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Major winter storm brings snow, ice, cold temps to Plains, South

By Chaffin Mitchell & Courtney Travis, Accuweather.com
Major winter storm brings snow, ice, cold temps to Plains, South
A woman walks her dog past a nearly frozen fountain in Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, Mo., on Sunday. Snow and cold temperatures will be seen in the central states of the South on Monday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 15 -- The most unrelenting winter weather pattern in decades has unleashed brutally unseasonable cold and record snowfall deep into Texas, leaving millions of customers without power.

Heavily populated cities were in the throes of punishing cold on Monday morning. In Dallas, the thermometer read 7 degrees Fahrenheit and Oklahoma City to the north saw conditions were even more brutal, with the mercury at -7.

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Across the state of Texas, more than 2.6 million customers were without power amid the sub-freezing temps and wintry precipitation.

Multiple areas in Texas have broken daily snowfall records, including Abilene and San Angelo, where more than 10 inches fell.

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In Abilene, more than 14 inches on Sunday broke a record that stood for decades. The city recorded a low of 5 degrees for the day, matching a record low.

Several inches of snow are expected to accumulate in northern Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas -- and in some places more than half a foot of new snow could fall by the end of Wednesday.

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With brutal cold lingering across much of the Plains until the middle of the week, snow from the last storm may still be on the ground in some places. This means the fresh snow will be falling on what could be an icy layer of partially melted snow.

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The bitter cold has triggered a "statewide power generation shortfall emergency" in Texas, according to a statement from CenterPoint Energy.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas began initiating power outages early Monday to conserve electricity and urged residents to close blinds, unplug appliances and halt doing laundry to minimize energy use.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner faced backlash for the outages, as many took to Twitter to express frustration at the blackouts and disappointment in the city's lack of preparation.

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While snow was spreading across the country, ice began to coat the roads in Nashville, where there was an accident involving multiple vehicles on Interstate 24 on Saturday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the storm will be "unprecedented in Texas history." He issued a state of emergency ahead of the storm and said a federal emergency declaration was approved by the White House.

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"Every part of the state will face freezing conditions over the coming days, and I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather that is coming," Abbott said.

The exact track the storm takes Wednesday night through Thursday, relative to the Appalachian Mountains, will determine exactly where the heaviest snow will accumulate and how widespread ice may be on the East Coast.

Snow may extend farther northwest through the Great Lakes. Additionally, in cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York, precipitation may begin late Wednesday night or early Thursday as snow and ice, but change over to rain before the storm winds down.

A storm track farther east and along the mid-Atlantic coast could bring a longer period of snow and ice to the I-95 corridor of the Northeast.

Early Monday, almost 300,000 customers were still without power in Oregon, which is where the winter weather pattern originated days ago.

Salem, Ore., is in a state of emergency that will remain in effect for a week.

The southernmost parts of Wyoming also received snow in the double digits, even reaching 50 inches at Sugar Loaf Campground.

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