Icy winter storm causing problems throughout southern Midwest - KCTV5

Icy winter storm causing problems throughout southern Midwest

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Transportation officials say freezing drizzle is partially covering roads in southeast Kansas, and they're asking drivers to stay off the roads. (KCMetroKDOT via Twitter) Transportation officials say freezing drizzle is partially covering roads in southeast Kansas, and they're asking drivers to stay off the roads. (KCMetroKDOT via Twitter)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -

An ice storm is moving across the nation's midsection.

The winter storm that brought heavy snow and rainfall to northern California is descending upon the southern Plains, packing crippling ice accumulations and heavy rain that could cause widespread power outages and flooding.

The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning for northwestern Oklahoma starting Friday morning, and a Winter Storm Watch for much of the rest of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri along with parts of Illinois and Texas. In Kansas, up to 1 inch of ice was expected to fall in "multiple rounds" of freezing rain through Monday. In Missouri, forecasters were calling for up to three-quarters of an inch of freezing rain. Storms are also expected Saturday and Sunday.

Transportation officials say freezing drizzle is partially covering roads in southeast Kansas, and are asking drivers to stay off the roads.

The Kansas Department of Emergency Management has activated its emergency operations center to monitor the winter storm.

Kansas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kim Qualls said the weather is expected to stick around through Sunday. She says travel is highly discouraged and asked residents to "stay warm, stay home, stay safe."

Oklahoma City's largest airport says some flights are being canceled due to icy conditions but the airport remains open as freezing rain moves across much of the Southern Plains.

Will Rogers World Airport spokesman Josh Ryan says Southwest Airlines canceled five flights on Friday but that other airlines are operating a normal schedule.

He says temperatures on taxiways and runways have stayed above freezing.

Oklahoma highway officials are warning motorists that a winter storm moving into the Southern Plains is creating slick spots on roads and bridges.

Freezing rain was reported before sun-up on Friday in a band from southwestern Oklahoma into southern parts of Kansas and Missouri. Forecasters warn that the areas could see significant accumulations of ice before the storm moves out during the holiday weekend.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has already declared a state of emergency that covers each of the state's 77 counties. The declaration activates the state's emergency response plan. She also relaxed size and weight restrictions for state roadways to accommodate relief efforts.

The approaching ice storm is also causing trouble for St. Louis air passengers.

Lambert Airport reported that dozens of incoming and outbound flights were canceled Friday as freezing rain made its way to the St. Louis area.

Hundreds of schools are closed across the state, including several college campuses. Gov. Eric Greitens has declared a state of emergency.

Freezing rain was already falling Friday morning in much of the southern parts of the state, with portions of Interstate 44 becoming slick.

Forecasters are predicting a half-inch of ice or more over parts of Missouri through the weekend. Would-be travelers are being warned to stay home if possible.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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