- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 26, 2003

DALLAS, Feb. 26 (UPI) — The snow, sleet and freezing rain of a late-winter storm closed schools and snarled travel from Texas to Tennessee on Wednesday.

Hundreds of semi-trailer trucks were stalled on slick highways in the North Texas area. Some truck drivers and motorists were trapped for hours.

The troublesome storm was moving in a northeasterly direction to the mid-Atlantic region and forecasters said it would be Thursday before southern states see a real meltdown.

Air travel in Texas and surrounding states was snarled for a second day because of canceled flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the main hub for American Airlines.

John Hotard, an American spokesman, said only a "handful" of departures left early Wednesday and the schedule would be reducted by 30 to 50 percent through mid-afternoon.

Nearly three inches of snow, sleet and ice hit the region Monday night and continued into Tuesday and early Wednesday in some areas with freezing rain. State troopers were telling residents to stay home and avoid the slick roads.

Jack-knifed semi-trailer trucks blocked a bridge over Lake Ray Hubbard east of Dallas along Interstate 30 for hours early Wednesday.

"Conditions are still very hazaroudous," said State Trooper Robert White. "If anything it's worst than it was Tuesday especially on the less traveled roads because they have iced over again."

Interstate 35 between Dallas and Austin was closed by the Texas Department of Transportation because of slick and hazarouds driving conditions.

More than 300 miles to the south Border Patrol agents found the bodies of three illegal immigrants in the backcountry near the checkpoint at Falfurrias.

Bobby Martinez, a patrol spokesman, said the three men were apparently victims of hypothermia. They were lightly dressed for the temperatures that fell into the low 40s and 30s near the border.

"They were apparently not expecting cold weather," he said.

Illegal immigrants entering the United States from Mexico often walk through the backcountry to avoid detection. They are sometimes of the victims of intense summer heat but rarely the cold of winter.

Several weather-related traffic deaths have also been reported across the region.

Freezing rain created hazardous driving in Tennessee on Wednesday where schools were closed in Memphis and Shelby County. Up to 2 inches of ice was expected on roads, trees and power lines.





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