While the storm is not expected to be as severe as last year’s frost, temperatures have dropped below freezing and will remain so for an extended period of time.
DALLAS — This article will be updated throughout the day.
More than 25,000 customers were without power Thursday morning, and many residents have reported that trees have fallen as sleet, icy rain and snow hit North Texas.
Widespread sleet began turning into snow for western parts of North Texas early Thursday. It started to decrease in that area, before subsiding later in the evening.
Here are the latest updates from across North Texas:
A winter storm warning is in effect for all of North Texas. Accumulations of sleet and snow are underway in North Texas.
Traveling will be difficult on Thursday morning due to the ice and snowfall. Ice buildup and gusts of wind on utility lines can cause power outages. Chills can lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
The warning expires at 6 p.m. Thursday, when all of the wintry weather in North Texas should drop, but cold temperatures and dangerous roads are possible into the weekend.
WFAA will have continuous coverage on WFAA.com and the WFAA app. Also, be sure to check out Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus’ latest forecast updates every night at 5, 6 and 10 a.m.
Check out meteorologist Greg Fields’ latest forecast as of Thursday afternoon:
Power outages disappear
Power outages in North Texas have gradually decreased throughout the day, from about 25,000 outages in the morning to about 18,000 outages at 4 p.m., according to Oncor’s outage map.
The outages are localized and unrelated to the Texas electrical grid, officials said.
Follow the latest outages here.
How are the roads in Dallas?
While there weren’t many cars on the road on Thursday, the few that kept getting into travel problems came.
Interstate 635 was closed in westbound lanes on Northwest Highway Thursday afternoon before crews began letting one lane pass. Also at 635, near Jupiter Road, traffic slowed as 18-wheelers struggled to get up a hill and got stuck.
In Duncanville, westbound Interstate 20 was closed at the Cedar Ridge exit. Large trucks got stuck on the hill and took time to get out of the area.
In Dallas, several trucks were hit for hours on a bridge off Interstate 30 and Interstate 45.
Tarrant County Sheriff’s Officers have also closed the road in the 6700 block of Rendon Bloodworth near Drury Cross due to icy conditions that have left several vehicles stranded.
Abbott issues disaster statement
Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster statement Thursday afternoon for 17 Texas counties, including Dallas, Denton and Ellis counties, over winter weather.
The statement includes an exemption from regulations allowing additional linemen to be deployed to the state. More than 10,000 linemen are already in Texas to help with power problems. Texas plans to bring in another 2,000 linemen.
The other counties included in the statement are Bosque, Delta, Fannin, Grayson, Hopkins, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Lamar, Navarro, Rains, Red River, Rockwall and Williamson.
DFW Airport resumes operations
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has resumed operations after being previously suspended due to weather conditions.
Operations were suspended until 11 a.m. while the runways were treated for snow and ice.
Around noon, the first American Airline flights arrived at DFW, including a flight from Houston. At approximately 12:30 p.m., DFW’s first departure was scheduled to depart, bound for Cancun, Mexico.
The latest airport effects can be found here.
Texas power grid update
State officials said in a news conference Thursday morning that Texas’s electrical grid is holding up through the winter storm this week and no power generators have gone offline.
While about 25,000 people were without power in the North Texas area due to local power outages, Governor Greg Abbott said the electrical grid has remained resilient and efficient so far.
“The power grid is performing very well right now,” Abbott said.
Texas power demand has not outpaced ERCOT’s power supply. Thursday around noon, the demand was about 64,000 megawatts, while the supply was about 84,000 megawatts.
ERCOT expects demand to peak around 8 a.m. Friday at about 68,000 megawatts, but supply should remain above that with a forecast of between 77,000-79,000 megawatts.
Check out Abbott’s full update:
Updates from all over North Texas
WFAA has reporters stationed in North Texas. Here’s what they saw on Thursday morning as snow and ice moved through the area:
500+ cancellations at DFW Airport most in the world
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport had the most canceled flights in the world on Thursday morning. According to Flight Aware, 523 flights had been canceled at DFW at 7:45 AM.
Dallas Love Field wasn’t far behind, with the 4th most cancellations at 178. Southwest Airlines had suspended all operations at Love Field on Thursday, though the airport remained open.
Major highway closures
Most roads in North Texas were treacherous Thursday morning, leading to complete closures in some areas.
In Arlington, police closed the interchange at Interstate 20 and Texas 360 due to a stalled vehicle unable to make it over the overpass. Bridges, overpasses and any elevated surfaces are all reported as slippery.
As of 7 a.m. Thursday, at least 23,194 customers were without power in Texas, most of which were local outages in the North Texas area. The failure rates had not increased from about two hours earlier, when about 25,000 customers were affected.
View the full Fault map Oncor.
And while we don’t expect a large-scale outage due to grid problems, there is still a potential for outages from ice buildup on power lines and tree branches.
If you need to report a malfunction or check the status of a malfunction, you can report it to OnCor as follows: SMS OFF to 66267 on your mobile phone or tablet, download the MyOncor app or visit www.Oncor.com to report a malfunction. You can also call 888-313-4747.
North Texas school districts have canceled classes for Thursday, and several major districts have also canceled classes for Friday.
See here for the full list of closures.
Travel conditions, traffic delays
Thursday morning there are some traffic problems.
In the driveway from I-35E NB to Woodall Rogers EB, a charter or commercial bus full of people is stranded. A truck tries to pull the bus, but there are people standing by the guardrail.
The Texas Department of Transportation strongly advises residents to stay off the road, as the current ice and sleet make conditions unpredictable.
Here are some tips to follow if you need to hit the road:
- To slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
- Keep at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
- Pay close attention to snow removal equipment and stay at least 60 meters behind snow plows.
- Be extra careful on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as these tend to freeze first.
- If your vehicle begins to slide, release the accelerator or the brakes. Steer in the direction of the skid until you regain traction. Then straighten your vehicle.
Disaster Statement for Dallas County
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he has filed a disaster statement over the expected icy roads Thursday through Friday.
“This will help first responders more quickly in the event that our supplies or staff are overstretched,” Jenkins tweeted Wednesday evening.
Jenkins also reiterated that the power grid in Texas should be “OK,” as stated by ERCOT, and urged residents to stay off the road if possible.
DART suspends train service
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is suspending all train services Thursday through Sunday afternoon due to winter weather. TRE is running as planned.
The bus lines will continue to run, but will operate according to the Sunday timetable, which means several routes will be changed.
DART’s winter weather plans will also include shuttle bus routes between train stations. DART’s revised timetable and shuttle bus routes can be viewed here.
Follow the storm and watch the snowfall here: