updated 1/13/2007 12:44:02 AM ET 2007-01-13T05:44:02

Freezing rain fell in the nation’s midsection Friday, and temperatures plunged from Minnesota to Las Vegas as a storm rolled in that could leave several states coated in ice.

At least four deaths have been blamed on the storm, some schools closed early Friday, and dozens of flights were delayed.

“It could definitely be a paralyzing storm. This is going to be a long-term event,” said Max Blood, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Tulsa, where at least two airlines, Southwest and Atlantic Southeast, canceled all afternoon flights.

In Missouri, dozens of flights were canceled at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. In Texas, about 60 flights were canceled at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Several inches of ice was expected in parts of Kansas by the end of the weekend.

Icy roads cause deadly accidents
A 16-year-old boy riding to school Friday was killed in the Kansas City, Mo., suburb of Lee’s Summit when the pickup truck he was in slid on ice and overturned, police said.

Later Friday morning, an 81-year-old man died after his sports utility vehicle slid off a highway in the suburb of Sugar Creek and overturned, police said. A 19-year-old woman was killed when she lost control of her car on an icy stretch of highway in Henry County and was struck in the passenger side by an oncoming pickup, police said.

In Oklahoma City, a lumber truck flipped on an icy Interstate 44 exit ramp Friday, killing the driver, the state highway patrol said.

Utility crews were bracing for another round of bad weather as they working to restore power to irrigation systems, stock wells and oil wells, which sustained significant damage during back-to-back blizzards a few weeks ago. In the Oklahoma Panhandle, power was restored late Thursday to the final 15 homes hit previously, Tri-County Electric Cooperative reported.

Anti-icing operations
Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews and city crews were in the field Friday working to prevent icing on bridges and overpasses, which are typically the first portions of roadway to freeze over.

In Tulsa, 50 spreaders loaded with salt and sand were prepared to hit the streets by late Friday.

“The way it looks, we’ll be running all weekend, maybe longer,” said Dan Crossland, the city’s street maintenance supervisor.

Forecasters warned for freezing temperatures in Nevada, but were no longer expecting up to 2 inches of snow in the southern part of the state.

In Minnesota, the temperature dropped to 24 below zero around dawn Friday in Hallock, in the state’s northwestern corner, the National Weather Service said. Winds up to 25 mph made it feel closer to 40 below zero in much of western Minnesota.

The National Weather Service on Friday night issued an ice storm warning for central Illinois night that stays in effect through Monday morning. Freezing rain could layer the region with up to half an inch of ice, forecasters said, with Springfield and the area southwest of the city getting hit the hardest.

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