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States From Texas To Tennessee Brace For Predicted Ice Storm

DALLAS (UPI) — Treacherous ice threatened to create havoc from Texas to Tennessee Friday in what was predicted to be the United States’ “worst ice storm” in nearly four years.

Governors of Tennessee and Arkansas declared states of emergency and some schools in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas were closed, with the ice — and snow — storm threatening to coat everything in its path, officials said.

“The most unsettling aspect about Arkansas’ weather for most of us is its looming uncertainty,” Governor Mike Beebe said.

Tennessee, Memphis Light, Gas and Water was prepping for the worst in case “a significant storm blankets our city,” President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Collins Jr. said. The utility has 426,000 customers.

Freezing rain and ice buildup was expected to hit metro areas from Dallas to Little Rock, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Memphis; Evansville, Ind.; and Louisville, Ky.

“This will be the worst ice storm for the United States since January 2009 and will affect many of the same areas as that storm,” storm chaser Jesse Ferrell said.

The storm threat prompted Dallas officials to cancel the city’s holiday parade — a first in 26 years, CNN reported.

The Dallas Marathon, which usually attracts 25,000 runners, is still expected to run on Sunday, the Dallas Police Department said.

The National Weather Service forecast the wintry mix would hang around until Sunday.

Besides the ice, a larger winter storm system powered by a huge arctic air blast was spreading snow and sleet from New Mexico to New York.

The Upper Midwest was trapped in the deep freeze with temperatures in some areas below zero and wind chills plunging the feels-like temps even lower.

In the early morning hours Friday, an NWS spotter reported up to 7 inches of snow accumulation in Marissa, Ill., southeast of St. Louis, said.

The Illinois Transportation Department said early most roads in southern Illinois were snow- or ice-covered, including Interstate-57 from the Tennessee State line north.

Highway officials in Texas reported snow covered Interstate-20 southwest of Fort Worth.

Police in Bradley, Texas, reported a solid sheet of ice on roadways.

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