A huge and complicated winter weather system covered large parts of the Southwest on Friday, threatening to coat roads with ice almost as deep as that on a hockey rink. By the weekend, it's expected to drop more than a foot of snow all the way from Kansas City to Maine.
Ice storm warnings were issued through Saturday morning for a band stretching from west Texas to central Oklahoma, with the National Weather Service saying more than a half-inch of solid ice could accumulate on roads and power lines — NHL ice is three-quarters of an inch. By midafternoon Friday, more than 300 feet of power lines had been downed by ice in Gaines County, Texas, southwest of Lubbock, NBC station KCBD reported. More than 13,000 customers were without power late Friday in Ector County, including Midland, Oncor Electric Delivery Co. said.
Winter storm warnings were in effect over a much larger area spanning most of New Mexico and the western half of Texas north to the Oklahoma panhandle. The National Weather Service warned that heavy snow could sock much of the region, including Albuquerque, making roads all but impassable.
"There will be a blanket of snow on the ground in the morning when you wake up, and yes, it will be treacherous," said John Harris, a meteorologist for NBC station KAMR of Amarillo.
But "it's not just in Texas and Oklahoma," said Bonnie Schneider, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. It's "also in the Midwest and the Northeast for this weekend."
By Saturday afternoon, the system will be over the Central Plains through the Upper Midwest, dropping freezing rain and as much as a half-foot of snow from the lower Great Lakes to upstate New York and northern New England. Some parts of Maine could get more than a foot of new snow, forecasters said.