Motorists should stay alert to weather changes this weekend, particularly before dawn and through midday Sunday, meteorologists said.
An Arctic front is moving south over the central U.S. and was expected to arrive late Friday, according to Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. Temperatures will drop slowly, and there's not enough moisture in the atmosphere to cause big travel troubles.
"It's not a big ice storm," Fano said.
But that doesn't mean the individual motorist won't be affected. Overnight Saturday into Sunday, any accumulated moisture will freeze.
“That happens once temperatures are in the 20s,” Fano said.
The freezing temperatures shouldn’t affect power lines, or even most roads. However, bridges, overpasses and other trouble spots could get icy, Fano said.
The cold front won't feel like an Arctic blast, either. Instead, temperatures will remain in the upper-30s and lower-40s during the day Saturday, dropping into the 20s by Sunday morning.
On Sunday, a second rush of icy, Arctic air should arrive and dry out the lower atmosphere. As a result, any icy spots likely will evaporate during the day even though temperatures will remain frigid, Fano said.
By mid-afternoon Sunday, any icy travel spots should improve, he said.
The Texas Department of Transportation began pre-treating highways in anticipation of the freezing weather to help motorists.
By Friday afternoon, the department’s trucks had traveled miles of both interstate and state highways leaving a thin coating of brine solution on the roads. The solution lasts for seven to 10 days and helps prevent ice from sticking, said TxDOT spokesman Ryan LaFontaine.
“Because it lasts, we can get out and cover more ground,” LaFontaine said.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the 30s during the day and dip into the 20s at night through early next week, forecasters said.
The Monsignor King Outreach Center, 300 S. Woodrow Lane, is opening nightly through Wednesday for those who need shelter from the frigid temperatures. The shelter opens at 6:30 p.m. and also is serving dinner this week.
Betty Kay, the shelter's executive director, said the shelter will remain open for 24 hours when daytime temperatures stay below freezing. To volunteer at the shelter, email MKOCVolunteer@gmail.com.
The shelter at the Salvation Army, 1508 E. McKinney St., is also open nightly beginning at 5 p.m.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881.
FEATURED PHOTO: Drivers head north along Interstate 35 near West University Drive as signs warn them of the presence of work trucks preparing the roads for possibly wintry precipitation this weekend as a cold front moves through the area. Jake King/DRC