More snow flurries may be coming

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UNT students walk through the snow to morning classes on Highland Street Thursday.
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Friday 11 a.m.

Don’t look now, but snow may be back.

Snow flurries are making their way back to Denton and are expected to hit the city by midday today.

There will be minor accumulations in the city, but the snow will fall heavier in the northern and northwest portions of the county, and areas along the Red River will see up to an inch of snow, said Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

The snow is expected to move out of the county by mid-afternoon, Harris said. Temperatures will remain below freezing today, peaking at 31 degrees before dark. 

The ice and snow will melt tomorrow though, when temperatures are expected to reach the low 50s because of warm winds from the south, Harris said. 

Roadways remain clear today, however. County Judge Mary Horn said there was nothing to report at this time on county roads.

“We’re fine. There’re no issues,” she said. “It looks like we might have some issues down the line, but this is Texas, so keep your eye on the sky. It could change any minute.”

Jody Gonzalez, Denton County’s emergency services director, said officials are watching the western skies to see what the new line of weather could bring today.

Two area schools were closed Friday following a day of snow.

Officials with Winfree Academy Charter School and Texas Education Centers announced the closures online Friday morning. 

Winfree Academy Charter School, which has six schools in the Dallas- Fort Worth area, included one campus in Denton,  shared news on its website that it had canceled all classes Friday because of inclement weather. 

Texas Education Centers, which has four schools throughout Denton County, shared news on its Facebook page Friday that classes at its Little Elm campus were canceled because of a power outage. The outage was not related to the weather.

Earlier Friday the school posted it would delay the school opening by two hours because of the power outage but later shared news that the school  would be closed Friday. 

"We apologize for not being able to give more advance notice to parents," read a statement on the charter school's Facebook page posted about 9 a.m. "However we were promised that the power to the neighborhood would be on by [11] last night and kept praying that we'd see service restored. Unfortunately, even with multiple crews working in the area, we are still without power and water." 

The Argyle and Northwest school districts delayed classes two hours Friday due to inclement road conditions and Immaculate Conception Catholic School was closedFriday for an in-service day.

Staff Writers  Jenna Duncan, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Bj Lewis and Britney Tabor contributed to this report.

 

Friday 6 a.m.

Blowing snow that turned to packed ice on some area roadways Thursday forced the early closure of government offices and schools, caused more than 100 accidents and left motorists and pedestrians navigating hazards throughout Denton County.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid-30s later today after an overnight low near 20.  Aubrey, Argyle and Northwest ISD are adjusting schedules today. All Aubrey ISD high school and middle school athletics before school are canceled with the exception of Aubrey High girls basketball, which will meet at 7:45 a.m. Argyle ISD is delaying school two hours Friday. Buses will run two hours late. Northwest ISD will have a two-hour delayed opening.

Snow fell heavily through midday Thursday as the city of Denton and the county sent trucks loaded with sand back onto area streets in yet another round of inclement weather to hit the winter-weary region.

As much as an inch of snow had accumulated in many areas in Denton County by midday Thursday, and a slight chance of snow flurries is forecast for this morning.

Icy patches on roadways could continue to be a problem today even though temperatures are expected to climb above freezing for the first time in nearly two days, reaching 33 degrees by the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

On Thursday, the snowy onslaught caused minor accidents that tangled traffic throughout the area, including an accident in which a car struck a Denton County Transportation Authority bus near University Drive and Bell Avenue.

One pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in the 1200 block of McCormick Street. The person was transported to an area hospital but did not appear to have serious injuries, Denton Fire Department officials said.

Jody Gonzalez, Denton County’s emergency services director, said early forecasts called only for a light dusting of snow, but he said local crews responded to the unexpectedly heavy precipitation.

“This is a significant snow event,” he said Thursday. County offices were closed at noon.

County Judge Mary Horn said the main roads were largely clear throughout the day but said side roads and intersections had some problems.

“If you plan on making a stop at a stop sign, you better start slowing down well in advance,” she said.

Some local schools and colleges closed early Thursday after the heavier-than-expected snowfall began tangling traffic, but the Denton school district and the University of North Texas did not close early.

At least one school, the private Liberty Christian School in Argyle, announced it would be closed today as well. Other schools indicated they would likely wait until this morning before deciding whether to open late or close schools today.

The latest round of wintry weather came two months after an ice storm struck Denton County, closing much of the county for five days in December. And it follows a smaller round of inclement weather in the northern portion of the county that forced the closure Monday of Pilot Point and Sanger schools, Liberty Christian School and the Aubrey campus of the Texas Education Centers.

