Winter storm hits region, leaving roads coated with ice
Residents awoke this morning to school closings, ice-covered roads and temperatures hovering at 12 degrees with a wind chill below zero after a winter storm passed through North Texas.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, grid operator for most of Texas, asked electric consumers to limit their electric use as much as possible on Monday morning to avoid the potential of rolling blackouts due to overload of the grid, according to a news release. As of 9 a.m., no rolling blackouts were reported.
Freezing precipitation that began Sunday morning and continued well into the afternoon resulted in hazardous driving conditions across Denton County.
By 10 p.m. Sunday, school district officials in Denton, Aubrey, Argyle, Pilot Point, Ponder, Little Elm, Krum, Sanger, Lake Dallas, Cross Roads and Lewisville had announced school would be closed today due to inclement weather. North Central Texas College campuses in Flower Mound and Corinth were expected to be closed Monday. Denton Calvary Academy also will be closed
Texas Woman's University and the University of North Texas planned to open at noon.
Denton County offices announced this morning that offices would open at noon.
Tiny Tykes Learning Center also announced it would be closed today. First United Methodist Church of Denton announced it would be closed as is Denton Bible Church
Just before noon Sunday, ice drizzle covered windshields before thunderstorms dropped ice pellets across Denton County, both north and south.
Jody Gonzales, Denton County Emergency Services Director, said conditions were worse in the southern portion of the county early Sunday. The icy roadways contributed to several accidents and many motorists were stranded when their vehicles slid off the pavement or were unable to climb hills, he said.
Denton police worked 32 accidents between 10 a.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. today and assisted 30 motorists from ditches, police spokesman Ryan Grelle indicated in an e-mail.
Traffic was moving slowly, typically at speeds for 5 to 10 mph, he said.
By early today, traffic was light on Interstate 35E between Lewisville and Denton with motorists going about 40 miles per hour without problems.
There were fewer reports of problems in the northern half of the county, Gonzalez said, most likely because the area is less populated and traffic is typically light on Sundays.
City and state sand trucks began dousing bridges with sand as the wet streets soon turned slushy with temperatures hovering in the mid-20s. The Texas Department of Transportation began spreading sand as early as 3 a.m., Gonzalez said.
National Weather Service forecasters initially expected freezing drizzle, but by morning, the forecast called for up to a half-inch of accumulation from the ice. By just after 1 p.m., southern Denton County roads were covered in a sheen of ice.
Labled “Winter Storm Titan,” the arctic cold front created a relatively rare phenomenon in Denton County, adding terms like “thunder sleet” to the wintry lexicon. Forecasters issued a winter storm warning in effect until 9 p.m. Sunday for Denton and some surrounding counties.
Residents reported waves of ice pellets shortly after hearing thunder from as far north as Sanger, west as Decatur, east as Little Elm and south as Lewisville, Flower Mound and Justin, according to Facebook posts.
Although the forecast called for an end to precipitation by Sunday night, temperatures were expected to drop into the teens and motorists were advised to use caution.
The forecast calls for a high of 32 degrees today, and skies are expected to remain clear through the rest of the week.
NBC5 contributed to this report.