DALLAS (AP) — North Texas was starting to thaw out slightly Sunday as residents cautiously began to venture out after two days of largely staying indoors because of icy roads.
With her Christmas shopping already finished, Patricia Paz headed into the frigid air to pick up some items for herself.
"I'm tired of being home. I'm bored actually," said Paz, 23, a college student who said the roads from the suburb where she lives to the mall were fairly clear following the ice storm that hit late Friday and early Saturday.
The storm had put the Dallas area at a standstill for the better part of two days as the roads glossed over and temperatures dipped. On Sunday, temperatures rose slightly above freezing and there was even a bit of sunshine.
But it will likely be a couple of days before the ice that's coated the region melts completely. The National Weather Service says Monday's temperatures will reach into the high 30s, with 40s coming Wednesday.
"It's just a matter of us warming up eventually to help melt this ice," said National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Cain.
Cain said Sunday that there was a range of conditions on the area's highways. "The residential roads are ice skating rinks right now, the secondary roads are improving," he said.
Since Friday morning, a stretch of I-35 north of Dallas had a thick coating of ice, making driving conditions troublesome. Motorists inched along over the weekend and sometimes were at standstill for hours at a time, forcing them to either sleep in their vehicles or take refuge in shelters set up in the town of Sanger, located about 50 miles north of Dallas.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel said Sunday that the graders with special blades will break up thick ice — anywhere from 4- to 6-inches thick — along that stretch of I-35.
On Interstate 20 west of Weatherford, about 30 miles west of Fort Worth, crews worked to clear both ice and tractor-trailers that parked on the interstate as conditions deteriorated, said Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Peters.
"TxDOT crews will be working hard over the next 24 hours to clear roadways. This is Day 4 of a 24/7 operation to keep roads passable," Peters said Sunday.
He added that they were also getting reports that gas stations in that area were running out of fuel, and that TxDOT was sending fuel trucks to the area to help motorists who have run out of gas.
At least four people have died on icy roads in Texas, including one in Saturday's 10 car-pileup on Interstate 10 in West Texas, about 160 miles east of El Paso.
At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, about 400 departures were cancelled as of late Sunday morning.
At the Galleria Dallas, shoppers roamed through stores, patrons filled restaurants and dozens of ice skaters circled the mall's towering, glittering Christmas tree.
Maria Gonalzez, 46, said her 8-year-old daughter was eager to get out of the house for her skating lesson.
She added the drive wasn't too bad, with only some ice on the smaller streets, though she would have preferred snow: "With ice you feel nervous," she said.