ICE BLOG RECAP: As North Texas Warms Up, Costs Of Storm Pile Up; Another Blast Of Arctic Air Coming?
Here's the latest on the ice storm that jolted North Texas in December 2013.
Update, 1:53 p.m. Friday: Damage estimates from the North Texas ice storm have reached $30 million.
That may seem like a lot, but Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas tells KERA’s BJ Austin that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to recent North Texas hail storms.
“Just last year you had two hail storms that were much worse,” he said. “One was $750 million in damage. The other was $900 million in damage. So this ice storm is kind of a blip on the screen compared to some of the catastrophic weather conditions you’ve had in the past.”
Hanna says the $30 million in claims are for tree limb damage to homes and property, crumpled carports, and frozen water pipes. The estimate does not include damage to cars, roads or government property.
Update, 1:13 p.m. Thursday: The ice storm that hit North Texas starting last Friday will cost Tarrant County about $500,000, according to County Judge Glen Whitley. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that county crews have worked more than 2,000 overtime hours. On Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council was told the city had spent about $200,000 so far to deal with icy roads. The city has spread more than 2,000 tons of sand on roads.
Dallas County estimates it spent between $300,000 to $400,000 on battling slick roads, The Dallas Morning News reports. But the biggest cost to the county came from closing offices Friday and part of Monday. That resulted in lost productivity of about $1.5 million, County Judge Clay Jenkins told The News.
A warmup continues across North Texas – and, boy, do we deserve it. Expect highs in the mid-40s across the region.
Lows tonight will be above freezing for the first time in a long time.
Showers are likely Friday. Temperatures will approach 50 degrees.
But … and there’s always a but … another blast of arctic air could hit North Texas late next week. According to the National Weather Service, one model shows the cold front arriving Dec. 20 or 21 – we’d get below-normal temperatures, but we’d recover quickly. The other model shows the cold front arriving Dec. 22 or 23 with several days of below-normal temperatures.
Update, 7:24 p.m. Wednesday: Denton ISD and Cleburne ISD, which have been closed since Friday due to the ice storm, will reopen at normal times Thursday. Denton ISD warns that while major roads are clear of ice, other roads might not.
Temperatures will once again dip below freezing tonight. Expect lows in the 20s. Some freezing fog could form overnight and Thursday morning. It's possible a thin layer of ice could form on certain roads. Black ice, which is hard to detect, could form, as well. So be careful out there.
On Friday, temperatures are expected to climb into the low 50s.
Update, 5 p.m. Wednesday: The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge has reopened, city officials have announced. The bridge had been closed for several hours due to ice that fell from the bridge's arches and cables.
Update, 2:07 p.m. Wednesday: Dallas police just issued a news release about the falling ice at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. As of 12:30 p.m., ice was still falling from the bridge. There have been no reports of injuries or vehicle damage from the falling ice.
At about 10 a.m., a motorist alerted a Dallas police officer that ice from the bridge had struck his or her vehicle. The officer immediately closed the west side of the bridge and called for assistance to close the east side of the bridge, Dallas police said. The department is working with the Dallas streets department to determine when it is safe to reopen the bridge.
Update, 1:15 p.m. Wednesday: KERA's BJ Austin has the latest on the closing of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Police say a motorist flagged down an officer about 10 a.m. and said that ice was falling from the bridge. The officer saw the falling ice and decided that the bridge should be closed to protect the public.
Meanwhile, there’s significant traffic on Woodall Rodgers Freeway as motorists are trying to get on the bridge but can’t. They’re being diverted. It’s not clear when the bridge will reopen.
Police are consulting with the Dallas streets department on when it’s safe to reopen.
Update, 11:34 a.m. Wednesday: The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge has been shut down due to falling ice, Dallas police told KERA. A police spokesperson is en route to the bridge to assess the situation. Officials say ice from the Santiago Calatrava-designed arches and cables began falling to the roadway this morning.
No word on whether any cars were hit. Police aren’t saying yet how long the bridge might be closed to traffic.
Update, 11:27 a.m. Wednesday: It’s Warmup Wednesday. Expect highs today in the mid-40s throughout North Texas. That will help to continue thaw the ice across the region.
But significant amounts of ice continue to pose problems for certain schools north of Dallas-Fort Worth. Denton ISD and Azle ISD were among the districts that canceled school yet again today. Cleburne ISD delayed the start of class until 10 a.m. today. Denton ISD said that many residential streets had been refreezing due to black ice, and chunks of ice were falling from above campus entrances.
Denton ISD's planned makeup days are April 18 and May 23. The district said it plans to seek waivers for the additional two inclement weather days.
While it’s warming up, temps will dip back below freezing tonight.
Just as we recover from the ice storm, more precip is on its way – but, this time, it’s rain. There’s a good chance of rain Friday across North Texas.
Update, 2:53 p.m. Tuesday: Even satellites can see the sleet that's still on the ground. Here's an image that the National Weather Service's Fort Worth office posted on its website earlier this afternoon:
The sleet covers much of North Texas, particularly Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties, as well as several counties north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth.
As of mid-afternoon, temperatures are above freezing for much of Dallas-Fort Worth.
This morning's low at D/FW International Airport was 19 degrees -- that's the coldest since Feb. 10, 2011, when the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. The record low for Dec. 10 is 11 degrees -- that was set way way back in 1898.
Tonight, temperatures will dip below freezing throughout much of North Texas. In some areas, temps could go into the 20s.
But a warmup is coming. We'll be in the 40s Wednesday. And, by the weekend, we'll be in the 50s.
TxDOT's Dallas office says that crews continue to work on treating "hot spots" on icy roads. TxDOT is getting ready for another night of freezing temperatures. "It is not over yet," TxDOT's Dallas office said in a Twitter message. "Cleanup begins soon."
KERA's BJ Austin has the latest on the forecast: We’re still in for a couple more overnight freezes, but today’s sunshine and warmer temperatures are slowly erasing the remnants of the ice storm.
Jesse Moore, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says a high pressure system over the Pacific, and low pressure over the central U.S. created a "funnel" that whipped extreme cold air from Canada right down to Texas. Those pressure systems also kept it cold for several days. But it could have been worse.
“We have had worse," he told KERA. "If you go back to 1983, we had 295 straight hours at or below freezing. So it has been colder. It’s been colder for a longer period of time than this.”
Moore says another serious cold snap is not likely until the end of the month.
Update, 10:27 a.m. Tuesday: Conditions are improving across North Texas, although ice remains on certain stretches of highways and side streets. Cobblestone ice continues to plague parts of Dallas-Fort Worth. Fort Worth police report problems with cobblestone ice on bridges. TxDOT’s Fort Worth office reports that crews have treated about 70 percent of bridges with cobblestone ice.
(Have you been wondering about cobblestone ice? We have an explanation here.)
TxDOT crews continue to work around the clock to clear highways around North Texas.
And the sun is out! That sunshine and today’s warmer temperatures will help clear some of the ice. Expect highs in the upper 30s throughout North Texas.
Traffic continues to be slow on parts of westbound Interstate 20 in Fort Worth.
Some schools are back in session today after canceling classes Friday and Monday. Dallas ISD was open at regular times today. Fort Worth ISD is starting classes two hours late this morning. But other districts, including Denton ISD, remain closed today.
Electricity has been restored to most North Texas homes and businesses. Oncor is reporting that power restoration is essentially complete in the Dallas area. Crews continue working in the Paris area, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas, where scattered outages continue. About 270,000 customers lost power Friday at the height of the storm.
Officials at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which overall had about 90 flights canceled today, has returned to normal operations.
UPDATES FROM MONDAY
Update, 4:55 p.m. Monday: Denton just announced that public schools there will be closed -- yet again -- Tuesday. Northwest ISD will also be closed Tuesday. Fort Worth schools will open Tuesday, but schools will start two hours late. Dallas announced it expects to be open for school at regular times Tuesday. Oncor reports that about 3,500 customers are without power from the storm that hit last week.
