Wintry weather disrupts travel across the heartland

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

With unseasonably warm temperatures for a Winter day, a bike rider in shorts rolls past a couple walking at the town common in North Andover, Mass., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

DALLAS – Freezing rain and drizzle is disrupting travel from Central Texas to the Great Lakes, with ice-glazed roads leading to hundreds of traffic accidents, including one in Kentucky that killed a toddler.

Hundreds of flights were canceled Wednesday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas braced for an ice storm.

More than half an inch of ice could accumulate in parts of the Ozarks through Friday morning, while another area of freezing rain was expected to hit south-central Pennsylvania and western Maryland, the National Weather Service said.

In western Kentucky, ice on a bridge caused multiple collisions that left a toddler dead and closed interstate lanes for hours, officials said.

Seven collisions involving 12 tractor-trailers and six passenger cars were reported beginning late Wednesday on Interstate 24 in Marshall County due to ice on the Tennessee River Bridge, Kentucky State Police said in a statement.

In one crash involving two semi-trailers, an 18-month-old unrestrained child was ejected and then hit by a car, police said. The toddler was declared dead at the scene by the Marshall County coroner.

In Arkansas, dozens of schools were closed or switched to remote learning Thursday as another round of freezing rain was expected by midday.

Airlines had canceled more than 2,000 Thursday flights by Wednesday night, according to the tracking site. About half of them were at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, where temperatures were expected to top out above freezing only briefly late Thursday afternoon.

DFW Airport is the biggest in the American Airlines network, and American had canceled 21% of its Thursday flights by Wednesday night, according to FlightAware.

Meanwhile, heavy snow was expected in upstate New York and New England later this week, with more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) possible through Saturday morning.

Winter took a fleeting break in the Northeast on Wednesday, with temperatures soaring into the 60s before plunging within hours.

The warm spell sent people streaming outdoors, but it was bad news for ski resorts.

“It’s not exactly what you want to see in the middle of the busiest week of the year,” said Ethan Austin, spokesperson for the Sugarloaf ski area in Maine, which was busy because of school vacation week. But he was happy to hear snow was on the way.

The weather whiplash marked the second time in less than a week that there was to be a temperature swing of more than 40 degrees in 24 hours.