NORMAN, Oklahoma — A band of winter precipitation rolled into the Southern Plains and the Ozarks on Wednesday as part of a late-season storm that sent temperatures plummeting and led school officials in both Arkansas and Oklahoma to cancel Thursday classes.
Numerous schools had canceled Wednesday classes ahead of the storm that brought freezing rain, sleet and snow across portions of Oklahoma and northern Arkansas. Officials at Arkansas State University canceled classes at 1 p.m., and state high school basketball tournaments that were to begin Wednesday night were postponed until at least Thursday.
Entergy Arkansas said it has requested 2,000 additional workers to be in place around the state in preparation for possible power outages.
"While each storm is different, what we do know is the combination of ice, wind and wet snow increases the risk of power outages," Brady Aldy, vice president of customer service for Entergy Arkansas, said in a news release.
Temperatures plummeted as the cold front crossed the states. In Monticello, Arkansas, the temperature fell from 71 degrees to 52 degrees between 11 a.m. and noon, and temperatures across the state fell into the mid-20s by Wednesday afternoon.
Temperatures were expected to fall into the teens and 20s Wednesday night before crawling back into the upper 20s and 30s on Thursday.
Freezing rain, sleet and snow were also reported in Oklahoma, where Oklahoma State University canceled Wednesday classes, as did numerous public schools across the state.
Freezing rain and snow also were falling in several areas of Missouri, with southern parts of the state taking the worst of it. Several school districts called off classes as freezing rain fell in the Springfield area, while snow was falling in St. Louis and in southeast Missouri.
Forecasters were calling for up to 8 inches of snow in some southern Missouri counties, though temperatures were expected to be in the 50s by the weekend.
In Arkansas, the National Weather Service predicted 4 to 6 inches of snow on a line from Jasper to Blytheville, 2 to 4 inches in a band from Fayetteville to Little Rock to West Memphis, and 1 to 2 inches from Mena and Texarkana eastward to the Mississippi River.
In Oklahoma, the forecast was for 0.1 to 0.2 of an inch of freezing rain across mainly the southern half of the state, and 1 to 3 inches of a mixture of snow and sleet across much of the state's midsection and into northern Oklahoma.