Update, 2:45 p.m. Monday: We have an update on the power outage situation. Oncor continues to make progress toward restoring power to those who lost it during the ice storm.
As of 2:45 p.m., an Oncor spokesman told KERA that there are fewer than 5,000 storm-related power outages.
Oncor’s Storm Center site showed 18,000 customers without power -- but that includes outages not related to the storm, Oncor says.
Oncor said in a statement earlier today that as of 4 a.m. Monday, 14,000 outages remained in the Dallas area. About 5,000 outages were reported in Paris and Sulphur Springs due to the weekend weather.
At the peak of the storm, 270,000 customers were without power. Oncor reports there were 50,000 new outages Saturday and Sunday.
“The new outages were a result of the continuing subfreezing temperatures and icy conditions that caused tree limbs to dip and break into power lines,” Oncor said in its statement.
Update, 1:15 p.m. Monday: Want a break from all of the storm news? Learn how some North Texans have been able to turn this nasty ice storm into a winter wonderland. We have some neat pictures and cool videos.
Update, 12:01 p.m. Monday: Day Four of the ice storm and the power is still out for some. About 20,000 customers are without power across North Texas. That includes about 13,000 in the immediate Dallas-Fort Worth area: 9,500 customers in Dallas County, 2,400 in Collin County and 950 in Rockwall County.
At noon, temperatures are above freezing throughout North Texas. But temperatures will dip into the mid-20s overnight.
Video from TV stations shows cars having problems driving over cobblestone ice.
Heavy-duty plows are still clearing ice across North Texas highways. Fort Worth police are reporting temporary road closures around the city as the plows make their way on various freeways. Significant traffic backups have been reported through downtown Fort Worth on westbound Interstate 30.
Dallas Love Field cautions motorists to be careful heading in and out of the airport. There’s black ice, cobblestone ice and sheets of ice coming off buildings.
Falling ice has been a problem across Dallas-Fort Worth. Dallas' Office of Emergency Management issued this alert on Twitter: "If you are downtown, or anywhere near a building be aware the ice may thaw and fall in large pieces!"
Meanwhile, in Denton, crews are working to clear Apogee Stadium of snow, ice and sleet. High school football playoff games are scheduled later today.
Here's a look at crews clearing ice from Fort Worth highways:
Update, 7:40 a.m. Monday: Good morning and welcome to Day Four of Ice Storm 2013. Roads remain icy across North Texas. Here's the latest:
Schools: Many school districts are closed today, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Irving, Northwest, Birdville, Frisco and McKinney. But some schools are open, including Garland ISD and Rockwall ISD.
DART: Some DART trains are operating, but DART reports issues trying to restore all light-rail service.
“The ice fog that started coming in Sunday night caused the overhead power lines to re-fereze,” DART said.
DART said its light-rail service will operate on a regular schedule for the following lines: Red Line: Westmoreland to LBJ/Central; Blue Line: Ledbetter to LBJ/Skillman; Orange Line: Bachman to LBJ/Central; Green Line: Buckner to Bachman.
Bus shuttles will serve the other stations not reached by DART Rail.
TRE: Trinity Railway Express will operate a regular weekday schedule.
Roads: Roads remain icy. TxDOT worked through the night again overnight to clear highways of ice. Still, TxDOT advises motorists to delay their travel this morning.
Power outages: Oncor reports that about 20,000 customers remain without power.
Weather: As of 8 a.m., temperatures are around freezing. But by noon, temperatures will climb into the mid-30s. But we’ll dip below freezing again tonight.
D/FW Airport: Conditions are improving at D/FW International Airport, where more than 500 departing flights are still scheduled to take off today. The airport now has four operating runways.
About 350 cancelations have been canceled.
About 650 passengers spent the night last night at D/FW – a number that’s gone down considerably compared to earlier during the storm. Major roadways going into the airport are passable, although some are covered with slush and ice. Travelers should give themselves extra time getting to D/FW.
UPDATES FROM SUNDAY
Update, 8:06 p.m. Sunday: Hearing loud cheers in your home or neighborhood? Those are the sounds of children as they learn that school is shut down yet again. The school closings continue to pour in. Dallas ISD just announced it's canceling school Monday due to icy roads and bad weather. Many other districts have announced they're closed -- including Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Irving, Frisco, Northwest, McKinney and Birdville. That's just a sampling. There are others. Check your local school district's website.
Update, 6:16 p.m. Sunday: Did you enjoy that late afternoon warm up? Temperatures were in the mid-30s – for a few hours. Soon they’ll dip below freezing, which means much of the ice that had melted will re-freeze.
School officials are concerned about icy roads, so several districts will be closed again Monday after being shut down Friday.
The following school districts have already announced they’ll be closed Monday: Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, Plano ISD, McKinney ISD, Frisco ISD, Northwest ISD, and several others. As of 6 p.m., Dallas ISD hadn’t decided whether it would shut down Monday. Check your school district’s website for more details.
UNT is among the colleges that will be closed Monday.
TxDOT made progress clearing ice off certain highways around North Texas. Still, icy roads continue to pose problems.
DART is testing its light-rail trains today and hopes its trains are back in service Monday. Buses continue to operate along the rail corridors. DART is reporting on its website: “The testing, as well as our ability to restore service, depends on the weather. Bottom line, we need some ice to melt from the tracks and overhead power lines. We have treated and retreated switches and the parts of the system where ice melt will work.”
Update, 2:20 p.m. Sunday: Special motor graders are moving across parts of North Texas to chew through the thick, stubborn ice that has formed on highways. TxDOT recommends that motorists continue to stay off the roads.
And many North Texans are finally seeing icicles drip, drip, drip this afternoon. As of 2 p.m., some parts of North Texas are seeing temperatures above 32 degrees.
Temperatures should stay above freezing for several hours. But anything that melts will refreeze overnight as temperatures dip below freezing once again. Temperatures should be in the mid to upper 20s overnight.
Oncor reports about 40,000 power outages throughout North Texas, including 26,000 in Dallas County, 7,000 in Collin County, 1,500 in Rockwall County, and about 300 in Tarrant County. Power should be restored to most customers by tonight.
DART is testing its light-rail trains today. Customers aren’t allowed on the trains. DART hopes its trains are back in service Monday. Buses continue to operate along the rail corridors. DART is reporting on its website: “The testing, as well as our ability to restore service, depends on the weather. Bottom line, we need some ice to melt from the tracks and overhead power lines. We have treated and retreated switches and the parts of the system where ice melt will work.”
Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management warns people that the warmer temperatures will lead to ice chunks falling off buildings – so be careful whether you’re driving or walking around.
The state’s Ice Task Force is in full force today:
Update, 8:32 a.m. Sunday: North Texas has entered Day Three of Ice Storm 2013. Temperatures remain below freezing and roads remain skating rinks.
The state’s ice task force will be out in full force in Tarrant County this morning, looking to clear roads of ice.
Crews plan to work simultaneously on Interstates 20, 30 and 35, Fort Worth police said.
TxDOT is moving salting and sanding equipment from across the state to help clear North Texas roads. TxDOT is also using motor graders with serrated blades to chew through the thick ice. About 200 tons of salt are headed to Denton County from Grand Saline mines, TxDOT reports.
Freezing fog: The freezing fog advisory for Dallas-Fort Worth and other parts of North Texas has been extended until noon. The weather service says freezing fog or freezing drizzle are possible this morning across the eastern half of North Texas. Freezing frog or freezing drizzle could create yet more ice -- a thin layer at most. Areas southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth, south and east of a line from Lampasas to Waco to Canton, may see travel issues due to freezing fog deposits that could freeze on roads that had been dry, the weather service said.
A brief warmup: Temperatures will warm up above freezing starting around 2 p.m., the National Weather Service reports. Highs could reach into the upper 30s. We'll be above freezing for several hours. That will help clear some of the ice. But temperatures will dip back below freezing tonight and overnight.
