Rain, ice storms batter central U.S., deaths in Texas, Kansas

By Karen Brooks

By Karen Brooks AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Flooding and travel delays were expected from Texas to Kentucky during for the rest of U.S. holiday weekend, forecasters and law enforcement authorities said on Saturday, as bad weather was blamed for deaths on icy and flooded roads. An ice storm stretching from New Mexico through West Texas and Oklahoma and up to Kansas City left tens of thousands of people without power and there were at least four deaths on icy roads in Kansas. The weather system was expected to lead to road and airport delays across the central and northern parts of the United States, according to Accuweather.com. Moisture from Tropical Storm Sandra and the Gulf of Mexico brought record-breaking rain and flooding to the Dallas-Fort Worth region over the Thanksgiving holiday. The deluge led to the deaths of four motorists in the area, including a woman missing since Thursday who is presumed dead, authorities said. More downpours were expected on Saturday night and Sunday in North Texas, which is especially vulnerable to flooding after an already wet season. The rain and icy conditions were expected to continue on Sunday, prompting concern for millions of drivers expected to hit the roads after Thanksgiving on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Flash flood watches were in effect for North Texas and parts of Arkansas and Missouri, while winter advisories and ice storm warnings were issued in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, according to the National Weather Service. The inclement weather can be partly attributed to moisture from Tropical Storm Sandra off Mexico's west coast, senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski wrote on the Accuweather.com website blog. Two teenage boys died on Friday on icy Kansas roads in Newton, a few miles north of Wichita, Corporal Tim Boese of the Harvey County Sheriff's Department said on Saturday. Two more motorists were killed soon after when a semi-truck jackknifed in nearby Andover, according to the Kansas Turnpike Authority. In central Oklahoma, some 78,000 electric customers were without power, according to Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. On Saturday in North Texas, teams were still unable to reach a car that was washed into a creek on Thanksgiving Day with a woman in her 70s trapped inside, said Fort Worth firefighter Kyle Clay. The woman is presumed dead but recovery efforts are impossible due to the conditions, Clay said. (Editing by Frank McGurty and Nick Zieminski)