Deadly ice storm cripples roads, threatens 44 million from plains to mid-Atlantic

An ice storm crawling across America's midsection this weekend — threatening about 44 million people from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic — is freezing roadways and creating treacherous driving conditions.

The storm is already being blamed for three deaths. One person died Saturday morning in Missouri after a van carrying 12 people rolled over on a highway north of Kansas City, ejecting the driver. Meanwhile, near Weatherford, Oklahoma, a truck driver died after losing control of his semi on Interstate 40, where icy surfaces caused at least a dozen accidents.

On Friday, a person was killed in a crash on Interstate 55, north of Crystal City, Missouri, amid the poor conditions.

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Winter Storm Jupiter threatens millions across US
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Winter Storm Jupiter threatens millions across US
Everyone please stay safe! 1 Dead On Icy Roads as Winter Storm Jupiter Glazes Plains, Midwest… https://t.co/M5ffBduc25
Three fatalities have now been reported in Plains, Midwest due to icy impacts from Winter Storm #Jupiter:… https://t.co/aE7H7jRx7N
#Winter storm #Jupiter is being blamed for 1 death in #Missouri. @kellycass & @wxdude are timing out the storm & ho… https://t.co/7WSv6ijxoN
Winter Storm #Jupiter will continue to bring significant ice accumulations to parts of Plains/Midwest this weekend:… https://t.co/ygab6wHVIj
Winter Storm #Jupiter will Extend and Intensify its Impacts on Saturday. Latest Forecast: https://t.co/q2fiuhkUxE https://t.co/z3g4akFsDb
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Police in Wichita, Kansas, said two people suffered minor injuries in a 20-car pileup Friday night, one of several accidents caused by the icy roads.

The Kansas Army National Guard had already mobilized in advance of Saturday's storm, designating roughly 200 guardsmen to patrol key roads and help motorists stranded by the weather. The teams of soldiers are providing emergency transportation for law enforcers and other emergency responders, and prepared to make warming stations available at local armories.

Related: Midwest Faces Mayhem As Ice Storm Marches Through

Forecasters say as much as an inch of ice is expected to build up on roads throughout Kansas as well as Oklahoma, where a state of emergency remains in place. Ice storm warnings stretch from the Texas panhandle across Missouri and Iowa to Illinois.

Scattered outages have also been reported, including about 2,500 in Springfield, Missouri.

Meanwhile, winter storm watches are in effect in parts of eastern Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa, while freezing rain advisories have been called for the Ohio Valley and the Appalachians, The Weather Channel reported.

"The good news is as we head toward ... (Sunday) night and into Monday, some warmer air tries to move northward, so some places that start off as freezing rain in the weekend should transition back over to rain," said Weather Channel storm specialist Greg Postel.

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10 of the biggest snowstorms in history
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10 of the biggest snowstorms in history

10. The Knickerbocker Storm of 1922

View of a car buried in snow during the so-called Knickerbocker Storm, a blizzard that dropped 28 inches of snow on Washington DC, January 28, 1922. The storm, which also affected a large portion of the Eastern Seaboard, was named after the collapse of DC's Knickerbocker Theatre, caused by the excess weight of the snow on the structure's roof, which resulted in 98 deaths and 113 injuries; later, both the building's owner and architect committed suicide.

(Photo by Herbert A. French/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

9. Blizzard Of 1888

A man stands by a snow hut, after the Great Blizzard of 1888, with U.S. Capitol in background, Washington, D.C. According to History.com, 55 inches of snow piled up in some areas and hundreds of people were killed.

(Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

8. The Blizzard of 1996

The Blizzard of '96 was a severe nor'easter that paralyzed the U.S. East Coast with up to 4 feet of wind-driven snow from January 6 to January 8, 1996. It is one of only two snowstorms to receive the top rating of 5, or 'Extreme', on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Looking west down Penn. Ave from the US Capitol during the Blizzard.

(Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

7. 2008 Blizzard in Tibet

Journeying outside of the Unites States, Tibet got a surprise storm that lasted 36 hours and dropped upwards of five feet of snow causing buildings to collapse and at least seven deaths

(Photo credit: Getty)

6. 1959 storm on Mount Shasta

Number six is the storm on Mount Shasta in California in 1959 which unloaded 189 inches of snow on the locals and is considered the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America according to NOAA.

(Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

2. Blizzard of 1977

At number two is the blizzard of '77 in Buffalo, New York. Powerful and sustained winds created massive snow drifts.

(Photo by Ira Block/National Geographic/Getty Images)

5. Blizzard of 1971

Next is the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. It is said the event closed down the Montreal Forum, canceling a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, something that hasn't occurred since the flu epidemic of 1918.

(Photo by Dave Norris/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

4. New England Blizzard of 1978

At number four is the New England Blizzard of 1978. Stalling over New England, this storm struck during the day, dropping over 27 inches of snow and stranding many at schools, businesses and others in their cars.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

3. The Great Snow of 1717

Then there was the Great Snow of 1717 over the New England Area. With five feet of snow already on the ground, around four more fell on top of that creating drifts as tall as 25 feet, burying entire houses.

(Photo via Getty Images)

1. Blizzard of 1967

But the storm to top them all is the Blizzard of 1967. Laying waste to the Midwest, this storm took 76 lives, set the record snowfall for Chicago with 23 inches and was preceded by a severe tornado outbreak with temperatures in the 60's.

(Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)

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As a precaution, the NFL has already moved back the noon Sunday playoff game in Kansas City between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers to after 7 p.m. CT to give enough time for the storm to pass and to clear roads.

Forecasters warn that even as the weather warms up through the holiday weekend, another wave of cold air is right behind.

Outside of the United States, bitterly cold temperatures in Europe this week have been alarming human rights advocates who say refugees and migrants living in destitute conditions are at risk of death, frostbite and illness.

The U.N. refugee agency on Friday urged Greek authorities to speed up the relocation of families during the cold snap. "We are worried," spokesman Adrian Edwards said.

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