(CNN) — Treacherous road conditions are now linked to three deaths in Texas as a fresh wave of ice and sleet hammer parts of the southern and central US.
A 49-year-old woman was killed this week when she lost control of her truck on an icy road north of Eldorado, the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN on Wednesday.
Two other deaths were previously linked to the storm that coated Texas cities with sleet or ice. In south Austin, one person died Tuesday morning in a 10-car pileup, the city’s fire department said. Another person died when their car rolled over in the Dallas-area city of Arlington, police said.
The dangerous conditions are not over. A nasty combination of freezing rain, sleet and accumulating ice are expected hit parts of Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee through at least Thursday morning, forecasters said.
“Impacts include treacherous travel, power outages, and tree damage,” the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center tweeted Wednesday.
More than an inch of sleet has already piled up in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois since Monday.
In Texas alone, more than 200,000 homes, businesses and other power customers had no electricity in the frigid cold Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.US.
Dangerous conditions prompted Parkland Health system in Dallas to close its clinics Wednesday.
Here’s what’s on tap in the southern and central US:
• Texas: The heaviest round of sleet and freezing rain is expected Wednesday — especially in the Austin, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Temperatures are expected to be near or below freezing.
• Southern Oklahoma: More wintry rain and up to an inch of ice accumulation are expected Wednesday.
• South-central Arkansas and Tennessee’s Memphis area: An additional tenth- to quarter-inch of ice could pile up.
• Across the region: Total ice accumulation of at least a quarter of an inch is likely from West Texas to western Tennessee through Thursday morning. Up to a half-inch could build up in parts of central and north-central Texas and southern Arkansas, the National Weather Service said.
• Widespread flight cancellations: More than 1,900 US flights have been canceled for Wednesday, according to the tracking website FlightAware.
Jeep owners set out to rescue drivers
In a state not accustomed to heavy ice, a group of Jeep enthusiasts used their vehicles to help stranded drivers.
The Dallas-based “Carnales Off Road” group regularly supports those in need, founder Jorge Coronilla Muñiz told CNN.
“It’s not the first time we’ve done this during bad weather. We try to help as often as possible,” Muñiz said.
Several semi-trucks got stuck on Interstate 20 on Tuesday, and about 30 Jeeps helped tow them.
“Before we got to I-20, we also helped a few other cars who were stuck on the streets,” Muniz said. “We eventually came across the standstill on Interstate 20 and helped an additional 20 trucks.”
Muñiz said he and other group members helped stranded motorists from early Tuesday morning all the way until 10 p.m.
“Everyone was very grateful for our help, especially the truck drivers. Some even asked if we were going to charge them for the help, but we told them we were just there to help.”
The group is back out on the roads Wednesday and will help medical professionals having difficulty getting to and from work, Muñiz said.
‘Hazardous or impossible travel conditions’
More than 12 million people across parts of southeastern Oklahoma, southern Missouri, central and eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, northwestern Mississippi and Texas are under ice storm warnings Wednesday.
The weather service issues ice storm warnings when ice accumulations of more than a quarter of an inch are possible. On Wednesday, the warning areas are expected to see up to or more than a half of an inch of freezing rain.
“Prepare for tree limb breakage and localized power outages in this region, in addition to hazardous or impossible travel conditions,” the weather service in Dallas warned.
Unsafe travel conditions Tuesday led to hundreds of car crashes across Texas, officials said. Emergency workers responded to people suffering from hypothermia or those injured after slipping on ice.
The Texas National Guard is prepared to help stranded motorists, clear roadways and provide welfare checks, Gov. Greg Abbott said. And Texas Parks and Wildlife has at least 30 responders ready for search and rescue operations.
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