At the airport: At D/FW International Airport, a third runway has opened. But about 400 of Sunday's departing flights have been canceled. About 2,000 passengers spent the night in the airport – that’s down from 3,000 passengers Friday night. Cots and blankets were distributed once again. Toiletry kits, diapers and formula were made available, as well. Check flight information here or download the official DFW Airport Mobile App.
Power outages: Oncor continues to make progress in restoring power. About 40,000 North Texas customers remain without power -- down from 110,000 customers Saturday afternoon and way down from the peak of 270,000 Friday morning.
Churches: Many North Texas churches have either canceled or delayed Sunday services. Check with your house of worship before heading out.
Dallas Museum of Art open: The DMA sent out this alert: "Yes, we're open! Cabin fever setting in? Spend the day at the DMA." The museum is open today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free general admission.
Road conditions: TxDOT officials are asking motorists to stay off the roads unless it’s absolutely necessary.
In Fort Worth, Interstate 35 north of U.S. 287 continues to be a problem – there’s lots of ice. Travel is discouraged.
Outside of Dallas-Fort Worth: In Navarro County, freezing drizzle is creating problem spots. And Interstate 20 continues to be impassable west of Fort Worth to the Palo Pinto County line. All travel is discouraged.
Here's a look at some of the equipment being brought in to chew up the thick ice on North Texas freeways:
UPDATES FROM SATURDAY
Update, 10:43 p.m. Saturday: About 80,000 customers remain without power, Oncor is reporting. At D/FW International Airport, at least 200 Sunday departures have already been canceled. Much of North Texas is under a freezing fog advisory until 9 a.m. Sunday. The National Weather Service says that light freezing drizzle or freezing fog may "deposit a light layer of ice" onto area roads and bridges.
Expect overnight lows into the 20s for much of North Texas. We'll warm up on Sunday -- for a bit. Expect temperatures to reach above freezing for a few hours. Then temperatures will dip below freezing -- yet again.
Roads remain hazardous. Various agencies -- from police to the National Weather Service to TxDOT -- are encouraging motorists to stay off the roads. They remain covered with ice.
A task force will be out on Tarrant County freeways starting Sunday morning to try to clear the so-called cobblestone ice that has formed. Expect temporary closures, Fort Worth police warn.
Some area churches are either canceling or delaying Sunday services due to the bad weather. Check with your place of worship before heading out Sunday.
Update, 9:43 p.m. Saturday: Starting at 6 a.m. Sunday, the state will deploy a task force of heavy-duty equipment to clear ice off highways in Tarrant County, the Fort Worth police department has announced. They're going to try to clear the so-called cobblestone ice that has formed. Fort Worth police are asking motorists to stay off highways while the ice is being cleared.
There will be temporary highway closures as the crews do their work.
Officials hope to reduce 18-wheeler traffic on the highways through 6 a.m. Monday.
Trucks that are on the freeways will be allowed to continue. If they are stopped on the road or on the shoulder, then they will be asked to move to a safe area.
The task force will evaluate all major freeways in Tarrant County, Fort Worth police say.
Fort Worth police had initially reported on Twitter that all freeways would be shut down so that the ice could be cleared; they clarified later that there would be temporary closures.
Update, 9:27 p.m. Saturday: Eastbound Interstate 20 heading into Fort Worth has been shut down, Fort Worth police said.
At 6 a.m. Sunday, heavy-duty equipment will be deployed to address the so-called cobblestone ice.
Texas Department of Public Safety is asking all 18-wheeler traffic to stay off the roads through 6 a.m. Monday, according to Fort Worth police.
Meanwhile, Oncor continues to make progress on restoring power. About 90,000 customers are without power now -- that's down from a high of about 270,000 customers Friday morning.
Around the region, TxDOT reports that many bridges and roadways still have several inches of ice due to temperatures remaining below freezing. On Sunday, additional TxDOT crews will be on the roads, treating them with sand and salt.
In Denton County, Interstate 35 in Denton County continues to be covered with ice. Interstate 35E in northern Dallas County is problematic, too.
Interstate 20 in Parker and Palo Pinto Counties continues to experience issues with solid ice on the roadway. Traffic on eastbound I-20 has been moving slowly after two 18-wheelers jackknifed, TxDOT reported.
Interstate 35W north of U.S. 287 is also experiencing issues, TxDOT says.
Drivers can call 800-452-9292 for road updates.
Update, 3:09 p.m. Saturday: The bad news: National Weather Service radar shows several patches of light snow and sleet moving across North Texas. The good news: Most of it isn’t hitting the ground, so little additional accumulation is expected. Still, road conditions are terrible out there. So stay inside.
Fort Worth police, which are responding to accidents across the city, continue to warn that roads are slippery. Between midnight and 10 a.m. Dallas police reported 70 accidents, 29 classified as “freeway majors” and two involving city equipment.
The sleet and freezing rain that fell Friday remains frozen on the ground since temperatures have remained in the 20s throughout Saturday.
Temperatures will fall into the teens and 20s tonight.
When will we see some relief? Perhaps Sunday. Temperatures will rise above freezing Sunday afternoon. Clouds will decrease and the sun will pop out for a bit. The weather service reports that conditions will remain icy throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and most of North Texas.
Later Sunday, temperatures will dip below freezing again.
But the weather service warns of a slight chance of freezing rain Monday night and Tuesday morning – but that would be for areas south and east of Dallas-Fort Worth – towns such as Canton, Corsicana, Waco and Palestine.
Update, 2:58 p.m. Saturday: A power outage update: About 115,000 customers are still without power in North Texas, according to Oncor. That number's been hovering in the low 100s for the past few hours. But that's down from a high of about 270,000 Friday morning. In Dallas County, about 70,000 customers remain without power. Collin County, which was also hit hard, reports about 18,000 customers with no power. In both Rockwall and Tarrant counties, about 4,000 are still without power. [Visit the Oncor Storm Center to check out what's happening in your neighborhood.]
Oncor says it has more than 3,700 company employees, contractors and utility workers from outside the state who are working to restore power. Oncor says on its website that it believes nearly all customers will have power restored by late Sunday night. "The only outages that may not be restored by that time are rural customers or customers whose electrical equipment was damaged by the storm."
To report new outages, visit this site or call 888-313-4747.
Update, 2:45 p.m. Saturday: Play ball?!? Arlington Police Department sent out this photo on Twitter of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Update, 12:12 p.m. Saturday: In Denton County, several inches of ice cover Interstate 35, TxDOT is reporting. Motorists remain stalled near Sanger, but one northbound lane is moving, but slowly.
North Texas highways continue to have thick layers of ice and that's creating unsafe driving conditions. TxDOT says its crews have been working around the clock to make highways passable, but freezing temperatures continue to make it difficult to clear several inches of ice from roadways, bridges and interchanges. All travel is discouraged until conditions improve.
Elsewhere in North Texas, Interstate 20 in Parker and Palo Pinto counties is covered with ice -- about 4 to 6 inches. This section of I-20 is hilly and dangerous. TxDOT crews continue to treat these two highway locations with sand and salt to improve traction, but traffic is moving slowly and must stop often.
Freezing temperatures will continue throughout the day. Roadway conditions aren’t expected to improve until possibly Sunday. TxDOT crews will continue working around the clock, spreading salt and sand for traction at bridges and trouble spots.
About 600 employees from TxDOT’s Dallas and Fort Worth Districts have been working to treat the roads starting before the storm arrived.
Need more travel information? Motorists can call 800-452-9292.
Update, 11:59 a.m. Saturday: D/FW International Airport has reported that more than 400 departing flights have been canceled so far today -- that's about half of the typical departure schedule. Two runways are open, although the airport is working to open a third. American Airlines says to expect "minimal operations" today. Learn more about changing your American flight here.
The airport has been offering coffee and pastries to stranded passengers this morning. Overnight, it offered cots, blankets and coffee for the thousands of passengers who were stranded.
Heading to the airport? Roadways around the airport are open, but icy. The airport reports: "With treacherous highway overpass conditions, Mid Cities Boulevard in the southwest and Walnut Hill in the southeast may be good alternatives for accessing the Airport from the south."
