Icy conditions lead to fatal crash, travel nightmare for southern Plains
With sleet and freezing rain reports piling up, travel both on the ground and in the air were heavily impacted Monday, particularly in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
Storm chaser Brandon Clement captured video of no fewer than 12 vehicles losing control on the same icy bridge in the Dallas area on Jan. 30.
Icy conditions across the southern Plains have resulted in a travel nightmare for many on Monday including a fatal wreck in Arkansas and chaos in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro region.
On Monday morning, authorities cited the severe weather as a factor in a fatal crash in Benton County, Arkansas. A spokeperson for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office stated a flatbed truck that was hauling equipment lost control and flipped on a road east of Avoca, Arkansas, killing the driver.
Hours later the driver of a semi-truck lost control and crashed on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, about an hour northwest of Aspen, sending the rig into the opposite lanes and shutting down a large section of the highway late into the night, according to Colorado officials. CDOT photos showed the truck dangling off the eastbound deck of the highway.
A tractor-trailer truck crashed on an icy Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, just before noon on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, shutting down the highway in both directions for several hours. (Colorado DOT)
Through Monday afternoon, over 100 crashes were reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to MedStar emergency management services in Fort Worth. Of the crashes, 11 of them were categorized as rollovers, and 25 patients were transported to area hospitals. A major accident was reported on the bridge at Riverside Drive and Interstate 30 with icy conditions expected on elevated roadways and bridges throughout the area.
According to Total Traffic DFW, westbound Interstate 20 in Terrell, about 35 miles west of downtown Dallas, was closed for about an hour on Monday morning. More accidents were reported on I-20, as well as Interstate 35E and 121 west of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. All express lanes in Tarrant County, on the west side of the DFW region, were closed due to the wintry weather.
Ice began to accumulate in Tulsa, Oklahoma, part of a storm that has caused travel havoc across the southern Plains Monday. (Photo via Mike Scantlin)
Air travel was also heavily impacted, with both major Dallas-Fort Worth airports delaying hundreds of flights, according to FlightAware. Through early Monday evening, 331 flights in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International were cancelled, and another 480 were delayed. At Dallas Love Field, a total of 223 flights coming into and out of the airport were cancelled. At major hubs such as Austin, Dallas and Memphis, additional flight delays and cancellations are all but certain through Wednesday.
"With two major airports in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, and with Memphis being a FedEx hub, logistical impacts from this storm will be felt nationwide," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dean DeVore explained.
Due to the ice storm’s effects, several northern Texas schools canceled after-school activities on Monday, including Fort Worth ISD and Richardson ISD. Many school districts have also announced school closures for Tuesday.
Both freezing rain and sleet were abundant in the southern Plains Monday, including just under a half inch of sleet reported on roads south of Denton, Texas, Monday afternoon. An inch of sleet fell in towns in Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as 0.8 inches reported in Branson, Missouri. Sleet began accumulating Monday morning across Oklahoma, including in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas, causing more trouble on the roads.
In Arkansas, an ice storm warning was put into effect Monday for portions of the central and northeastern areas of the state, including Little Rock. On top of the fatal wreck in Benton County, ice patches were reported on many main highways and roads across the state.
Monday’s severe weather was just the first wave of ice with more expected from another storm that is forecast for Tuesday. Major hubs such as Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City and Memphis are just some of the cities where a substantial amount of ice could be received.
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