Winter storm stretching from southern Plains to Northeast creates icy roads; 6 dead - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Winter storm stretching from southern Plains to Northeast creates icy roads; 6 dead

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Drivers from the southern Plains to the Northeast faced a grim commute Monday with ice and freezing rain making roads treacherous. At least six deaths were blamed on the wintry blast.

Ice storm warnings, freezing rain advisories and winter storms watches stretched from Texas to New Hampshire. The wintry weather was expected to continue through midweek.

More than 130,000 customers lost power in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas, utilities reported Sunday. 

Roads in much of Oklahoma were considered slick and hazardous by the state Department of Transportation, with two sections of Interstate 40 being closed temporarily.

"Tomorrow morning's commute may be a little difficult, and I think schools will have to consider if they're going to hold classes or not for tomorrow. It's possible you could see a lot of cancellations," John Pike, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's office in Norman, Okla., said Sunday.

The storm brought the cancellation of many church services, and Oklahoma State University also called off its football practice in Stillwater.

In Chicago, authorities said Sunday evening that poor weather and low visibility forced the cancellation of more than 400 flights at O'Hare International Airport.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, who declared a state of emergency, also activated the Missouri National Guard to aid communities affected by the storm.

At Kansas City International Airport, about two dozen flights were canceled. At Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, 13 flights were canceled.

Another storm was forecast Monday night into Tuesday, but it was expected to clear out by Wednesday, Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell said. Some communities reported ice as much as three-quarters of an inch thick, he said.

"The rural roads are pretty rough, the main highways are pretty clear and the overpasses are slick," said John Christiansen, emergency management director in Missouri's St. Clair County.       A portion of Interstate 70 in Missouri's Montgomery County was closed when a large power line fell across the highway. A nursing home in the county was without power, and its generator was not working.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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