November 23, 2013

Sleet, freezing rain, snow expected in North Texas

Temperatures are expected to hover near freezing today and drop into the 20s early Monday.

Slippery driving conditions are on the way as a potent wintry mix is expected to layer a quarter-inch to an inch of ice and snow on North Texas roads starting today sun and persisting into Monday.

A mix of sleet and rain will start falling around midday today, changing to freezing rain and snow on Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

“By Monday afternoon, we’ll start warming up and either see the precipitation end or change back over to rain,” meteorologist Steve Fano said, noting that a winter storm warning is in effect from 6 a.m. Sunday to noon Monday.

Temperatures are likely to stay around freezing all day today, he said.

“There will be some ice Sunday afternoon and evening,” Fano said. “But the best chance for ice-slick roads will be overnight and into Monday morning. Temperatures overnight Sunday will be in the upper 20s.”

Ice accumulations will vary from a quarter-inch around Denton and McKinney to nearly an inch around Waxahachie, Fano said. Fort Worth should expect three-quarters of an inch to an inch accumulation of freezing rain, sleet and snow.

By Saturday evening, eight deaths nationwide were attributed to storm systems that drifted east from Southern California on Friday and are expected to reach the Atlantic by midweek.

In Texas, three people died and several were injured Friday night when icy roads contributed to collisions involving nine 18-wheelers and two cars on Interstate 40 east of Vega, in Oldham County.

One truck driver was killed when he left his rig and was hit by a passenger vehicle, said senior trooper Chris Ray of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Three of Willie Nelson’s band members suffered minor injuries Saturday when a tour bus skidded off Interstate 30 near Sulphur Springs and hit a bridge column. Nelson wasn’t aboard.

Many local residents decided to get a jump on the weather by stocking up at stores Saturday while all they had to deal with was the cold wind and drizzle.

With more than twice as many customers as expected, the staff was hopping at Jabo’s Ace Hardware Westcliff in Fort Worth, said Derik Cosio, a sales associate.

“We had more than 4,200 customers by 3 p.m., and last Saturday by that time we’d had about 2,000,” Cosio said.

Most of the customers left with de-icer and scrapers for their windshields, as well as coverings to protect plants, firewood and propane tanks, he said.

“We also sold a whole bunch of Christmas lights,” Cosio said.

Central Market in Fort Worth had at least a 25 percent increase in business over what was expected for the Saturday before Thanksgiving, general manager Austin Jourde said.

“The storm has made people shop early for Thanksgiving,” Jourde said. “We were ready for a big day anyway. Now it’s just a super busy day.”

Some customers who would have bought their turkeys Monday were taking them home Saturday, Jourde said.

“It looks like a lot of cold-weather cooking stuff as well — flour, canned vegetables, especially tomatoes,” Jourde said. “We’re ready, too. We think about the safety of our customers, so we have supplies of a special de-icer liquid to make our walkways safer.”

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