A winter weather advisory that warns motorists of possible icy road hazards has been extended until 11 a.m. Tuesday for North Texas, officials said.
The advisory was supposed to expire at 4 p.m. Monday, but weather service officials extended it after watching an arctic cold front become more robust over the region.
Commuters should use caution around bridges and overpasses through the morning commute, the National Weather Service warned.
Scattered patches of light freezing rain were being reported in Tarrant and Johnson counties Monday evening, said Jennifer Dunn, a meteorologist in the weather service’s Fort Worth office. Most of North Texas was dry around 6:30 p.m., but with temperatures expected to remain below freezing overnight, bridges and overpasses could quickly become treacherous, she said.
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Motorists should also be on the lookout for icy patches anywhere roads may have gotten wet from sprinklers or other sources, she said.
"Temperatures will stay in the 20s, so it won't take much for that water to freeze," Dunn said.
The system was blamed for a dramatic drop in temperature overnight Sunday. It was 79 degrees Sunday at D/FW Airport, but only 29 degrees Monday morning, according to weather service data.
In Arlington, black ice was reported on ramps at the Interstate 20-Little Road/Green Oaks interchange. The Department of Transportation was being notified.
There were reports of light rain and icy bridges in southern and eastern Tarrant County. Fort Worth firefighters and police were responding to several car accidents along U.S. 287.
About 8:20 p.m., sleet or freezing rain began falling in central Arlington.
State highway officials sanded highways and bridges in Dallas, Denton and Collin counties.
Conditions were cold but dry in Tarrant County, but highway officials there decided late Monday afternoon to pre-treat some roadways and bridges as a precaution.
To that end, trucks were rolling out around 3 p.m. with magnesium chloride, an anti-icing substance, said Val Lopez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation office in Fort Worth.
Around noon, icing reportedly caused accidents that shut down the bridge spanning Lake Ray Hubbard in Dallas County.
By 3 p.m. Monday it was 32 degrees in Fort Worth, said Vick Corbelli, weather service meteorologist.
"The arctic air mass has deepened significantly," he said.
The advisory is in effect east of a line stretching south from Bowie in Montague County to Weatherford and farther south to Killeen, Corbelli said.
Patchy areas of freezing rain mixed with some sleet were possible, especially east of Interstate 35W, the weather service said.
Officials warned that precipitation could accumulate first on elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses.
The bridge for Texas 66 was closed in both directions Monday morning until emergency crews cleared the wreckage, according to Traffic.com.
Road crews with the Texas Department of Transportation office in Dallas County had already treated the bridge with salt and sand and were getting ready to do it again as soon as the wrecks were cleared, said Mark Pettit, a TxDOT spokesman.
The crews also treated the Interstate 35E bridge over Lake Lewisville in Denton County and U.S. 75 in Collin County, Pettit said.
The chances for rain or drizzle increase to 30 percent on Tuesday, with a high temperature of 40 degrees, the weather service said.
That's because southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico have unpacked a ready supply of moisture in North Texas, said Joe Harris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
Monday could have been worse -- much worse -- especially if one traveled farther north across the Great Plains.
For example, it was 12 degrees at 11 a.m. in Amarillo, 1 below 0 in Denver and 20 below 0 in Glendive, Mont.
Temperatures, however, are expected to warm up by Wednesday in Tarrant County as the front moves north.
The mercury could reach the high 50s by then, and then warm to the high 60s on Thursday, the weather service said.
The chances for rain will be 20 percent Wednesday and 30 percent Thursday, but Friday will be dry and partly sunny, with a high near 70, the weather service said.