White Christmas visits northern ArkLaTex - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

White Christmas visits northern ArkLaTex

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At least someone is excited to see the snow. Sarah Wiltshire of Redlick jumps for joy. At least someone is excited to see the snow. Sarah Wiltshire of Redlick jumps for joy.
Winter storm warnings in pink; winter storm advisories in white Winter storm warnings in pink; winter storm advisories in white
Snow on the ground in Nash, TX. Photo courtesy Lisa Harris. Snow on the ground in Nash, TX. Photo courtesy Lisa Harris.
Photo taken west of Texarkana and sent in by Darlene Durham Photo taken west of Texarkana and sent in by Darlene Durham

Some people in the ArkLaTex really did have a white Christmas.

Snow fell and accumulated in southern Arkansas and in parts of northeast Texas. In Texarkana, snow fell along Interstate 30 for much of the day and is expected to continue falling again during the night.

KSLA Stormtracker 12 meteorologist Kevin Roth says the snow will keep creeping south of Texarkana during the night toward Shreveport-Bossier City, where winter storm advisories will be in effect during the night.

Areas with winter storm warnings, which have been canceled, saw up to 3 inches of snow. Areas with winter storm advisories will see about 1 to 2 inches. There will be more snow to come during the night.

The main concern in the Shreveport-Bossier City area pertains to traffic, which will be affected as the rain and sleet that falls during the night and turns into slush on the roads might freeze as temperatures fall, Roth says.

At 6 p.m., temperatures in Broken Bow had fallen to 32 degrees, 35 degrees in Blanchard.

"Remember, it doesn't have to be freezing at the surface to get snow. It just has to be freezing high up in the atmosphere, where that snow forms," Roth says. 

Earlier on Christmas Day most people in the ArkLaTex had to deal with a few flooded streets as thunderstorms dropped several inches of rain.

Christmas Day thunderstorms moved out of the ArkLaTex by late afternoon, and what rain was left to the north of I-30 turned to snow for a rarely seen white Christmas.

Power outages continue as a problem across the ArkLaTex, as SWEPCO crews worked throughout the day. However, the utility says customers may see more outages through the evening into tonight with the arrival of snow and cold winds.

At 6 p.m., SWEPCO's Power Outage Map was down from 10,100 outages around 1:00 p.m. to just about 5,000 throughout its area. In the Ark-La-Tex, Red River Parish had the most with 1,212 reported outages. Caddo had 348, Vernon had 511 and Sabine 164 outages.

In Texas, there were 1,813 reported outages in Rusk County, 1,580 in Titus, 433 in Bowie. Sevier County, Arkansas had 513 reported outages.

SWEPCO says their biggest hindrance they face is with the wind. They can't make any repairs if the wind is over 30 miles per hour, but they're making repairs as weather allows.

There were no widespread damage reports from the early morning Christmas storms. The Shreveport Fire Department told us they didn't go on any damage-related calls, although in east Shreveport, lightning took a chunk out of a tree in the 6100 block of Verona Lane. During the height of the storm, street flooding was seen in various parts of Shreveport and Bossier City.

In the Houston area, the same storm system was to blame for the death of a pickup truck driver. The Harris County Sheriff's Office said the storm toppled a tree onto the truck, killing the driver.

Just outside of the Ark-La-Tex to the northwest, the weather went from wet and stormy to cold, windy and icy.

Black ice on Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City caught drivers there off-guard. Around 4:30 a.m., the interstate was shut down because of a  21-car pileup that took over three hours to clear up. There were 10 separate accidents involving 18 cars and three 18-wheelers. Drivers were taken to a nearby hotel as crews cleaned everything up. Some people were taken to the hospital, but no one was seriously injured.

At least two tornadoes were reported in Texas, though only one building was damaged, according to the National Weather Service. More than 180 flights nationwide were canceled by midday, according to the flight tracker FlightAware.com. More than half were canceled by American Airlines and its regional affiliate, American Eagle.

American is headquartered and has its biggest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Meanwhile, a blizzard watch was posted for parts of Indiana and western Kentucky for storms expected to unfold Tuesday amid predictions of up to 4 to 7 inches of snow in coming hours. Much of Oklahoma and Arkansas braced under a winter storm warning of an early mix of rain and sleet forecast to eventually turn to snow.

Some mountainous areas of Arkansas' Ozark Mountains could get up to 10 inches of snow, which would make travel "very hazardous or impossible" in the northern tier of the state from near whiteout conditions, the National Weather Service said.

The holiday may conjure visions of snow and ice, but twisters this time of year are not unheard of. Ten storm systems in the last 50 years have spawned at least one Christmastime tornado with winds of 113 mph or more in the South, said Chris Vaccaro, a National Weather Service spokesman in Washington, via email.

The most lethal were the storms of Dec. 24-26, 1982, when 29 tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi killed three people and injured 32; and those of Dec. 24-25, 1964, when two people were killed and about 30 people injured by 14 tornadoes in seven states.

AP story written by Janet McConnaughey. AP Business Writer Daniel Wagner in Washington and Associated Press Writer Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press/KSLA-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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