Ed Andrieski, Associated Press
The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for the Interstate 40 corridor and other areas in Arkansas, as a winter storm that's expected to cripple much of the state into the weekend brought sleet that left roadways slick with ice and slush.
Forecasters say significant ice accumulations are expected across central Arkansas late Thursday through Friday.
The winter storm dumped as much as 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota, forcing school closures and temporary power outages and delighting skiers who were hitting the slopes despite temperatures in the single digits Thursday.
The Spirit Mountain ski area in Duluth, Minn. welcomed the heavy snowfall, which helped turn the slopes into a party. Attendees included students from the University of Minnesota Duluth and other colleges who were given Wednesday off.
While college classes resumed Thursday, Duluth-area elementary and high schools remained closed. Temperatures were in the single digits above zero Thursday morning and were forecast to slowly fall all day on their way to subzero overnight lows for at least the next few days.
Temperatures plunged to minus 11 in Helena, where a frozen pipe burst and flooded part of the Montana State Capitol building Thursday morning.
There was minor flooding in the cafeteria, media rooms and some bathrooms, although most of the building remained open for business and public meetings as workers dried the soaked areas.
The cold snap Thursday set or matched record low temperatures in parts of Montana, including minus 26 in Great Falls. Denton also set a record at minus 23 Thursday morning and Havre's minus 27 reading matched a record that has stood since 1936.
The cold snap is expected to last through the weekend.
Freezing precipitation fell in parts of southern Oklahoma on Thursday morning, prompting officials to postpone high school state football championship games and cities to cancel holiday festivities across the state.
The brunt of the wintry storm bringing snow and ice will be felt overnight and into Friday morning, National Weather Service forecaster Daryl Williams said.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association said the 6A state football title game between Jenks and Union has been rescheduled from Thursday in Stillwater to Dec. 12 in Tulsa. Other games would be rescheduled for next week.
Holiday events during the next few days were also cancelled in several cities.
In Moore, officials canceled the Christmas in Old Town event featuring horse-drawn carriage rides and a tree-lighting ceremony, which was to take place Friday night. City spokesman Jayme Shelton said organizers feared putting residents in potentially unsafe situations.
The winter storm brought sleet and freezing to the West Texas region on Thursday, coating roads with a layer of thin ice and prompting many truckers to pull off the interstate.
The freezing precipitation was expected to transition to snow later Thursday. Temperatures in West Texas were expected to stay in the 20s Thursday and Friday.
Abilene and San Angelo were expected to start getting freezing precipitation by mid- to late afternoon, said Joel Dunn, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's bureau. San Angelo is forecast to get a tenth of an inch, while Abilene could get a quarter of an inch.
With residents of northwestern Wisconsin digging out from as much as 17 inches of snow, forecasters are warning that an incoming cold snap could cause temperatures in the area to plunge as low as 25 degrees below zero.
Temperatures across north-central Wisconsin were forecast to fall into the single digits above and below zero on Thursday night. They were expected to drop into the minus 20s over the next few days into the middle of next week.
Residents in Laramie and the Shirley Basin endured temperatures of 31 degrees below zero Wednesday night, and high temperatures across the state were forecast to remain in the single digits through the weekend.
Other frigid readings across Wyoming overnight included minus 24 in Rawlins, minus 22 in Casper and Pinedale and minus 19 in Cheyenne.
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