we will be looking at significant travel impacts,” Mr Orrison said.
Texas had about 70,000 power outages on Thursday morning, far from the more than four million outages that paralysed the state during the February 2021 freeze in one of the worst blackouts in US history.
South Bend, Indiana, reported a record snowfall for the date on Wednesday with 11.2 inches (28.5 centimetres), eclipsing the previous record of eight inches (20.3 centimetres) set on the date in 1908, said Hannah Carpenter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Syracuse, Indiana.
The disruptive storm began on Tuesday and moved across the central US on Wednesday’s Groundhog Day, the same day the famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.
Airlines cancelled nearly 8,000 flights in the US scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, the flight-tracking service FlightAware.com showed.
More than 1,000 flights were cancelled on Thursday alone at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and more than 300 were cancelled at nearby Dallas Love Field.