Some residents were without power briefly Thursday. In Justin, more than 450 homes and businesses were without power Thursday afternoon, although officials were not immediately clear if weather contributed to the outage. The power was expected to have been restored by Thursday afternoon.

School closings

Several area school districts — including Argyle, Lewisville and Northwest — began closing schools at about noon or shortly after on Thursday and canceling evening events.

Private or charter schools that closed early and canceled events included Denton Calvary Academy, Texas Education Centers charter schools and Selwyn College Preparatory School. Winfree Academy canceled its afternoon and night classes.

Denton, Pilot Point and Sanger schools did not dismiss early but allowed parents to pick up their children early if they wanted, officials said. Aubrey, Lake Dallas and Krum did not close early but canceled evening events.

Little Elm worked to expedite getting elementary students onto buses to allow time for the routes to be finished before older students had to be picked up, officials said.

Denton Superintendent Jamie Wilson said attendance was lower than usual Thursday, although most students were in school before the heavy snow began to accumulate.

Some parents on Facebook were reporting slippery side roads as they dropped off youngsters, and several indicated they planned to keep their children home.

Texas Woman’s University closed just after noon Thursday, and the Corinth and Flower Mound campuses of North Central Texas College were also closed at noon.

UNT canceled a speaker for its Distinguished Lecture Series, but rescheduled Iraqi veteran and gay rights activist Dan Choi to speak Monday.

Students took to the UNT Facebook page to voice their anger about the campus not closing, saying their commutes were dangerous and the school should not hold afternoon and evening classes.

Traffic problems

Icy roads resulted in several motor vehicle accidents in Denton County. Denton police had responded to at least 75 accidents, most of them minor, by noon Thursday. The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Denton County Sheriff’s Office had worked 54 accidents as of early afternoon.

Several regional cities north of Denton reported one to two accidents each and minor accumulations of snow. And several police officials reported that Denton was hit harder by the ice and snow than the outlying cities.

Corinth and Lake Dallas police said they responded to about 10 accidents during the morning traffic rush.

“Early on, we responded to several accidents and vehicles spinning out at intersections,” Corinth Assistant Police Chief Greg Wilkerson said. “I think the snow caught us off guard because we got more than we expected.”

Wilkerson said he believes the icy hazards at various intersections were caused by idling cars melting the ice and then that ice refreezing, creating icy patches. By 1 p.m., Wilkerson said much of the ice and snow was melted from increased traffic and assistance from the Texas Department of Transportation sanding trucks.

“We’re still concerned about [today] because anything that melted [Thursday] will refreeze,” Wilkerson said.

Lewisville police Capt. Jay Powell said the department responded to several accidents Thursday because of the weather.

Most roads in Lewisville were passable by noon Thursday, Powell said, but there were slippery spots that weren’t readily visible. Police had responded to 59 accidents as of mid-afternoon Thursday.

“We believe motorists are starting to feel comfortable enough to speed up a bit — then they hit these slippery areas throughout the city, causing a majority of the accidents we have seen so far,” he said.

Powell urged all motorists to drive slowly and with caution.

Work crews

Denton and Denton County sent crews out once again to help the Texas Department of Transportation work the hazardous roadways.

Denton dispatched its six sand trucks to treat the roads and intersections.

TXDOT trucks were dispatched throughout the region to help clear roads and spread sand on major roads and bridges around the smaller cities and towns.

Officials in some of the smaller cities said the major arterial roads running through the region were somewhat clear of snow and ice by noon because of the heavy traffic flowing through. They each reported minor issues and accidents.

However, officers warned that less-traveled roads and intersections were major concerns.

With temperatures expected to stay just above freezing today, the National Weather Service predicts that icy roads will continue to be a hazard.

Area officials also reported little snow accumulation in their respective cities, but they warn residents to drive with caution and to stay off the roads if they can.

“We’re hoping the roads clear up soon,” Sanger Police Chief Curtis Amyx said Thursday.

Officials from Denton County Emergency Services will continue to monitor local roadways, said Roland Asebedo, assistant chief fire marshal.

Temperatures are expected to rise Saturday, although another cold front could bring chilly temperatures again for the start of next week, officials said.

Staff writers Dawn Cobb, Jenna Duncan, Megan Gray, John D. Harden, Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, Dianna Hunt, Bj Lewis and Britney Tabor contributed to this report.


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