Earlier today, Dallas Love Field posted the following on Twitter:
Update, 11:52 a.m. Saturday: Earlier today, rescue teams pulled a pickup truck from Lewisville Lake. The truck’s driver was found dead inside, several media outlets are reporting.
Update, 11:48 a.m. Saturday: Here's the latest on power outages -- about 115,000 customers are without power in North Texas, Oncor is reporting. That's down from a high of about 270,000 Friday morning. Dallas County was hardest hit -- 70,000 customers remain without power. In Collin County, 18,000 are in the cold. In both Rockwall and Tarrant counties, about 5,000 are still without power. [Visit the Oncor Storm Center to check out what's happening in your neighborhood.]
Oncor says it has more than 3,700 company employees, contractors and utility workers from outside the state who are working to restore power. Oncor says on its website that it believes nearly all customers will have power restored by late Sunday night. "The only outages that may not be restored by that time are rural customers or customers whose electrical equipment was damaged by the storm."
To report new outages, visit this site or call 888-313-4747.
Update, 11 a.m. Saturday: North Texas awoke to a deep freeze as ice still covered many roads and encased most trees -- at least the ones that haven't come down yet. Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing until at least Sunday afternoon -- and the National Weather Service reports there's a 30 percent chance of sleet or snow flurries this afternoon.
Oncor says 125,000 are still without power, but most of them should have electricity restored by Sunday night. [Check your neighborhood at the Oncor Storm Center.]
And Saturday morning, an accident closed the northbound lanes of the Interstate 35 bridge over Lake Lewisville. They're expected to reopen by noon.
This TxDOT tweet says it best:
Avoid all travel in North Texas because of severe icy conditions. TxDOT crews are working around the clock, but conditions are hazardous.— @txdotfortworth (@TxDOTFortWorth) December 7, 2013
Update, 7:07 p.m. Friday: North Texas is practically a skating rink tonight as at least an inch of ice and sleet covers most of Dallas-Fort Worth. Up to 4 inches fell around Denton.
Earlier today, a quarter of a million customers were without power. About 1,000 flights were canceled. Schools, governments and businesses were shut down. Roads were slippery, and bridges and overpasses were downright dangerous.
DART light rail was shut down, while buses and other trains across North Texas experienced delays.
In Arlington, a motorist was killed after he couldn’t avoid hitting a semi-trailer.
Saturday’s Children’s Medical Center Parade has been canceled, the first time that’s happened in the parade’s 26-year history. Sunday’s MetroPCS Dallas Marathon has also been canceled.
Various weekend events across Dallas-Fort Worth have been canceled due to the cold weather and icy conditions.
Tonight, temperatures could dip into the 20s and teens in Dallas-Fort Worth. In Denton, the expected low is 11 degrees. In counties along the Red River, some towns could record lows in the single digits.
The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze warning and wind chill advisory from midnight through 9 a.m. Saturday for the northern portions of Dallas-Fort Worth -- north of a line from Breckenridge to Weatherford to McKinney to Bonham.
Any ice and sleet that melted or turned into slush will likely refreeze and turn to black ice, which is difficult to spot while driving. That makes travel hazardous.
KERA reporters were dispatched across the region today, capturing the sights and sounds of a North Texas winter wonderland.
Stella M. Chavez was in Plano at a Panera where people without power sought refuge. One customer said he was bringing a warm sandwich to his wife who was under the blankets at home.
Dane Walters was at Flagpole Hill in East Dallas, one of the best spots for sledding in North Texas. He talked with a Lake Highlands resident who said he gets out to the hill every time there’s ice and snow. Kids enjoyed racing down the hills and touching the crunchy snow that had formed on yards across the region.
Lyndsay Knecht was at a coffeehouse in Denton. She met people who were gathering for hot chocolate to escape the cold, including kids who had the day off from school. People were more interested in chatting about the cold weather than opening up their laptops.
Duoaly Xaykaothao was in Arlington, where she met a couple who lost power but were making the best of a cold situation by preparing a fire in the fireplace and making coffee on a barbecue pit. They weren’t complaining about missing work today.
Bill Zeeble touched base with street crews in Dallas doing their best to salt and sand roads. Shelley Kofler monitored power outages across the area – most centered in northern Dallas County and Collin County. As of 9 p.m. Friday, about 165,000 customers remained without power. She also touched base with the American Red Cross, which has opened some shelters across North Texas. And Courtney Collins checked in with the National Weather Service, which says that North Texas could have been hit much harder had more freezing rain fallen – that would have meant more liquid freezing on the ground, resulting in thicker ice.
But, for some, despite the weather, the show goes on. That’s the case for Kanye West. His concert at American Airlines Center was one of the few things that didn’t get canceled.
Update, 6:15 p.m. Friday: The American Red Cross’ DFW chapter is opening more shelters for those without power or needing to escape the cold. In Collin County, a shelter is opening at Sachse City Hall/Building C, 3815 Sachse Rd. in Sacshe. In Hunt County, a shelter is at Westview United Methodist Church, 6407 Sayle Street in Greenville.
Shelters in Decatur (Wise County) and Sanger (Denton County) remain open. The Decatur location is at the Decatur Civic Center at 2010 U.S. Hwy 380. The Sanger location is at the First United Methodist Church of Sanger at 115 N. 5th St. The Red Cross suggests North Texans listen to the weather forecast and don’t leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Those who do travel should place emergency kits, blankets and food and water in their cars.
Update, 6:01 p.m. Friday: Temperatures across North Texas will dip into low 20s and even the teens. Temps in some outlying areas could dip down into the single digits. The city of Dallas offers the following tips about preparing your home for tonight’s freezing temperatures.
Turn off your automatic sprinklers. Watering during a freeze can cause sheets of ice to form on your home or on the street.
Protect your pipes. Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of your home, including the attic. Drain and remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outdoor faucets with hard foam covers or wrap with cloth. If you have a pier and beam foundation, cover vents around the foundation of your home. Learn where your private water cut-off valves are and how to operate them.
During freezing weather, to try to avoid burst pipes, turn on your faucets in your home and let hot and cold water drip slowly into the sink. Open cabinet doors underneath your sinks.
If you’re not going to be at home, turn off water at your private valve and drain all outside water faucets.
To find your cut-off valve:
- Frequently, private water cut-off valves can be found near an outside faucet and close to your house. Some homeowners with in-ground irrigation systems may find their private cut-off near the irrigation system valves, frequently close to the property line.
- Older homes may have their cut-off valve buried in the ground. A quarter-inch piece of iron with a 90-degree angle protrudes from the buried valves and serves as a handle. The iron piece looks like an upside down “L” and turning the handle will stop the water flow to your home.
For emergency assistance in turning your water off or on, call the city of Dallas’ 311 line.
To learn more, click here.
UPDATES FROM FRIDAY
Update, 5:54 p.m. Friday: Here’s the latest from Dallas City Hall: There has been a steady stream of icing calls throughout the city. Downed tree calls are on the rise, mainly from limbs in roadways. Street Services is working to address an increase in downed tree calls. Chainsaw crews are mobilized throughout Dallas to clear the roadways. Crews will focus on debris removal during daylight hours to ensure safety of personnel and motorists.
Update, 5:48 p.m. Friday: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a statement regarding the power outage. He says Oncor officials expect power restoration to take several days. Many of the outages are in Dallas County, particularly northern Dallas County. Jenkins said: “If you are without power please consider finding a warm place to stay tonight. If you are fortunate enough to have power please consider inviting your friends, family and their pets to stay with you."
Update, 5:41 p.m. Friday: The American Red Cross’ DFW chapter is opening more shelters for those without power or needing to escape the cold. In Collin County, a shelter is opening at Sachse City Hall/Building C, 3815 Sachse Rd. in Sacshe. And in Kaufman County, a shelter is at First Baptist Church Recreation Outreach Center, 100 Brin in Terrell. Shelters in Decatur and Sanger remain open.
