Ice storm disrupts airline operations, prompts disaster declaration across Texas counties

A year after the February deep freeze, a multifaceted winter storm that trekked across the middle of the nation tested the mettle of the state’s power operations and caused icy mayhem across other hard-hit states.

Ice plagued a large swath of the United States Thursday evening as the multifaced storm continued its trek, contributing to power outages and life-threatening travel conditions across the nation.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 17 counties Thursday evening, saying, “This ice storm poses an imminent threat of severe property damage, injury, or loss of life,” as temperatures plunged into the low 20s across a large portion of the state and various forms of frozen precipitation accumulated.

Snow falls on a ground crew working outside a parked plane at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. A major winter storm with millions of Americans in its path is spreading rain, freezing rain and heavy snow further across the country. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Texas was one of the numerous states impacted by an expansive winter storm that disrupted air travel across the country and led to mayhem on the roads, resulting in at least one fatality, according to officials.

Denton County, where AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell had previously reported on the storm, was listed as one of the counties included in the disaster declaration on Thursday.

“Everything is turning into an icy glaze,” Wadell had said in a report for the AccuWeather TV network earlier while holding a small tree branch encased in ice. The tree it had come from was no different. “Especially when the wind blows, you can hear that crunch a little bit. We know this is just getting started.”

The storm slowed air travel at airports in Texas, Illinois, Colorado and Ohio, with a total of over 5,200 flights in the U.S. canceled on Thursday, according to FlightAware.