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Denton dodges snowstorm repeat

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan and Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writers
By Jenna Duncan and Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writers

Denton avoided a double whammy of heavy snow and ice on area roads Friday, with just a few light snow flurries scattered throughout the area after the onslaught that hit the previous day.

The heavier snow stayed north and northwest of the city Friday and had minimal impact in the northern portion of the county, falling heavier in Gainesville in Cooke County and Bowie in Montague County, said Eric Martello, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Skies were expected to clear overnight in anticipation of a warming trend today that could see highs in the low 50s.

It was a fresh change from the blowing snow and packed ice on area streets Thursday morning that had caused more than 100 accidents and forced many area schools and local government offices to close once again.

The forecast for Thursday had been for only a light dusting of snow, and heavier snowfall on Friday. But that’s par for the course in Texas, Martello said.

“Winter weather down in Texas is a lot harder to dissect,” he said.

Power outage not weather-related

At least two power outages in Denton County were not caused by the weather but forced the closure of one charter school in Little Elm.

An underground power line failure triggered a widespread outage in Little Elm overnight Thursday, affecting several hundred families, businesses and the school.

Danny Hodges, the area manager for Oncor, said the call came in at about 9:35 p.m. Thursday and it took crews a while to diagnose the problem and bring in all the necessary equipment, since the line runs under FM720.

Repairs were made during the night and crews worked through the day Friday to restore service to homes, he said.

Although the outage wasn’t related to the weather, it meant a long, cold night for some residents. The line helps power a large subdivision where the homes have electric heat. That load demand also meant the company had to restore power in stages, Hodges said.

“We watch our settings and as the [electric] load starts to settle, we bring more neighborhoods on,” he said.

At about 10:30 a.m. Friday, about 50 percent of the customers in the area had power restored, Hodges said.

While crews hoped to have power completely restored by Friday afternoon, some customers weren’t expected to see power restored until late Friday evening, according to the company’s outage map.

The Texas Education Center had to cancel classes on its Little Elm campus because of the power outage, which affected 185 students. According to the school superintendent, Lisa Stanley, the outage also triggered problems with the school’s water supply because the local water supplier had a mechanical issue following the power outage.

At first the school announced a two-hour delayed start, but when officials learned at 8:15 a.m. that power might not be restored until after 11 a.m., they canceled classes.

“With no guarantee that we would have water or electricity by 10 a.m., we simply had no choice but to cancel classes,” Stanley said.

Looking ahead

By Friday afternoon, temperatures in Denton were hovering around freezing, which helps with the road conditions, said meteorologist Martello.

“When you get up right around freezing, that’s helped a lot of the residual stuff to melt off of the roads,” he said.

Jody Gonzalez, Denton County’s emergency services director, said weather-related problems had cleared out of the area by late afternoon.

But Denton County is not completely out of the woods. This morning may bring some freezing fog, but that will clear out as temperatures warm up.

Sunday’s temperatures are expected to rise to about 54 degrees, but there is a chance of freezing drizzle after midnight, with a 20 percent chance of rain and freezing rain remaining during the day Monday.

Staff writers Britney Tabor and Bj Lewis contributed to this report.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

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