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US braces for blast of wintery storm

26 November 2013, 18:56

Oklahoma - An icy storm that started in the West and is blamed in at least 10 fatal accidents was bringing a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to the central US on Monday as it trudged eastward in the run-up to the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

The storm dropped more than 250mm of snow on parts of Oklahoma overnight, and a winter weather advisory remained in place for much of the southeast of the state with freezing rain and sleet in the cards.

The National Weather Service meanwhile issued a winter weather warning for Arkansas.

The region should prepare for the worst of the storm through Monday afternoon, forecasters said, warning of ice accumulations on slick roads.

It downgraded the forecast for Texas to a winter weather advisory, saying the area would experience light freezing rain and sleet but not temperatures as cold as originally forecast.

Meteorologists said they expected the Arctic mass to head south and east and threaten plans for Tuesday and Wednesday as people hit the roads and airports for some of the busiest travel days of the year.

Nearly 300 flights American Airlines and American Eagle were cancelled in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Monday due to the weather, spokesperson Laura Masvidal said, mirroring disruptions at the air hub a day earlier.

Around dawn in Dallas, where a mix or rain and sleet hit around midday on Sunday, temperatures edged above freezing but rain continued to make roads treacherous and slick.

The storm last week hit California, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.

Portions of New Mexico had several inches of snow - especially at higher elevations - and near white-out conditions were reported near Albuquerque.

Flagstaff in Arizona had 280mm of snow early on Sunday, while metro Phoenix and other parts of central Arizona were drenched with several inches of rain, causing the cancellation of sporting events and parades.

The weather was blamed in at least 10 deaths in traffic accidents. The storm also caused hundreds of rollover accidents, including one that injured three members of singer Willie Nelson's band when their bus hit a pillar on a highway northeast of Dallas.

- AP

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