As North Texas Ice Thaws, Problems Persist

Rough roads, falling or flying ice, and burst pipes could be issues

By Greg Janda
|  Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013  |  Updated 2:47 PM CDT
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The freezing and thawing is doing some major damage to the roads, causing big pothole problems.

Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News

The freezing and thawing is doing some major damage to the roads, causing big pothole problems.

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As an icy North Texas continues to thaw, residents are still facing weather-related problems on the roads and at their own homes.

Flying, Falling Ice Dangers

The sheets of ice on the roofs of both vehicles and buildings can present a major hidden danger for North Texans.

On Monday, NBC 5 reported on Amy Campi, whose vehicle was damaged by ice that flew from an SUV in a neighboring lane.

“I see ice flying through the air, like a big sheet of ice, like I tried to swerve, and I couldn't get out of the way,” said Campi. “There was glass all over the side of the car, my lap and the passenger seat.”

Photos and Videos

Must-See: Ice Falls Off Roof of Great Wolf Lodge

"Good day everyone! I don't know if y'all are still showing videos of ice falling off roof tops but here is a video from Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine Sunday afternoon." (From NBC 5 Viewer Rachel E.)

Drivers Face Pothole Problems

TxDOT crews have to move from scraping ice to fixing potholes that have popped up as North Texas thaws.
More Photos and Videos

Campi had minor injuries from the incident but hopes the situation will remind others to clean ice from their cars.

"This takes an extra 15 minutes or so to clean the ice off your car, and to prevent injury to someone else,” said Campi. “I feel very lucky that I was not hurt like seriously."

Others haven't been as lucky.

Severin Sampson said he doesn't want anyone else to get hurt like he did while working as a stagehand who was preparing for the halftime show at Super Bowl XLV in 2011.

Sampson said he was outside the stadium when a huge chunk of ice fell off the roof of what was then called Cowboys Stadium - now AT&T Stadium.

"The boulder was about the size of a Volkswagen and the sheet of ice behind the boulder was about as big as the infield,” he said. "And there was no way for me to get out from underneath it."

It fractured Sampson's skull, ruptured his eardrum, and injured his brain, he said.

Sampson is involved in a lawsuit against the Dallas Cowboys and the stadium designers surrounding the falling ice incident.

To combat potential issues from ice falling from building roofs, workers have been removing the thick sheets of frozen ice from buildings in Plano and other cities.

Rough Roads

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Icy patches have continued to plague drivers on North Texas freeways even on Wednesday, nearly a week after the first icy precipitation fell on the region. Texas Department of Transportation crews are continuing their operations of scraping away rough "cobblestone ice" on various bridges and overpasses. But even as those patches are cleared from the main roadways, many shoulders and other service roads remain iced over.

Once the ice is cleared, highway crews will have to tackle another big problem -- potholes. Drivers have noted some trouble spots as early as Wednesday morning.

Driver Ashley Thomas was headed home to Denton from Fort Worth when she hit a pot hole in the center lane of northbound Interstate 35E just south of Business 121. 

“It sounded like the street was just cracking.  I thought my whole front end was going to come off. It was bad,” said Thomas.

She safely made it up 35E and off the next exit to call police for help and call for a ride.

“It jerked the wheel. Someone could easily lose control. It’s dangerous. Watch where you're going,” said Thomas.

Starting Wednesday, Dallas District TxDOT crews will transition from ice cleanup to sweeping and emergency repairs that require road closures. Fort Worth TxDOT hopes to begin repair work by the end of the week.

“It’s surprising. You see a little hole, you don't think much of it, but the damage can be done,” said Service King Manager Jeff White.

White says, in seconds, a pothole can cost drivers a bill in the thousands.

“A new tire, which can be $300-400 alone. Alignment is $100 here, $100 there. Suspension components are anywhere from $1000-2000, depending how hard you hit it, how fast you were going. It’s nothing to mess around with,” said White.

Thomas hopes the potholes are fixed before it costs someone much more.

“It’s going to cause someone to lose control. Luckily, God was watching over me, and I have two flat tires versus having my life. I'm thankful,” said Thomas.

Right now, the City of Fort Worth is focused on clearing remaining cobblestone ice, so it can see any pothole issues.  Residents are encouraged to report pothole problems by calling Public Works or reporting the issue online.

In Dallas, Street Services is on pothole patrol and is assigning repair crews as needed.

Thaw Might Pop Pipes

As the temperatures begin to warm to above-freezing levels, homeowners may start to see problems with their pipes.

A plumber that spoke to NBC 5 said he hasn't gotten many calls yet for people with burst pipes.

However, in the coming days, he said there's likely to be a pipe popping problem as water may have frozen and expanded in portions of the pipe, increasing water pressure and possibly leading to cracks in the metal.

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