The Decatur location is at the Decatur Civic Center at 2010 U.S. Hwy 380. The Sanger location is at the First United Methodist Church of Sanger at 115 N. 5th St. The Red Cross suggests North Texans listen to the weather forecast and don’t leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Those who do travel should place emergency kits, blankets and food and water in their cars.
Update, 5:32 p.m. Friday: The Fort Worth Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis set for Saturday in Burnett Park has been canceled due to the weather. The event will not be rescheduled.
Update, 5:26 p.m. Friday: TV stations are reporting that the High 5 interchange in Far North Dallas -- where Interstate 635 and State Highway 75 intersect -- is shut down due to icy conditions.
Update, 5:23 p.m. Friday: All colleges in the Dallas County Community College District will be closed Saturday because of bad weather. Final exams will be rescheduled.
Update, 5:16 p.m. Friday: D/FW International Airport reports that more than 750 departing flights were canceled today – about 90 percent of Friday’s flight schedule. Check your airline for the latest flight information. You can also check this site or download the D/FW Airport Mobile App. De-icing operations continue at the airport for every departing flight.
Traffic heading into the airport’s south entrance is building due to hardening ice, especially on the State Highway 183/State Highway 360 entrance ramp to the airport.
Some airport concessionaires will remain open around the clock tonight to help travelers who will spend the night at D/FW.
Update, 4:23 p.m. Friday: A check of Oncor's storm center website shows that about 195,000 customers are without power. That number is down from 270,000 earlier today.
Update, 3:38 p.m. Friday: The National Weather Service says a hard freeze warning and wind chill advisory are in effect from midnight through 9 a.m. Saturday for the northern portions of Dallas-Fort Worth north of a line from Breckenridge to Weatherford to McKinney to Bonham.
Tonight, temperatures could dip into the teens in Dallas-Fort Worth. In Denton, the expected low is 11 degrees. In counties along the Red River, some towns could record lows in the single digits.
Any ice and sleet that melted or turned into slush will likely refreeze and turn to black ice, which is difficult to spot while driving. That makes travel hazardous, the weather service said.
Update, 3:28 p.m. Friday: In terms of ice and sleet amounts, Denton seems to be the epicenter of the winter storm. Denton recorded 4 inches of ice and sleet, the National Weather Service reports. 3.5 inches was reported in Mineral Wells. 3 inches of ice and sleet were recorded in much of Tarrant and Denton counties. Much of Dallas County received 1 inch of ice and sleet, while Collin County recorded 1.25 inches. All of North Texas received at least an inch of ice and sleet.
Update 2:30 p.m. Friday: KERA's Lauren Silverman has this important storm-related public service message for all those hungry households in DFW -- courtesy of Hank in Fort Worth, a pizza delivery guy who called into KERA’s show Anything You Ever Wanted To Know this afternoon. And please, don’t forget to tip:
"I'm delivering pizzas and if anybody is ordering pizza, it is I mean crazy right now. You'll probably wait two to three hours for your pizza. Remember we've got to drive out in this. And don't be mean and make sure to tip us good."
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming on our live storm blog ...
Update, 2:16 p.m. Friday: In the middle of the storm, Geoff Barry found a way to brave the "treacherous, icy waters" and have some backyard fun in Carrollton:
Update, 2:02 p.m. Friday: Dallas city offices and facilities are closing early today -- at 4 p.m. There are currently no shelters open within the city that are being managed by the city or the American Red Cross.
Ice Force operations are still ongoing throughout the city to treat slick roadways. About 400 traffic signals aren't working, while another 45 are flashing. Chainsaw crews from various city departments are out in the field clearing debris.
Dallas Sanitation Services will not be collecting trash today. Delayed collections won't happen this weekend. "Sanitation Services is asking Friday customers who need service to leave out their refuse and recycling through next week and if conditions and resources permit Sanitation Services will attempt to make those collections by end of day Wednesday." Monday, Tuesday and Thursday residential collections will follow normal schedule next week.
The city's 311 line has received about 700 calls for service, most of which are regarding power outages. All power calls are being routed to Oncor.
Update, 1:41 p.m. Friday: About 215,000 customers are without power, Oncor is reporting. That number continues to drop as the afternoon rolls along.
In a note on its website, Oncor says that crews are working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power. More than 2,500 employees, contractors and utility workers from outside Texas are helping with the effort.
“Restoration may take longer than normal due to the extreme weather and treacherous driving conditions. Please always remember to steer clear of downed power lines. Call 911 if you see a downed power line.” Visit this Oncor site to report an outage, get updates and see estimated restoration times. Outages can be reported over the phone by calling 888-313-4747.
Update, 1:32 p.m. Friday: The VA North Texas Health Care System sends along this update: The Dallas VA Medical Center, Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center at Bonham and the Tyler VA Outpatient Clinic all remain open today. The Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic is closed today at noon. Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Bridgeport, Denton, Granbury, Greenville and Sherman are closed today. Only Saturday Outpatient Clinic appointments have been cancelled/rescheduled at the following sites: Dallas VA Medical Center, Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic and the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center at Bonham. For more information, visit this site.
Update, 1:27 p.m. Friday: KERA’s Courtney Collins passes along this update from D/FW International Airport. More than 680 departing flights have been canceled, including most morning and afternoon departures. That represents about 80 percent of Friday’s flight schedule.
D/FW Airport advises passengers or those meeting flights to check with their airlines for the latest flight information. You can also check this site or download the D/FW Airport Mobile App.
Long lines have been reported at terminals across the airport.
The airports de-icing facilities are operational and airlines are de-icing every plane.
D/FW Airfield Operations are plowing, treating and monitoring the runways, ramps and taxiways. At least one runway has been open throughout the day.
Roads around the airport have been treated, but they’re still slushy and icy, so be careful as you drive around the airport.
Passengers are waiting up to 15 minutes for taxi and other transportation services. Car rental firms at D/FW say they have hundreds of rental cars available.
Update, 12:55 p.m. Friday: KERA's Shelley Kofler has an update from the Red Cross.
The American Red Cross’ DFW Chapter says it’s opened shelters in Decatur and Sanger. The Decatur location is at the Decatur Civic Center at 2010 U.S. Hwy 380. The Sanger location is at the First United Methodist Church of Sanger at 115 N. 5th St. The Red Cross suggests North Texans listen to the weather forecast and don’t leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Those who do travel should place emergency kits, blankets and food and water in their cars.
Update, 12:52 p.m. Friday: The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, set for Sunday, has been canceled, officials just announced.
Marathon officials said they met with representatives from the city of Dallas to discuss the weather. In addition, the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Health & Fitness Expo for Friday and Saturday has been canceled.
The marathon states on its website: “We regret that the race will not go on as planned, but are confident this decision is in the best interest of our runners, volunteers, spectators and the general public.”
Update, 12:48 p.m. Friday: From Richardson: Bad weather has forced organizers to cancel the city’s 42nd annual Christmas Parade on Saturday morning. It’s only the second time the city has had to cancel the parade. Richardson’s Santa’s Village activities have also been canceled Saturday and Sunday.
Update, 12:45 p.m. Friday: KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports from the Dallas Department of Street Services, which is on the streets around the clock. He says workers on a 12-hour shift just ended their work at noon. More workers are coming in to start their 12-hour shift.
Those who wrapped up at noon will be back at midnight. Roads haven’t been too bad, the workers told Bill. But they’re concerned that what’s wet now on the roads will refreeze as temperatures remain below freezing. They’re worried about black ice, which is difficult to spot on the roads.
Update, 12:43 p.m. Friday: KERA’s Courtney Collins has a recap of storm developments from the morning. She reports that with no warm up in the forecast, whatever has fallen from the sky will stick around.
There was a bit of good news from this winter storm. Most of what pelted North Texas overnight was sleet, and not freezing rain.
