A major winter storm has shattered both records and travel plans as it makes its way across the South this week. Dubbed Storm Uri by The Weather Channel, the storm has already set new snow records in Texas, and is responsible for the cancellation of thousands of flights and bringing travel to a standstill. With the disruptions expected to go on until at least the end of the week, here’s what we know about the storm, the disruptions its caused so far and what travelers need to know about it.
Flights Cancelled – Information for Travelers
Due to the nature of the pandemic, flights and the airline industry have taken a battering in the past year, with routes cancelled, airplanes grounded and the public asked to remain home by governments and organizations the world over. This week, there was another nail in the coffin as Storm Uri caused the cancellation of thousands of flights.
The winter storm has been responsible for the cancellation of more than 3,800 flights nationwide, as it continues to wreak travel havoc across the South and Midwest of the country. Dallas-Fort Worth International is particularly affected by the storm, with in excess of 1,000 of the cancelled flights coming from this airport. It has also seen the suspension of its Skylink light-rail transportation system due to the ice and low temperatures in the area.
The storm has also brought about the closure of several airports. George Bush Intercontinental Airport announced that it was closing until Tuesday 2PM CST at the earliest, whilst Hobby Airport in Houston announced it would be closed until noon on Tuesday.
Storm Causes Highway Accidents
Air travel wasn’t the only means of transportation brought to a standstill as a result of the storm. The icy conditions brought on by Storm Uri has created treacherous conditions on the roads, and has already caused huge accidents this week.
Ice on the roads in Houston caused a 10-car pile up on the I-45, whilst the conditions on Interstate-44, the Turner Turnpike in east Oklahoma City, also saw a multi-car crash that led to multiple vehicles catching fire. As a result, several people were taken to hospital to treat their injuries. All westbound lanes of Interstate-40 at Tramway Boulevard in Albuquerque were also closed as a result of several accidents.
Officials have moved to discourage people from traveling, with the treacherous conditions increasing the risk of an accident. Houston’s Police Chief, Art Acevedo, warned of the possibility that conditions could get worse overnight, due to the slush on the roads refreezing into ice, and pleaded with people not to travel during this time.
Winter Storm Warnings For Millions
As a result of Storm Uri, more than 150 million people have been placed under a winter storm warning, winter weather advisory or ice storm warning in 25 states, stretching 2000 miles from southern Texas to Northern Maine. The National Weather Service has warned about the threat of snow, ice, heavy rain and tornados.
The storm has knocked out power for millions. Texas alone saw 3.6m go without power from 2PM as a result of a power cut in the state. Officials have also warned those who have lost power not to run generators from inside their homes, due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
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