Snowstorm sweeps across Southeast




-- A winter storm spread snow across the Southeast and the Tennessee Valley for the second time in two weeks early Thursday.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in place across 10 states, from Louisiana to the Virginias, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency also warned that snow accumulation combined with freezing temperatures could lead to hazardous driving conditions. In addition to snow, the system was also dropping sleet and rain.

"Behind the cold front over the southeast ... temperatures were rapidly falling below freezing," the Weather Service said.

A hard freeze warning extends to the U.S. border with Mexico, also skirting sections of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Wind chills across the northern and central Plains were well below freezing early Thursday.

The weather system dumped significant levels of snow and ice on Missouri and Oklahoma, along with parts of Kentucky, Arkansas and the panhandle of Texas on Wednesday.

In Arkansas, youngsters got a chance to work on their sledding skills, because schools were closed in advance of the approaching system. The snow fell for nine hours in Hot Springs, according to CNN affiliate KATV. Some sections of the state got up to two feet of snow, the Weather Service said.

In parts of Kansas and Kentucky, road crews hustled to clear snow from interstates and highways. Snow fell furiously; wind pushed it sideways and at times the sky took on the look of a whiteout. This forced travelers to slow their pace to a crawl.

Dangerous conditions near Newton, Kentucky, prevented vehicles from getting traction on hills and sent some sliding off roads and into gullies and ravines.

Snow closed schools in parts of Missouri as well. About 2 inches of snow fell in Kansas City, Missouri, but it was enough to cause several accidents and cover roads in the southeast part of the state.

Parts of Oklahoma received up to 12 inches of snow, according to the state Department of Emergency Management. The National Weather had up to two feet of snow in remote areas.

Wind chills were 10 to 30 degrees below zero in some areas, and authorities urged people to stay off the roads. Only so many travelers were able to heed that warning, and traffic inched slowly along icy interstates Wednesday. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol worked in conjunction with the National Guard to rescue stranded motorists using heavy Humvees, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

At least two people were killed near Miami, Oklahoma, which is close to Oklahoma City. A truck plunged 80 feet off a bridge along Interstate 44. Police told KOCO that the driver lost control on an icy bridge, flipped over the railing and landed upright on the riverbed below. At least five survivors were able to climb out of the sun roof and wait for rescue on top of the vehicle.

Earlier, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said 80 people in Oklahoma had been injured as a result of the storm. That total included 63 falls, one carbon monoxide poisoning, 14 injuries in traffic accidents and two "cut/pierce injuries."

Dallas-area volunteers for Meals on Wheels, an aid organization that delivers prepared food to housebound people, worked nonstop to get extra meals ready before snow and icy conditions closed roads, according to CNN affiliate KTVT. The weather system that closed Dallas last week left the group unable to reach its customers for four days, said Tom Hauser of the Collin County Committee on Aging, which runs the Meals on Wheels program. "We've already delivered over 2,500 meals in the last two days that are nutritious meals."

The latest storm comes barely a week after another record-setting weather system pummeled the Plains and Midwest.

Last week's historic storm left its mark on at least 30 states, dumping about 2 feet of snow on the Chicago area and prompting Oklahoma's governor to declare a state of emergency.

Another winter system at the end of the week left central and southern Texas a mess. Hundreds of flights were canceled as the winter weather threatened the plans of Super Bowl enthusiasts headed for the game last Sunday in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.