Winter Weather Closes Businesses, Causes 3 Deaths

Severe winter weather that began about noon Wednesday has closed businesses and schools and resulted in at least three deaths on the state's highways.

Arkansas Business news partner KTHV-TV, Channel 11, reported that three people died in two separate auto crashes on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, two died in a crash on Interstate 30. Thursday morning, another person died on I-30. Both accidents occurred near Arkadelphia, and the names of the victims have not been released.

Meanwhile, more than 2 inches of snow fell on the Little Rock metropolitan area, and snow also fell in the western, northern and central regions. In central Arkansas, snow began falling at about noon Wednesday, and traffic quickly snarled as motorists left work early to pick up their children from closing schools and to beat the rush home.

On Wednesday, many schools and businesses put inclement weather policies in effect, allowing children and workers to leave work early. On Thursday, several Little Rock businesses closed or changed hours of operation.

Telecommunications company Alltel Corp. closed its Riverdale headquarters on Riverfront Drive. Fidelity Information Services in west Little Rock enacted its inclement weather policy, as did the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Click here for more on closings.

Meanwhile, the state Highway and Transportation Department has advised people who don't need to travel to stay home. The National Weather Service is predicted that a wave of cold air now sweeping the state will keep temperatures below freezing and snow on the ground for Christmas Day.

For Thursday, the NWS is predicting sunny skies and a high of 26 degrees. Tonight, temperatures will reach a about 11 degrees. Wind chill values should fall between 0 and 5 degrees.

On Friday, the skies will be mostly cloudy through mid-morning will a clearing later in the day and a high of 25 degrees. Christmas Day should be mostly sunny with a high of 39 degrees.