DALLAS — Temperatures in North Texas are not expected to raise above freezing Thursday, fueling concern that the light snowfall sprinkled over the region will turn to ice on roadways.
Total snowfall is expected to be around one inch for Dallas and Tarrant counties and up to two inches in north and northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. News 8 meteorologist Greg Fields said temperatures will not sail above 32º fahrenheit until Friday, meaning the snow is likely to stay.
Texas Department of Transportation staffers are dotted throughout the region monitoring road conditions, said Ryan LaFontaine, a spokesman.
"It seems like the snow is mostly blowing off the roads, so that's a good thing, but we're not letting up," he said. "We have runners and spotters out physically checking the bridges and overpasses and all of our roadways in the district."
He said TxDOT is running sand trucks in the northern sections of North Texas, particularly in Parker and Wise counties. He said crews are on standby with equipment to deice and treat frozen roads, should that become an issue.
"We're focused on the crews that we have here now, the equipment we have available to us and luckily, as of this moment, it does appear that it's at least forecasted to move out of here sometime around midday," LaFontaine said.
The city of Dallas activated its so-called Ice Force Level 1 overnight and bumped up the response to Level 2 at about 12:45 p.m. Dennis Ware, the department's interim director and the man in charge of the city's Ice Force response, said 800 routes inside the city limits are being sanded and treated for ice. The first level only sands 350 routes.
The Fort Worth Police Department said they were responding to 36 accidents at about 9:40 a.m. and estimated a total of 155 since midnight. The Fort Worth Independent School District announced it would release high schoolers at noon, the middle schools at 1:15 p.m. and elementary schools at 2:25 p.m.
The Lewisville Independent School District also announced early releases. High schools will release at 1 p.m., middle schools at 1:45 p.m. and elementaries at 2:30 p.m.
Dallas and Denton ISDs have canceled after school activities.
A winter weather advisory issued for Wise, Denton, Collin and Parker counties was extended until 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Planes are having to be de-iced at both Dallas-Love Field and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to airport spokespeople. Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, said 150 arrivals and departures were impacted because of the de-icing, the majority of which are American Eagle flights.
A light snow started to fall at about 6 a.m. in the Parker County area and traveled to the Dallas area just before 8 a.m.Just after 8 a.m., the snow was falling across most of North Texas.
Meteorologist Greg Fields warned drivers to stay cautious on the roads, especially in Parker, Wise and Denton counties.
"They are slick and visibility is not good," said Erin Twitty Johnson, a Dallas resident, of road conditions.
At about 6:15 a.m., wind chills in areas west of Dallas-Fort Worth were below zero. In Vernon, about three hours northwest of Dallas, the wind chill was -3 degrees.
The light snow will likely begin to taper off and move to the east at about 2 p.m. and temperatures will rise to a high of 29 degrees in the later afternoon.