Snowfall blankets Texas, Oklahoma; Deep South to see storms

Winter_Weather_Missouri_97606 In this photo released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 70 on the bridge that spans the Missouri River near Rocheport, Mo., is shown during a winter storm, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Missouri State Highway Patrol via AP)
Winter_Storm_Oklahoma_11985 A winter storm brings snow to the Tulsa, Okla. area on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Snowfall totaling up to 5 inches is expected to fall throughout the Tulsa region. (John Clanton/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
A winter storm brought snow to the Tulsa, Okla. area on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Snowfall totaling up to 5 inches is expected to fall throughout the Tulsa region. (John Clanton/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
A pedestrian and a sand truck cross Boston Ave. at Sixth street in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. A winter storm blanketed the region in snow with forecasters expecting a total of up to 5 inches to fall throughout the Tulsa region. (John Clanton/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
A truck plows snow, ice and slush from 11th Street at Harvard Ave. in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
Traffic makes it way on the Broken Arrow Expressway headed West in the snow in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)
Winter_Storm_Oklahoma_39508 Alice Newhouse, 8, sleds down the snow covered hill next to Will Rogers High School in Tulsa on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 after school was cancelled Wednesday due to a winter storm. . (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
The downtown Tulsa skyline is barely visible with the snow falling in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)
Chris Clendenin and Nancy Curry sled down the snow covered hill next to Will Rogers High School in Tulsa on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Tom Gilbert/Tulsa World/Tulsa World via AP)
WINTER_WEATHER_OKLAHOMA_17157 Tracks are pictured in the snow on the trails at Mitch Park following a winter storm in Edmond, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP)
Winter_Weather_Oklahoma_83343 Denise Hendricks walks up a snow covered hill while sledding at Hafer Park following a winter storm in Edmond, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP)
Super_Bowl_Parade_67619 People gather at the Liberty Memorial as they wait for a parade through downtown Kansas City, Mo. to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs victory in NFL's Super Bowl 54 Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Super_Bowl_Parade_21782 People gather at the Liberty Memorial as they wait for a parade through downtown Kansas City, Mo. to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs victory in NFL's Super Bowl 54 Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Winter_Storm-Southern_Plains_86542 Commuters travel in snow and a wintry mix on I-244 Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 in Tulsa, Okla. A powerful winter storm dropped snow throughout parts of Texas and Oklahoma early Wednesday. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
Winter_Storm-Southern_Plains_91125 Snow covers the road in south Tulsa, Oka., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. A powerful winter storm dropped snow throughout parts of Texas and Oklahoma early Wednesday. (John Clanton/Tulsa World via AP)
Texas_Winter_Weather_20327 Snow can be seen on palm trees while mail carrier Pablo Salinas delivers letters on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in El Paso, Texas. Salinas said his commute took an extra hour due to road closures following four inches of snow falling overnight. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Texas_Winter_Weather_14135 Snow obscures writing on the side of the mountains above Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, as seen from El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. A few inches of snow led to slow starts at schools in El Paso and caused hour-long delays on local roads. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Texas_Winter_Weather_83781 Snow covers rooftops on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border as seen on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, from El Paso, Texas. A few inches of snow led to slow starts at schools in El Paso and caused hour-long delays on local roads. The fence marking the border can be seen in the upper half of the photo. The red "X"-shaped building is in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
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EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A powerful winter storm in the central United States dropped snow as far south as El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday while areas of the Deep South had severe weather through the night, including tornadoes and torrential rains.

Winter storm warnings or advisories were in effect from northeastern Oklahoma to the Great North Woods of Maine, the National Weather Service said. Meanwhile, the Storm Prediction Center forecast storms with the potential of generating hail, 60 mph (95 kph) winds and twisters from Mississippi through Alabama and parts of Tennessee. after dark.

Mail carrier Pablo Salinas of San Elizario said the weather and traffic accidents nearly doubled his drive to work from south of El Paso on Wednesday.

“There were four accidents coming in. They closed I-10. I was close to an hour late,” Salinas said.

By noon, Salinas said about 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow had melted, with only a bit of snow dusting the palm trees lining the street and the red rock hills above.

El Paso International Airport recorded 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow Wednesday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist David Hefner, who said the city averages 6.9 inches (17.5 centimeters) of snow per season.

Hefner said the snow tends to melt quickly.

“We can get 4-5 inches overnight and it’s generally gone by the next afternoon,” Hefner said.

The weather service forecast sunny skies and a high of about 50 degrees (10 Celsius) for El Paso on Thursday.

However, freezing temperatures were expected to preserve Wednesday’s snow accumulations from the Red River Valley of Texas through Oklahoma, prompting school systems to remain closed Thursday in those areas.

The winter storm caused a multi-vehicle pileup Wednesday on an Interstate 70 bridge in central Missouri but mostly missed a parade to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win.

The National Weather Service initially predicted 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 centimeters) of snowfall along the parade route. But National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Barham said the storm shifted slightly, sparing fans from all but a few flurries.

Snowfall was heavier to the east, where several tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles collided around noon on a bridge that spans the Missouri River near Rocheport, shutting down westbound traffic on the interstate. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott White said at least one person was taken from the scene in an ambulance.

The Missouri Department of Transportation warned drivers against traveling in the storm amid worsening road conditions.

As the storm hit, University of Missouri officials announced that no classes would be held after 1 p.m. and Jefferson City closed its city offices at 10 a.m.

In Oklahoma, the state House and Senate both closed due to snowy weather, and the annual anti-abortion Rose Day rally that typically draws hundreds to the state Capitol was postponed.

Highway Patrol troopers worked more than two dozen accidents in the Oklahoma City area early Wednesday, including some with injuries, after several inches of snow fell overnight, said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Sarah Stewart.

“The biggest impact has been snarled traffic from jack-knifed semis,” Stewart said.

In Arkansas, forecasters said up to a quarter-inch of ice and 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 centimeters) of snow were possible in the northwest part of the state. The remainder of the state was expected to get heavy rain on Wednesday.

Snow also was expected to extend into Illinois, Michigan and other parts of the Midwest on Wednesday and Thursday before reaching the Northeast by Friday, the weather service said.

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Associated Press reporters Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas; Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Missouri; Terry Wallace in Dallas and Sean Murphy and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City contributed to this report

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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