Thor Roars Through Much of Nation

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Although the snow and ice from Winter Storm Thor has since melted, the large amount of precipitation afforded local kids the perfect chance to build snowmen, or in the case of Jacob Oliver of Piggott, a snow fort. The young builder is pictured working on his frozen creation in his front yard Friday afternoon.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Winter Storm Thor roared across the nation last week, leaving much of the U.S. under a coat of freezing rain, sleet and snow and affecting millions of residents. From the mudslides along the Pacific Coast Highway in California, as the strong storm system blew ashore over a week ago, to the icy conditions of his past weekend in the Northeast, few escaped the brunt.

Currently, the storm is being blamed for over a dozen deaths, most traffic related. Four of those killed in accidents were in the state of Tennessee, three were killed in Wyoming while other deaths were reported in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana and Michigan.

Massive pileups were also reported, with hundreds of motorists stranded along highways and interstates. One of the worst hit areas was along I-65, in the area of Elizabethtown, Ky., where a stretch of highway remained shut down and motorists stranded for over 15 hours. Meanwhile, a 15 car pileup occurred on I-459 in Alabama as the deep south was also unable to escape the ice and snow.

The storm broke the single day snowfall record in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with 2.5 inches, and in Lexington, Ky., a new record was set for a single storm with 17.1 inches of ice and snow.

Locally, Thor arrived Wednesday afternoon in the form of freezing rain which quickly turned to sleet. This kept accumulation on power lines and limbs to a minimum, which equated to only a few power outages. According to a spokesman for Entergy Arkansas, they had upward of 5,000 customers without power at the worst of the storm, although many of those were in the Marion vicinity.

By late Wednesday evening the sleet had turned to snow, and by Thursday morning between eight and 11 inches had accumulated.

The icy conditions were compounded by falling temperatures on Thursday, as the mercury plunged into single digits by early Friday morning. But, by the weekend warmer weather and rainfall was in the forecast and the snowpack began to melt.

This week much warmer weather is on tap, and additional rain, which combined with runoff from the melting snow and ice could cause flooding in low-lying areas. The push of warmer air over the frozen ground has also caused dense fog to form during the morning hours.

But, temperatures are forecast to remain at, or above, normal for this time of year throughout the coming week--a welcome change from the chilling effects of Winter Storm Thor and his predecessors.

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