After only a few days of sunshine, winter weather will return to North Texas tonight.Forecasters have placed the region under a winter storm watch and say accumulating sleet and snow that could amount to 2 to 4 inches may make travel difficult by rush hour Wednesday morning."It's starting to look like we could get another significant storm like we did last week," said National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Dunn. "The good news is we will be warming up faster. We should not be socked in for days."But Dunn said temperatures will drop throughout the day Wednesday and that a wind chill below zero is likely.Dust clouds on horizonThe wintry forecast will likely mean that the cloud of dust will stay on most roadways this week.Fort Worth road crews will hold off on major cleanup until the midweek storm has passed, said Jason Lamers, a city spokesman."Once we start, it will take about a week to clean up," he said. "The city will clean every street and bridge that was sanded. For now, we are trying to manage the dust as best we can."The Texas Department of Transportation will have sweepers working to clear intersections along major freeways at the same time it is preparing for Wednesday's storm. The state agency has an "adequate supply" of magnesium chloride, the chemical used to melt ice off of roadways, said department spokesman Val Lopez. Officials ordered more of the chemical last week and believe it is less corrosive and less damaging to roadways and vegetation than salt.In Arlington, crews were still getting over the Super Bowl."Frankly, we're just trying to recover from five days of 24-hour shifts so our crews will be ready to go if we get another ice storm," said Bob Lowry, director of Arlington's Public Works and Transportation Department. The city has enough street-clearing material for another storm, he said.In Northeast Tarrant County, North Richland Hills spokeswoman Mary Peters said "we will expand our cleanup efforts" after the next storm passes.Grapevine crews were rushing to clean streets ahead of the storm."We're in the process of sweeping it," said Matt Singleton, Grapevine's director of public works.Car washes ready for delugeAnother storm also means most cars will remain dirty a little longer.Area car washes said business returned to normal on Sunday after an unusually slow week. They expect a surge in customers when the weather warms later this week."It will be swamped -- definitely -- this weekend," said Christina Espinosa of the Flagship Car Wash in Fort Worth.Staff writer Chris Vaughn contributed to this report.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698