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Icy conditions attributed to fatal crash, travel nightmare for southern Plains

AccuWeather 1/30/2023 Thomas Leffler

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.

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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)

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.

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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.


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Due to the ice storm's effects, several northern Texas schools cancelled after-school activities on Monday, including Fort Worth ISD and Richardson ISD.

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.

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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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