“Sleet falls as ice pellets, basically,” said Mark Fox, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “And freezing rain would be falling all the way down to the ground as liquid rain, but it would then freeze on contact. … If you could choose between the two, you’d choose sleet.”
The heaviest sleet amounts have been recorded north of Dallas-Fort Worth, around Sherman, Denison and Gainesville. But most of the power outages have been reported in northern Dallas County, Collin County and other areas north and east of Dallas.
Cloudy skies today won't help melt the precipitation. And any precip that does melt will likely re-freeze overnight as temperatures remain below freezing.
Update, 12:41 p.m. Friday: Power out? Or know someone whose power is out? Here's how you report an outage: Text "OUT" to 66267, visit this site or call 888-313-4747.
Update, 12:38 p.m. Friday: Northbound Interstate 45 at Overton is closed due to an 18-wheeler that has stalled, Dallas police report on Twitter.
Update, 12:11 p.m. Friday: About 230,000 customers across North Texas are now without power, Oncor says -- that number is down from earlier this morning. Here's the online Oncor Storm Center site.
Update 12:03 p.m. Friday: Tune in to KERA 90.1 FM for a special weather edition of Anything You Ever Wanted To Know. The KERA News team will bring you updates on the storm. The show airs until 1 p.m. Listen here live online.
Update, 11:20 a.m. Friday: There was a brief electrical fire under the sidewalk in front of The Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas this morning. The hotel says in a statement that the hotel suffered little damage, but that hotel guests were temporarily moved to the neighboring Magnolia Hotel. The Joule’s electrical power has been restored. CBD Provisions, a restaurant, experienced minor glass and smoke damage – it will be closed briefly for repairs.
Update, 11:11 a.m. Friday: Due to the weather, the opening of the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Health & Fitness Expo has been delayed until 2 p.m. At this time, the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon and MetroPCS Dallas Marathon Health & Fitness Expo are still being held as scheduled. The health and fitness expo is at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
Update, 10:30 a.m. Friday: About 270,000 customers are without power, Oncor is reporting. The number continues to increase as the morning rolls along. Many outages are in the eastern part of the metro area, including Dallas and Collin counties.
Update, 10:02 a.m. Friday: KERA 90.1 FM is experiencing some weather-related transmission issues. Listen to KERA online.
Update, 9:42 a.m. Friday: Fort Worth’s T bus system is operating and transportation officials expect some bus service will be available on all major routes by 11 a.m. Bus riders should expect travel delays throughout the day due to the weather. Riders are encouraged to stand back from the street while waiting for buses since the roads are slippery.
TRE trains are operating, but there are several delays.
TRE service has typically been running 30 to 60 minutes behind schedule, although there are reports that some trains are leaving stations on time.
The T says it’s using sanding trucks and is prepared for detours to avoid potentially impassable areas. The T has sanded bus transfer centers, and TRE station platforms and ramps also have been sanded.
In Dallas, DART has had to stop light rail service due to the weather. DART says it’s using buses on the rail routes. DART says it started experiencing issues around midnight and the situation got worse overnight.
In Denton County, DCTA says the A train is operating on schedule after experiencing delays earlier this morning. There is no DCTA bus service today.
Here are some Twitter pictures from across North Texas:
Update, 9:32 a.m. Friday: The ice storm appears to have been a factor in a deadly crash on Interstate 20 overnight. Arlington police are investigating the crash on I-20 near Cooper Street. At about 12:15 a.m., officers responded to a two-vehicle crash. The driver of a 2001 BMW heading eastbound approached an 18-wheeler stopped on the highway’s shoulder, Arlington police said. The BMW’s driver was unable to move and ran into the back of the 18-wheeler. The driver was taken to Medical Center of Arlington, where he died. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has identified the driver as Chase Brandenburgh, 29, of Arlington.
Update, 9:08 a.m. Friday: Light to moderate sleet, as well as some freezing rain, will continue to fall across North Texas through 10 a.m., the National Weather Service said. Temperatures will remain below freezing -- in the 20s and low 30s – throughout the day. So the ice and sleet are sticking around. A winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. today.
Update, 8:30 a.m. Friday: A strong winter storm has hit North Texas, covering the region with a layer of ice and sleet. Up to 3 inches of ice and sleet have fallen in areas north of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Most major school districts are closed, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Denton, Richardson and Irving ISDs. Most colleges are closed. Many county and city offices are closed, although Dallas city offices plan to open at 10 a.m.
About 250,000 Oncor customers were without power as of 8:30 a.m. -- a number that’s been growing throughout the morning.
It’s hard for planes to take off when they’re covered with ice, so more than 330 flights have been canceled at D/FW International Airport. At Dallas Love Field, Southwest Airlines is reporting more than 50 cancelations.
TxDOT, the North Texas Tollway Authority and cities across the region have been working across the clock to sand and salt highways and roads. Bridges, overpasses and ramps are the most dangerous and motorists should avoid them. Several accidents have been reported.
Conditions won’t change soon. Sleet and freezing rain should fall throughout the morning. And since the temperatures are below freezing, that precipitation will stick around on the ground. Temperatures will stay below freezing through the weekend.
Most of the precip that fell was sleet instead of freezing rain. Since freezing rain falls as water and freezes on contact, the sleet likely lessened the icy blow we’re experiencing.
Still, it’s not good out there.
Sherman, Denison, Gainesville and other areas north of Dallas-Fort Worth have received the most sleet so far. But most power outages have happened in northern Dallas County and Colin County.
For the first time in 26 years, Children's Medical Center is canceling its annual holiday parade, which was scheduled for Saturday in downtown Dallas. The hospital said on its website: "We do not want to put the health and well-being of the people we serve at risk -- including our patients, our volunteers, participants and attendees."
The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon is scheduled for Sunday -- that's still on, for now, but race officials are monitoring weather conditions.
Update, 7:59 a.m. Friday: De-icing facilities are operational and airlines are conducting de-icing operations for every departure, D/FW International Airport says. Airlines at D/FW have canceled more than 330 departing flights. Roadways and overpasses at D/FW Airport have been treated.
Meanwhile, at Dallas Love Field, Southwest Airlines is reporting more than 50 cancelations, according to airport officials. Delta, United and Seaport Airlines have canceled all flights out of Love Field until noon, the airport says. Make sure to check your flight status before you head to either airport.
Update, 7:43 a.m. Friday: The power outages are growing. About 240,000 are now without power, Oncor says. That's up from 200,000 just an hour ago.
Update, 7:29 a.m. Friday: DART has had to stop light rail service due to the weather. DART says it’s using buses on the rail routes. DART says it started experiencing issues around midnight and the situation got worse overnight. Meanwhile, TRE and DCTA’s A train are experiencing delays, sometimes up to 50 minutes behind schedule.
Update, 7:01 a.m. Friday: Many school districts are closed across North Texas. Among the districts closed: Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, Plano ISD, Irving ISD, Denton ISD, Richardson ISD, Garland ISD, Highland Park ISD, Frisco ISD, Keller ISD, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. Many colleges are closed, as well, including UT-Arlington, SMU, UNT, UT-Dallas, Collin College, Dallas County Community College District and Texas Women's University. Check your local school or college website for details.
Update, 6:52 a.m. Friday: The city of Dallas has announced a delayed opening due to the weather. City offices will open at 10 a.m. The city is in Ice Force 1 mode, with 38 trucks and 100 personnel involved. City trucks spread sand and salt on overpasses and bridges throughout the day yesterday.
Meanwhile, Dallas County offices are closed today. Offices are also closed in Collin County and Denton County.
Update, 6:46 a.m. Friday: About 200,000 customers are currently without power in North Texas, according to Oncor. Most of the outages have been reported on the eastern side of North Texas, including Dallas County and Collin County. To report outages, visit Oncor's Storm Center site.
Update, 6:39 a.m. Friday: Thousands of runners have been preparing to participate in Sunday's MetroPCS Dallas Marathon. Now the weather threatens the race. (For now, the race is on.) How are they feeling? KERA's Stella M. Chavez talked with some of the runners for this story.
