Winter storms and icy conditions threaten millions across the South and central U.S., with one person already confirmed dead in Texas.
On Tuesday (January 31), one person was killed in a 10-car pile-up on the icy roads of Austin, Texas, the city's fire department said, per CNN.
More than 40 million people from New Mexico to West Virginia are under various winter weather alerts. Officials across the country have closed roads and schools and are urging people to avoid travel.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, EMS crews have responded to at least 142 traffic accidents since Monday (January 30). The Austin Fire Department has responded to at least 19 traffic accidents related to icy road conditions since midnight, the department tweeted Tuesday morning.
“In addition to potentially hazardous travel conditions, this amount of ice will lead to tree damage and power outages across the hardest-hit regions,” the National Weather Service warned.
Memphis, Tennessee and Little Rock, Arkansas are under ice storm warnings while Texas cities including Dallas, San Antonio, San Angelo, and Waco are under winter storm warnings.
Oklahoma City is under a winter weather advisory through Wednesday (February 1) as the city expects to see up to two-tenths of an inch of ice.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, said it's set to “meet forecasted demand” as the state aims to avoid massive power outages that left millions of Texans freezing for days during a winter storm in 2021.
A state of emergency was declared in Arkansas on Monday, with the governor activating winter weather support teams of the state’s National Guard.
“The real enemy is going to be that ice,” said Dave Parker, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. “This could potentially be a pretty dangerous situation.”