KANSAS CITY — Travel warnings went up across Kansas Thursday as a powerful winter storm rolled east.
Light rain changed to a mix of freezing rain and sleet just west of Kansas City. It was expected to turn to snow by Thursday night.
The National Weather Service advised people not to take to the highway, saying that travel will be treacherous through Friday afternoon.
The icy conditions lready affected driving.
Rescue crews pulled a woman from her car and took her to a hospital with life-threatening injuries this afternoon after her vehicle struck a road sign at I-435 and State Avenue in Kansas City, Kan.
Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department spokesman Craig Duke warned drivers to be wary of icy overpasses and exit ramps. He said the fire department is answering an increasing number of calls as the day passes.
“It’s pretty bad,” Duke said. “We’re running calls left, right and center.”
Late Thursday afternoon, the weather service issue a blizzard warning for northeast Kansas, including Topeka, Lawrence and Ottawa.
The Kansas highway department reported snowy roads on U.S. 56 west of Gardner and on I-35 between Olathe and Emporia.
Snow also covered parts of I-70 between Kansas City and Topeka.
The weather was blamed for six highway deaths since Tuesday, including that of Derek Loux, a Christian singer from Grandview who was killed in Nebraska.
“This is an extremely dangerous situation we are facing and everyone should heed these warnings,” said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting of the Kansas National Guard.
Meanwhile, blowing snow and freezing rain struck North Texas throughout the day, leaving behind bitterly cold temperatures and possible icy patches on bridges and overpasses.
Areas west of Dallas-Fort Worth reported snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches, and Interstate 20 was closed in Eastland County due to hazardous conditions and numerous accidents.
“With four-wheel drives, they’re going around and pulling people out of ditches and getting them moving again.
"The ones that end up in town, they just call around to churches and schools and wherever they can get inside,” said Sandra Parker, a Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman based in Brownwood.
The temperature at DFW Airport was 30 degrees at 4 p.m., with a wind chill of 16 degrees.
Dozens of flights were cancelled at the airport, and arriving flights were delayed as much as 2 1/2 hours. Oncor reported about 2,600 power outages scattered across Dallas-Fort Worth on Thursday afternoon.
The near-blizzard conditions on Christmas Eve were part of powerful winter storm system stretching from the southern plains to the Great Lakes.
At 3:30 p.m., the system was dumping the heaviest snow in communities along the Red River between Texas and Okalhoma.
Eight inches were reported at Nocona in northern Montague County and at Olney in Young County, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
Wichita Falls, which reported some of the fiercest weather conditions throughout the day, was reporting 5.25 inches.
Numerous accidents and hazardous conditions including ice, snow and fog prompted the closure of I-20 near Cisco, and an emergency operations center for stranded motorists was opened in the city, about 110 miles west of Fort Worth.
“It’s just a nightmare out there,” said DPS trooper Sparky Dean of the Abilene office. “As soon as we get one wreck cleared, another one happens in the same place.
“With these road conditions and all of the wrecks, we’re going to have people stranded for the night.”
Dean said Ranger Hill, a notorious travel headache about 80 miles west of Fort Worth, was still passable.
Bill Miller and Bill Hanna of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram contributed to this report.