After slamming portions of the north-central and western US with brutal cold and heavy snow Wednesday, the worst of the wintry weather threat shifts to the South on Thursday.
Though snow is expected in some spots, the biggest concern Thursday and Friday will be an ice storm that's forecast to develop from Texas to the Ohio Valley.
The icy mix will spread from part of northern Texas Thursday to northern and western Arkansas, central Kentucky and southern Ohio Thursday night into early Friday, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"Total ice accumulations through Friday are expected to be from a tenth to half an inch, with locally heavier amounts up to one inch.possible," the National Weather Service warned in an online bulletin.
The ice could lead to significant travel problems and widespread power outages in cities such as Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and Cincinnati, AccuWeather warns.
Additionally, snow accumulations of up to 8 inches are possible from the Southern Plains to the Ohio Valley in locations to the north of the accumulating ice, the weather service forecasts.
While the snow threat will diminish in the northern Plains and Rockies on Thursday, intense cold will remain, as temperatures struggle to reach 0 degrees, following morning low temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees below zero, according to the weather service. Some parts of Minnesota will stay 10 degrees below zero Thursday afternoon.
Winds will also continue to howl across the region: "With the wind factored in, it will feel more like 40 degrees below zero," said AccuWeather meteorologist Elliot Abrams. "That kind of cold is extremely dangerous," he added, as prolonged exposure to those temperatures can cause frostbite, hypothermia and even death.
The West will also be cold though little significant snow or rain is forecast. Freeze warnings were in place in much of California as temperatures could again drop into the 20s late Thursday and early Friday. Citrus farmers in the Central Valley checked wind machines and ran water through their fields this week in anticipation of temperatures at or below freezing.
Snow was a big story Wednesday. with the heaviest snow falling in two separate regions: In the Rockies and in the upper Midwest. Some spots in Idaho and Wyoming had picked up as much as 30 inches from the storm as of late Wednesday, according to the weather service.
In Colorado, several school systems in the Denver area were closed Wednesday, while a few others had delayed openings.
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A separate area of snow walliopped the Dakotas and northern/western Nebraska to Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan through the day on Wednesday. In Minnesota,.the University of Minnesota-Duluth was closed Wednesday because of the snow, a move the school rarely makes. Nineteen inches had fallen in Duluth as of noon.
In Minneapolis/St. Paul, snowy, icy roads led to "an explosion of crashes and spinouts" Wednesday morning, with more than 100 crashes reported, according to KARE-TV.
Six deaths in traffic accidents have been blamed on the bad weather Tuesday and Wednesday: Four in Minnesota and one each in Montana and North Dakota.
On Tuesday, the snowstorm forced the closure of a stretch of Interstate 90 between Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyo. In eastern Oregon, authorities closed much of Interstate 84 as trucks jackknifed in the snow. Transportation authorities in Utah and Nevada reported dozens of crashes.
Contributing: Associated Press; KUSA-TV in Denver; KARE-TV in Minneapolis