Winter storm cancels flights, thousands of people are without power,

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A patch of ice, sleet, and snow gripped much of the southern U.S. Thursday as thousands of people in Texas endured freezing temperatures without power, including many in the state capital, Austin, warming trend was forecast.

Hundreds more flights were again cancel in Texas, although not as many as in previous days. But another wave of freezing weather is on the horizon for the U.S., with an Arctic cold front expect to move from Canada into the northern Plains and upper Midwest by Friday and sweep into the Northeast. ”The Front is expect to bring snow and wind chills as low as minus 50 (minus 45 Celsius) to northern New England, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 416,000 customers in Texas were without power early Thursday, according to a report by PowerOutage, a website tracking tool.

The outages were most widespread in Austin, where frustration grew among more than 150,000 customers more than 24 hours after they lost power and heat. For many, it was the second time in three years that February’s deep freeze cause extended blackouts and uncertainty about when the lights would come back on.

Unlike the 2021 outages in Texas, where hundreds of people died after the state’s grid was brought to the brink of total failure due to a lack of generation, the outages in Austin this time were Largely the result of frozen equipment and trees falling on power lines. City officials warned that all power not be restored by Friday as ice continues to cause new outages, even as repairs have been ”completed elsewhere.

Dozens more flights were ”cancel Thursday at Dallas Love Field and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Winter weather watches and warnings extended from the west Texas border with Mexico through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana to western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. And at a briefing Thursday with the Federal Weather Service, New Englanders were warn that chills — the combined effect of wind and cold air on exposed skin — in the minus 50s “could be the coldest in decades.”

Strong winds and cold air will cause wind chills “rarely seen in northern and eastern Maine,” according to an advisory from the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine.

Jay Broccolo, director of meteorological operations at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, which for decades held the world record for the fastest wind gust, said Thursday that wind speeds could reach up to 100 mph.

“We take safety on the higher peaks seriously, and the forecast for this weekend looks pretty rough, even by our standards,” Broccolo said.

At least nine people have died since Monday due to treacherous road conditions, including seven in Texas and one each, in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Miller reported from Oklahoma City. Associated Press Airlines writer Dave Koenig in Dallas and writers Kathy McCormack in Concord, N.H., and Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed to this report. Additional AP weather coverage: