Ice storm pelts central U.S., upper Midwest

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Image: A car is buried in snow in a parking lot after a heavy winter storm in Incline Village, Nevada, U.S. January 11, 2017 REUTERS/Bob Strong

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By Timothy Mclaughlin

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A winter storm brought more ice and freezing rain to a large swath of the central United States on Sunday, creating dangerous driving conditions and power outages from northeast New Mexico to central Illinois during the long holiday weekend.

Ice storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in effect for parts of as many as 10 states in the central and Upper Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm was likely to have the most severe impact in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, where forecasters warned of widespread freezing rain throughout Sunday.

A quarter to a half inch of ice (0.6 cm to 1.2 cm) was forecast for most of Kansas, the Weather Service said. Accumulating ice and high winds would likely snap power lines and tree branches, it warned.

The storm led the National Football League to postpone the start of a playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Kansas City initially scheduled for around noon local time. The teams will now play at 7:20 p.m. on Sunday, when the worst of the bad weather was expected to have passed though the area.

Cars drive over Donner Pass on Interstate 80 during a winter storm near Truckee, California, U.S. January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Bob Strong

The Missouri Department of Transportation on Sunday morning urged motorists to stay off roads in the Kansas City area as crews worked on making local highways passable.

At least three people died in traffic accidents in the state due to icy conditions, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

The Kansas Highway Patrol could not immediately be reached for comment on fatal accidents due to weather conditions.

One person died on Saturday in Oklahoma when a truck crashed on an icy road, according to local media reports. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ice had downed trees and power lines, particularly in northwest Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric on its website reported just over 5,000 customers affected by power outages on Sunday morning.

The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives listed just around 7,100 member-consumers without power. The number of outages in Woodward County in northwest Oklahoma was expected to climb, said Sid Sperry, a spokesman for the cooperative.

A plow clears snow after a heavy winter storm in Tahoe City, California, U.S. January 11, 2017 REUTERS/Bob Strong/Files

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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