Winter's Wrath Felt On The Plains

Winter weather returned with a vengeance to parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas Tuesday.

Roads, bridges and overpasses were slick and hazardous. The treacherous mix of sleet and freezing rain made ghost towns of some Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara. Travel became risky business, when traffic is moving at all.

At least ten people are dead in Texas after the storm left a glaze of ice and cold temperatures across the state's northern and central regions. At least seven of the victims died in traffic-related accidents.

"It's real slippery," said CBS station KRLD traffic reporter Max Miller. "If you don't have to go anywhere, don't. ... You can't see any lanes, for one thing. Traffic is moving about half-speed, except for the occasional guy who comes by at about 60."

American Airlines canceled about half of its departures from Dallas-Fort Worth for Tuesday and all of them before 8 a.m., airport spokesman Ken Capps said. Delta had canceled 27 departures this morning, and other flight cancellations and delays are expected, Capps said. A train that carries passengers from one terminal to another was shut down as a precaution, but extra buses were put into service.

Fort Worth-based American also said that passengers traveling to or from Texas, Oklahoma or Arkansas through Tuesday night could reschedule flights without having to pay the usual $100 fee. They can choose flights through Wednesday without paying the fee, spokesman Todd Burke said.

Sinjay Chopra spent the night at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, unable to get home to El Paso.

"Planes got canceled, including ours, and then we tried looking for a hotel, and of course we didn't find anyone open and we spent the night here in the lobby," he told KRLD.

Though the storm had been predicted since last week, highway sanding crews couldn't keep ahead of it. Scores of school districts, government offices and businesses were closed Tuesday.

More sleet and freezing rain was in the forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said.

"Travel is strongly discouraged. If you leave the safety of being indoors, you are putting your life at risk," the National Weather Service said Monday night in a weather statement for North Texas.

Tractor-trailer rigs jackknifed on interstate highways and numerous motorists spun into ditches in Arkansas as the snow fell.

Temperatures were expected to remain below or near freezing across the state in advance of freezing rain and other wintry precipitation that threatened to fall Wednesday morning.

Snowy conditions hit the southeastern part of Oklahoma overnight causing school and road closures Tuesday.

A storm system moving eastward produced up to 8 inches of snow in southeastern Oklahoma, which was spared from Sunday night's storm that caused injuries and accidents across the state.

Arctic cold is the problem in Nebraska. It was 28 below zero in Alliance, where a fire official says the cold "comes right through your coat."

In Williston, North Dakota, the temperature Monday plunged to minus 35.

Some motorists in the Dallas area reported their trip home from work Monday on the ice-packed roads took three to four times longer than normal. The landscape was totally white with sleet packed in on the road. Traffic moved at about 10 mph even on the major highways.

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit system announced it would offer free fares Tuesday on all buses, rails and Trinity Railway Express. DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said extra trains would run on Tuesday.

Counties to the southeast of Dallas were under an ice storm warning. Most major school districts and universities in North Texas canceled classes for Tuesday.

The storm shut down virtually all schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for Tuesday. Some students perhaps rejoiced at the news, since Tuesday was the day they were to take the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) examinations across Texas.