At least five people were killed Thursday in a massive crash involving 75 to 100 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate, police said, as a winter storm dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on a large section of the United States.
The number of injured was still unknown as police were still addressing the accident on Interstate 35 near downtown Fort Worth, police said. Police set up a reunification centre for family members at a community centre following the “mass causality” event.
I-35 is among several interstate highways that crisscross the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex, home to over 7,500,000 people.
The Fort Worth Police Department said in a tweet that anyone involved in a minor accident with no injuries should “exchange information and continue on safely. You can then notify your insurance when you arrive at your destination.”
The view from the sky shows just how devastating and long this path of destruction is in #FortWorth.
— Chris Sadeghi (@chrissadeghi) February 11, 2021
There were several other crashes in the area due to the icy storm, local media reported.
ABC News affiliate WFAA said at least eight people total had died throughout the metroplex, including two fatal crashes in Dallas and another in Arlington.
Farther south, in Austin, more than two dozen vehicles were involved in a pileup on an icy road, and one person was injured, emergency officials said.
Elsewhere, ice storm warnings were in effect from Arkansas to Kentucky, while another winter storm was predicted to bring snow to Mid-Atlantic states, the National Weather Service said.
More than 125,000 homes and businesses were without electricity Thursday morning, largely in Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the website PowerOutage.US, which tracks utility reports.
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) February 11, 2021
Meanwhile, officials in central Kentucky were urging people to stay home due to icy conditions.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said state offices would be closed due to the weather. He declared a state of emergency, which he said would free up funding and help agencies coordinate as they respond to reports of slick roads and downed power lines.
Crews were responding to numerous calls of downed icy tree limbs and power lines, Lexington police said in a tweet that urged people not to travel “unless absolutely necessary”.
In Dallas-Forth Worth, local station Fox 4 News forecasts temperatures will remain at or below freezing through next Wednesday.