Icy freeze expected

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Al Key/DRC
Atilio Canizales of Southern Lights replaces burned-out Christmas lights in the trees at the Courthouse on the Square on Tuesday. If city and county offices and Denton schools are closed Friday, the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival will be canceled.

National Weather Service issues winter storm warning for area

Meteorologists expect rain today to change to freezing rain by the time daytime workers and students are heading home.

Whether the cold front that arrived Wednesday afternoon will be deep enough and cold enough to bring sleet is something they had less confidence in predicting, according to Tom Bradshaw of the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

That distinction may not mean much to commuters and travelers.

“The roads will still be icy,” Bradshaw said.

But it does make a difference for power companies.

Unlike sleet, freezing rain coats power lines in a way that catches the wind “like an airplane wing,” according to Denton Municipal Electric General Manager Phil Williams, which can cause problems on lines held by older, wooden poles.

The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth issued a winter storm warning for Denton County and most of North Texas for noon today through 6 p.m. Friday.

Officials recommend that residents prepare homes and vehicles in advance of the storm, including stocking vehicles with a winter survival kit of blankets, sand, a tow rope, booster cables, water and a flashlight. Filling the gas tank helps prevent ice from forming in fuel lines.

The American Red Cross has advice on how to prepare your home for an extended power outage on its website, www.redcross.org.

Denton’s Holiday Lighting Committee will follow the closings by government offices and school districts. If the city, county and Denton schools are closed Friday, the annual community event on the Square will be canceled. Volunteers said they will update information at www.facebook.com/dentonholidaylighting.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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