Storm slides into Arkansas as ice warning in place
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A winter storm that's expected to cripple much of Arkansas is sliding into the state, bringing slick roads and school closures along with it.
Highway officials reported patches of ice, sleet and slush on some roadways in northwest Arkansas on Thursday. And schools across much of the state announced plans to close.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning for the Interstate 30 and 40 corridors and other areas in Arkansas.
An ice storm warning is in place for large parts of Arkansas until 6 p.m. Friday. The warning area stretches from the Oklahoma border in the west, the Texas border in the south to the Tennessee border in the east and includes Little Rock.
Forecasters say significant ice accumulations are expected across central Arkansas late Thursday through Friday.
Icy, slushy highways reported in northern Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway officials are reporting icy and slushy roads in an area from Mena to Fort Smith to Dover to Hardy.
As a winter storm sliced into the state from the northwest, ice patches were reported on major highways north of Fort Smith to the Missouri line, then across northern Arkansas to Harrison and then down to Jasper and Dover.
Elsewhere in the region, the state highway department reported sleet falling. Slush covered roads between Fort Smith and Ozark, and also north of Clinton and eastward to the Mammoth Spring and Hardy area.
Ice was reported north of Mena and in the Springdale area.
The icy weather is expected to move into the rest of the state overnight into Friday. Travel is expected to become dangerous.
Beebe declares emergency due to Arkansas weather
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe is declaring a statewide emergency because of the wintry storm that's hitting the state.
Beebe declared a statewide disaster on Thursday afternoon.
The governor's office says that combined with additional proclamations, the disaster declaration will ease restrictions on utility crews, fuel haulers and propane deliveries during the wintry storm.
Beebe also released $100,000 from his disaster fund to help with initial response to the storm. And he declared that only essential personnel will report to work at state offices in the Little Rock metropolitan area on Friday. Agency directors and area supervisors will determine who those employees are.
An ice storm warning is in place for a large part of Arkansas until 6 p.m. Friday.
About 850 power outages in Fort Smith, Alma area
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - Oklahoma Gas and Electric reports about 850 power outages in the Fort Smith and Alma area in western Arkansas following a winter storm that moved through the area.
OG and E said no poles or power lines were down, but that the outages are related to Thursday's storm that brought snow, sleet and ice across Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The utility says crews are on the way to repair the outages.
WINTER STORM-LITTLE ROCK AIRPORT
Little Rock Airport reports canceled flights
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Officials at the Little Rock airport say airlines are beginning to cancel flights set for Thursday night and Friday morning as an ice storm moves into the region.
Spokesman Shane Carter of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport says six flights set for Thursday night have been canceled, along with seven set for Friday morning. The 13 cancellations impact flights for American, Delta, Southwest and United.
Travelers are urged to check with the airlines before heading to the airport for their flight.
Arkansas closures mount as winter storm encroaches
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The list of weather-related closures is growing across Arkansas as a winter storm develops over the state.
Public schools from northwest Arkansas to Little Rock announced Friday closures as the forecast for snow and freezing rain grew more ominous on Thursday. The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville closed at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock called off evening classes Thursday and announced no classes will be held today. Arkansas State in Jonesboro is also closed Friday.
Numerous other closings and postponements are rolling in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is pushing a holiday shopping event until next week.
Forecasters issued an ice storm warning that stretches from Texarkana to Batesville to West Memphis, covering the Interstate 30 and 40 corridors.
State of emergency declared for Tenn. winter storm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A state of emergency is being declared in anticipation of a winter storm forecast to the western and middle parts of Tennessee.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt said Thursday that the forecast includes freezing rain and ice that could lead to downed trees and power lines. Flooding could occur through the weekend.
The noon CST emergency declaration allows for increased staffing levels among emergency responders and staff.
In Shelby County, Mayor Mark Luttrell is reminding residents to check on family and friends who are elderly, disabled or live alone. Officials are monitoring road conditions.
Motorists should check their cars' tires, windshield wipers and antifreeze levels.
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