UPDATES FROM THURSDAY
Update, 11:25 p.m. Thursday: As we head into the overnight hours, expect temperatures to dip into the 20s across North Texas. Temperatures will remain in the upper 20s through Friday. The winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. Friday.
Expect a mix of freezing rain and sleet overnight tonight. Combine the precipitation with freezing temperatures and that means overpasses, bridges and roads will be slippery in the morning.
Many school districts are closed Friday, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano and Denton ISDs. Richardson, Irving and Highland Park ISDs are also closed.
Dallas County offices will be closed Friday. Dallas city officials have said that city offices will be open Friday.
Several accidents were reported across Dallas-Fort Worth Thursday night. Trucks and plows were out in force throughout the evening, sanding and salting roads.
Update, 11:09 p.m. Thursday: It's the battle of sleet vs. freezing rain. Sleet is better since it won't cause as many issues with power lines and trees. Shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said it was expecting 1 to 2 inches of sleet north of Interstate 20. Sleet is covering most areas, which is "good news for the power grid" compared to ice, the weather service said.
At the moment, light freezing rain mixed with sleet was reported across North Texas. Elevated surfaces are covered with ice. But, in many areas, temperatures close to the ground remained warm enough to prevent ice from accumulating on most surfaces.
But there are concerns of "significant icing" in Collin and Grayson counties and in areas to the east of Dallas-Fort Worth that are getting more freezing rain than sleet -- that is likely to cause tree damage and power outages.
Update, 11:01 p.m. Thursday: Earlier this evening, Dallas’ Department of Street Services sanded its first route. Icing was reported in the 8800 block of Camp Wisdom Road on the city’s southwest side.
In Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported several accidents thanks to icy overpasses. Seven vehicles piled up about 9 p.m. on eastbound Interstate 20 in Forest Hill, and a rush-hour wreck involved about 15 vehicles on State Highway 121 in Grapevine, police reported. Cleanup on the Forest Hill accident, which included two big rigs, continued late into the night, the newspaper reported.
Also, emergency crews in Forest Hill were treating a woman who fell from I-20 onto railroad tracks below, the Star-Telegram reported. She was not in a vehicle when she fell, police chief Dan Dennis said.
Dallas city offices plan to be open Friday. The Dallas Zoo and Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park will be closed Friday and Saturday.
Update, 10:37 p.m. Thursday: If you’re in the western parts of North Texas, you’re more likely to see sleet. As you head east, you’re more likely to get freezing rain. Through 11 p.m., an inch of sleet is possible from Graham to Bowie in counties northwest of Fort Worth. Closer to the metro area, a half-inch of sleet and a half-inch of ice are possible west of a line from Comanche to Cleburne to Denton to Sherman. Meanwhile, a tenth of an inch of ice is possible in Dallas County, the southeastern part of Tarrant County, the eastern part of Collin County and in counties east and south of Dallas.
Update, 9:21 p.m. Thursday: Several school districts have announced they will be closed Friday. Districts that have canceled classes include Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Denton ISD, Arlington ISD, Plano ISD, Irving ISD, Richardson ISD, and Highland Park ISD. Several others have announced closings. Some school districts say they will wait until Friday morning to make decisions on closures.
Update, 7:55 p.m. Thursday: The city of Dallas sent out this statement: "Despite conflicting reports, the city of Dallas is open for business tomorrow. We will be monitoring the weather situation." The Dallas school district, however, is closed Friday. Dallas County also decided to shut down Friday.
Update, 7:26 p.m. Thursday: As of 6 p.m., light freezing rain mixed with sleet was reported across Dallas-Fort Worth. But ground temperatures remained warm enough to prevent ice, the National Weather Service said.
Near downtown Dallas, cars sitting in parking lots around 6 p.m. were covered by thin layers of ice and rain, a mixture that ice scrapers could easily scrape off.
Light freezing rain is expected to continue falling through midnight.
A quarter inch of ice is expected to cover the ground across much of Dallas-Fort Worth, with up to a half-inch forming in northern counties, including Collin and Denton.
Update, 5:04 p.m. Thursday: Dallas ISD is canceling school Friday "in an abundance of caution." All events and activities on Friday and Saturday have been canceled, too. All Dallas County offices will be closed Friday, as well.
Also, for the first time in 26 years, Children's Medical Center is canceling its annual holiday parade, which was scheduled for Saturday in downtown Dallas. The hospital said on its website: "We do not want to put the health and well-being of the people we serve at risk -- including our patients, our volunteers, participants and attendees."
Update, 4:43 p.m. Thursday: All Dallas County offices will be closed Friday. County judge Clay Jenkins says anyone hoping to do county business Friday will have to wait. County buildings will be locked. He expects things will be back to normal Monday, weather permitting.
“Our road and bridge crews are cycling on and off so that they’ll get some sleep and we expect this will be a two- to three-day winter weather impact,” Jenkins told KERA's Bill Zeeble. “And we expect that the overpasses may become somewhat treacherous as early as 9 o’clock this evening.”
Update, 4:27 p.m. Thursday: If you’re driving area toll roads as you head home tonight, you might see sand spreaders driving along with you.
The North Texas Tollway Authority’s Michael Rey says crews began deicing before rush hour began but portions of the Sam Rayburn and North Texas tollways are already slick.
By late afternoon, there weren’t major accumulations of ice. But conditions are subject to change.
“Whatever comes down be it freezing rain or sleet or even snow it’s going to be very, very, very slick,” Rey told KERA's Shelley Kofler.
The NTTA is asking drivers to give sand trucks some space. They disperse sand across three lanes as they move, so if you try to pass the trucks, you’ll be blasted with some of that sand.
NTTA trucks will be working on the toll roads’ trouble spots throughout the night.
Update, 3:22 p.m. Thursday: The city of Dallas and Texas Department of Transportation say they're rushing to prevent icy road conditions.
TxDOT spokesman Tony Hartzel said that road crews are applying an anti-icing agent to pretreat major roadways in Dallas, Denton and Collin counties, along with bridges and overpasses in Rockwall, Ellis, Kaufman and Navarro counties.
Dallas officials say the city has sand, salt and the ice-preventing agent to apply as needed. Spokesman Frank Librio says they plan to concentrate on bridges, overpasses, intersections and major thoroughfares starting from the city center outward. Fire stations, hospitals and public transportation routes also will be a priority.
Both the city and TxDOT urge motorists to avoid any travel unless it's absolutely necessary.
Update, 3 p.m. Thursday: We’re getting a better idea of how much ice could cover Dallas-Fort Worth, and a few miles could make a big difference. For example, much of Dallas could get about a quarter of an inch of ice, while Plano could get at least a half an inch, according to the National Weather Service.
Collin and Denton counties could be covered with a half an inch of ice. Meanwhile, the northern parts of Dallas County – Richardson and Garland – and much of Tarrant County will get a quarter of an inch of ice.
Expect significant ice to cover the High 5 interchange in Far North Dallas, as well as both the Fort Worth and Dallas Mixmasters.
Update, 2:26 p.m. Thursday: Remember the snow storm that wreaked havoc on North Texas roadways in the days leading up to the Super Bowl two years ago? An official at the National Weather Service in Fort Worth says road conditions from the half-inch of freezing rain expected to hit North Texas later today could be worse.
NWS meteorologist Victor Murphy told The Associated Press that the freezing rain will fall for as long as nine hours. The 3 inches of snow that fell before the Super Bowl in Arlington in 2011 came over three days.
Murphy told the AP that ice can prove more problematic than snow. His biggest concern is power outages that could come when ice-coated tree limbs fall on power lines.
Update, 2:02 p.m. Thursday: Earlier this afternoon, temperatures were below freezing north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth -- along a line from Stephenville to Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport and up through Sherman and Denison. But temperatures will drop this afternoon throughout North Texas.
Tonight, temperatures will dip into the 20s throughout all of North Texas – Graham in Young County could get as low as 20 degrees.
