While the storm is not expected to be as severe as last year’s freeze, temps have dropped below freezing and will stay that way for an extended period of time.
DALLAS — This article will be updated throughout the day.
More than 25,000 customers are without power Thursday morning and many residents have reported downed trees, as sleet, freezing rain and snow hits North Texas.
The sleet started to transition to snow around 5:30 a.m. starting with the western areas of the metroplex. There is some slush on the roadways, including on the interstates. More traffic delays are building as of 5:30 a.m.
Sleet is starting to stick on the roadways. In Dallas County at the Interstate 35E split, Reporter Susanne Brunner says there is accumulation on the overpasses.
While this winter storm is not expected to be as severe as last year’s February freeze, temperatures have dropped below freezing and will stay that way for an extended period of time. The wintry precipitation is also likely to cause travel issues across the region over the next 24-48 hours.
The high for Thursday is 24 degrees. Many areas will still be below freezing for Friday and temperatures are expected to be above freezing on Saturday.
Several school districts have already canceled classes for Thursday, and some for Friday, too.
WFAA will have continuous coverage on WFAA.com and the WFAA app. Also be sure to watch Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus’ latest forecast updates each evening at 5, 6 and 10.
Viewers share photos as sleet, freezing rain falls across North Texas
As of 5:38 a.m. Thursday, at least 25,000 customers are without power. And although we are not expecting widespread outages due to issues with the power grid, there is still a possibility for outages from ice accumulations on powerlines and tree branches.
Here are the number of outages being reported in some North Texas counties:
- Collin – 6,854
- Dallas – 2,657
- Denton – 2,245
- Tarrant – 1,751
If you need to report an outage or check the status of an outage, here’s how you can notify OnCor: Text OUT to 66267 on your cell phone or tablet, download the MyOncor App or visit www.Oncor.com to Report an Outage. You can also call 888-313-4747.
Travel conditions, traffic delays
There are some traffic issues Thursday morning.
On the I-35E NB ramp to Woodall Rogers EB, a charter or commercial bus is stranded full of people. A truck is attempting to pull the bus, but there are people standing by the guardrail.
The Texas Department of Transportation strongly advises residents to stay off the roads, as the current ice and sleet make conditions unpredictable.
Here are some tips to follow if you have to get out on the roadways:
- Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
- Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
- Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows.
- Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
- If your vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction. Then straighten your vehicle.
Disaster declaration for Dallas County
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins shared that he has filed a disaster declaration due to the expected icy roads Thursday through Friday.
“This will speed help to first responders in the event our supplies or personnel are overstretched,” Jenkins tweeted Wednesday evening.
Jenkins also reiterated that the Texas power grid should be “OK,” as stated by ERCOT, and urged residents to stay off the roads if possible.
DART suspends rail service
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is suspending all rail services from Thursday through Sunday afternoon, due to the winter weather. TRE is running as scheduled.
Bus routes will still operate but do so on a Sunday schedule, which means various routes will be changed.
DART’s winter weather plans will also include shuttle bus routes between rail stations. DART’s adjusted schedule and shuttle bus routes can be viewed here.