What to Know
- Low temperature of 13, recorded before dawn at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, is lowest in seven years
- Wednesday's high to reach 33; warm-up expected Thursday
- Some North Texas schools to begin on a delay Wednesday
The South awoke on Wednesday to a two-part Arctic mess. First came a thin blanket of snow and ice, and then came the below-zero wind chills.
The snowfall sabotaged morning rush hour even before it began, sending cars crashing into each other on major thoroughfares throughout the region. Officials urged people to stay off the slick roads if possible, and to bundle up and wear layers of clothing if they ventured outside.
The same slippery conditions and dangerous wind chills swept across several southern states Tuesday, shutting down interstates, triggering highway crashes, closing airport runways and prompting widespread school closings. Snow fell in a wide band that stretched from southeastern Texas all the way to western Massachusetts.
The blast of wintry weather impacted areas east and southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth overnight Monday, covering the area with a thin blanket of snow or ice.
The greatest concern Wednesday was the cold air in place. NBC 5's Grant Johnston forecast an official low temperature of 14 — close to the record of 12 — with wind chills dipping below 0 in some spots. Areas near the Red River could be down in the single digits overnight Tuesday night.
Some schools were on delays Wednesday due to the winter weather. Click HERE for a full list.
ICE PARALYZES SOUTHEAST TEXAS
The latest news from around North Texas.
In Houston, hundreds of crashes were reported Tuesday as the region dealt with icy roads and drivers not used to negotiating slick spots. KPRC reported spin-outs were not hard to find.
"We can handle wet, we can handle cold but when you get real cold with water and you put ice on these roads, it's very dangerous. It's hard for folks to move around," Judge Bob Hebert, of Fort Bend County, said.
Officials and county leaders urged people across Southeast Texas to stay put and avoid the risk of venturing outdoors.
"We're driving with our lights on the freeway trying to slow people down and they are passing us," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told KPRC. "If you see a police car going 35 miles an hour with its lights on you're required A, not pass it and B, have some common sense."
Potentially hazardous wind chills also prompted schools to close Tuesday across Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri.
Hundreds of flights were canceled at Texas airports, where frigid temperatures left runways dangerously icy. Forecasters warned mariners along the Texas coast to be on guard for gale-force winds.
"We've got numerous crashes on the interstates and surface roads," Louisiana State Trooper Glenn Younger said Tuesday morning from Bossier City, Louisiana, just across the Red River from Shreveport.
"You can't see the black ice; it's invisible," said Younger, who had been driving roads since 5 a.m. Tuesday and could feel the back end of his patrol car begin to slide at times.
"You want to just barely touch the brakes in that situation," he said. "A lot of people get scared and they want to jam on the brakes, and that makes it worse."