Schools closed and thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity today as a storm spread a coating of ice and snow on roads and power lines from the southern Plains to the mid-Atlantic states. At least seven deaths had been blamed on the weather. Highway department crews were out in force spreading salt and sand on the accumulating ice.
"The way it's shaping up, it looks like it's going to be a major ice storm," said a meteorologist in Arkansas, where ice had built up as much as an inch thick in one town. Some 5,800 customers were blacked out as ice brought down power lines, a power company said. The National Weather Service posted storm warnings from Texas and Oklahoma through the Mississippi and Ohio valleys to New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.