Rain is falling in some parts of North Texas – that rain is expected to turn into freezing rain and sleet later this afternoon and into the evening. Freezing rain and sleet will continue into Friday morning.
The National Weather Service says that the area hardest hit will be north of Dallas-Fort Worth, including Sherman, Denison, Gainesville, Bonham and Paris. Those areas could experience significant travel issues on roads and power outages.
Roads will still be icy in Dallas-Fort Worth. Expect up to a fourth of an inch of ice on roads across the metro area.
Here’s the weather service’s 1 p.m. video update:
Update, 12:52 p.m. Thursday: In Denton, the University of North Texas is closing at 1 p.m. today. The college will stay closed Friday. The closure affects all offices, libraries and classes. WebCT classes and online testing will continue as scheduled. UNT has more details.
Dallas ISD is monitoring the weather. Any decision about closing schools will be announced on the district’s website or on Twitter via @dallasschools. Earlier today, a fake DISD account said that school was cancelled Friday. As of now, DISD schools will be open Friday, the district said.
Update, 12:28 p.m. Thursday: How much ice and sleet will fall? It depends on where you live. In North Texas, Collin and Denton counties -- and other areas north of Dallas-Fort Worth -- could get the worst of the storm.
In areas north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth, the weather service expects more than a half-inch of ice on main roadways, secondary roads and all bridges – this includes Collin and Denton counties, as well as the northwestern part of Tarrant County. It also includes counties along the Red River. The weather service is also warning about power outages for the northern parts of North Texas.
Less ice is predicted for Dallas and Rockwall counties, as well as counties east and south of Dallas – in those areas, expect a fourth of an inch of ice. This includes towns such as Hillsboro, Corsicana, Canton and Stephenville. In these areas, expect travel delays and some power outages.
Once you get to Waco, Temple and Palestine, expect minor ice accumulation.
Update, 12:22 p.m. Thursday: American Airlines and American Eagle have cancelled about 500 flights in and out of D/FW International Airport through 11 a.m. Friday. Ticket reissue charges are being waived for one ticket change.
The policy is for passengers traveling to, through or from DFW, Northwest Arkansas Regional (XNA), Oklahoma City (OKC) and Tulsa (TUL) through Saturday. To change travel dates, call American’s reservations line at 800-433-7300.
Update, 12:02 p.m. Thursday: A winter storm warning is now in effect for counties north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth.
By late this morning, radar indicated light precipitation northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth -- near Bowie and Jacksboro. Much of it might not be reaching the ground, the National Weather Service said.
But the precipitation should intensify over the next few hours as the system continues to move through North Texas. The most significant precipitation should fall in Dallas-Fort Worth sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight, the weather service said.
Temperatures will fall below freezing sometime tonight.
Matt Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, expects at least a quarter inch of ice in parts of North Texas. He says temperatures may briefly rise above freezing by Sunday afternoon, when the sun may pop out again.
“I think we’ll see some much heavier freezing rain tonight, from midnight through about 8 or 9 o’clock tomorrow morning,” Bishop told KERA. “This looks like a pretty good event tonight. For the rest of the weekend, I think it’ll be pretty light, with not really any significant accumulation.”
Update, 10:39 a.m. Thursday: The National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office says to protect your plants, pets and pipes as the storm approaches.
“They need to kind of prepare today rather than tonight,” meteorologist Dan Montgomery told KERA. “By tonight, it’s already starting to freeze. Pipes, exposed pipes, the little covers that you put on your pipes outside the hose bibs. Gas the car up. It’s not going to be fun trying to pump gas if the power goes out.”
Update 10:06 a.m. Thursday: Area cities and transportation agencies are preparing for the storm. North Texas Tollway Authority says it will operate 70 dump trucks with sand spreaders, nine snowplows, six spreaders that mixes liquid de-icer and sand and 18 pickup trucks that will help respond to trouble spots. NTTA says to give snowplow and truck operators plenty of room as they cover the toll roads.
- The city of Dallas’ Department of Street Services says it has mounted sander equipment on trucks. If the ice is bad enough, the city could send out 35 sanding trucks -- and 100 employees would work 12-hour shifts.
- TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez says de-icing materials and sanding trucks are ready throughout the Fort Worth district.
- Gov. Rick Perry has activated the Texas National Guard. He’s also deployed equipment and other emergency resources to Wichita Falls and Sherman.
- Texas Department of Public Safety is discouraging travel in affected areas.
- For road conditions statewide, visit drivetexas.org.
Update, 8:30 a.m. Thursday: It’s cold out there. As of 8:30 a.m., it's in the mid-30s throughout most of North Texas. It's in the upper 20s in towns north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth. This afternoon, highs will be only in the low 30s for much of North Texas.
It’ll be a bit warmer – around 40 degrees -- in towns south of Dallas-Fort Worth, including Corsicana, Palestine and Waco. The rain that’s expected will change to freezing rain as the temperatures dip. By 9 p.m., Dallas-Fort Worth will be at or below freezing. Expect overnight lows in the mid-20s across North Texas, as well as more freezing rain.
UPDATES FROM WEDNESDAY
Update, 11:32 p.m. Wednesday: A winter storm warning remains in effect starting at noon Thursday for areas west of Dallas-Fort Worth. At 6 p.m. Thursday, the winter storm warning extends to Dallas, Fort Worth and the rest of North Texas. The warning stays in effect until 6 p.m. Friday. It appears the worst of the storm will hit counties north of Dallas-Fort Worth, including Denton and Collin counties, as well as counties along the Red River. But things could change as the storm moves in.
Temperatures were dropping quickly Wednesday night in cities north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Rain will fall midday Thursday. That will change to freezing rain and sleet Thursday afternoon and evening and through Friday morning. Expect ice and sleet to cover bridges and overpasses. Some roads might be impassable Thursday night and Friday. Up to a half-inch of ice could cover parts of North Texas.
The weather service suggests that North Texans avoid traveling Thursday night and Friday morning. Power outages are possible, as well. KERA will update this weather blog as the storm moves through the region.
Update, 3:26 p.m. Wednesday: Brace yourself for a blast of Old Man Winter. A cold front moved into the northern parts of North Texas this morning. An arctic cold front moves in tonight. Rain will begin falling midday Thursday and should turn to freezing rain by Thursday evening as temperatures fall below 32 degrees.
Expect more freezing rain -- and sleet -- on Friday. Up to a half-inch of ice is possible.
The winter storm warning is in effect starting at noon Thursday for counties north and west of Dallas-Fort Worth, including most of Denton County and the northwestern corner of Collin County. At 6 p.m. Thursday, the winter storm warning extends to the rest of North Texas, including Dallas and Tarrant counties.
The warning remains in effect for all of North Texas until 6 p.m. Friday.
The weather service says the freezing rain and ice could affect bridges, overpasses and roads, resulting in hazardous travel conditions. The ice could coat trees and power lines, too.
Temperatures will fall into the low 30s and stay there through the weekend.
How far south in Texas will the freezing temperatures go? It’s not clear yet.
But the weather service says that colder air would be preferred -- that would mean more sleet and less freezing rain. But it’s not clear yet how much precipitation will fall or where heavier bands of precipitation could land.
As of midday Wednesday, the most likely forecast calls for ice accumulation north of a line from Goldthwaite, Cleburne, Hillsboro and through Sulphur Springs.
More ice could land in Dallas-Fort Worth, including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties. The highest chances for ice are along the Red River, near Sherman, Bonham and Paris.
But areas as far south as Palestine and Temple could get some ice.
The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon takes place Sunday – marathon officials recommend that participants and volunteers dress appropriately for the weather, wearing layers that can be removed. The marathon will go on as long as weather conditions are deemed safe. The Children’s Medical Center Parade, which takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Dallas, plans to go on rain or shine, according to the hospital’s Facebook page.
If you’ll recall, forecasters predicted a winter storm for North Texas last week that didn’t materialize. But this time should be different.
The weather service produced this video about the winter storm shortly before noon Wednesday: