Overnight snowfall adds to already miserable situation

With the Super Bowl just a couple days away at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, overnight snowfall made an already dangerous situation worse for North Texas residents.

Roadways, still treacherous from the ice deposited earlier in the week, were proving to be hazardous across the Dallas-Fort Worth area with motorists finding traction difficult in many areas.

The snow began falling at about midnight in most parts of North Texas and heavy snowfall was still falling across the area until about 11 a.m. A winter storm warning has been extended until 4 p.m. for parts of North Texas.

Between midnight and 8 a.m., Fort Worth police received 59 reports of wrecks in the city. Eleven were deemed as major, 45 as minor and three hit-and-run collisions. In Dallas police reported 29 minor accidents and 26 major accidents since midnight.

Highway cameras for the Texas Department of Transportation already were showing vehicles struggling to negotiate slick overpasses and in some places vehicles were unable to do so.

The Texas Department of Transportation has had crews treating the roads in Tarrant County since early Friday morning.

Fourteen snowplows have been blading off the accumulating snow in Tarrant County before it becomes ice while crews follow behind and treat the streets with magnesium chloride since about 1:30 a.m., Michael Peters, a TxDOT spokesman said.

"Traffic is moving very slowly but the roads are passable," Peters said.

TxDOT announced Friday morning that it was sending 44 additional snowplows to the Dallas-Fort Worth area from Childress.

"We'll have nearly 70 snowplows working by late morning," TxDOT spokeswoman Jodi Hodges said. "We always address our heaviest-traveled roadways first so it will be interstates and major highways, and we’ll continue to other highways. When we plow, it's in tandem. It's every lane across. Then we'll follow up with magnesium chloride to try to get to a thinner layer of ice and snow. There’s no way we can clear all the snow before nightfall, but we can make a major dent in it."

TxDOT has had over 500 employees working in 12 hour shifts since the inclement weather began early this week and has already placed orders for supplies to prepare for next week's milder weather system, Peters said.

But crews are facing a formidable task.

In its online snow report, the weather service said that Fort Worth had 2.2 inches and that Dallas had received 4.3 inches by 6 a.m.

Area residents were posting snow totals on the weather service's Facebook page, with one person in Hurst reporting 7.03 inches on the ground. Another person reported 6.25 inches on the ground in Glenn Heights south of DeSoto, while 3.25 inches of snow was reported in Joshua in Johnson County. A poster in Azle reported 3 inches.

He said the airport has its four main runways treated and plowed.

"DFW snow crews have been successfully maintaining the Airport’s runways, taxiways and roadways," Magana said in a release. He said roughly 300 departures were canceled at DFW today.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines said it has canceled 739 flights systemwide this morning, with 630 arriving and departing flights canceled at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The cancellations include flights operated by American's regional carrier, American Eagle.

American spokesman Tim Smith said the carrier plans to operate about half of its schedule at D/FW until around 2 p.m. when it then expects to ramp up gradually to full operations.

Magana advised airline passengers to check with their airline on cancellations or delays. He said the roads at the airport are passable.

"The flyover bridges from International Parkway to the airport's five terminals are all open," he said.

At 6:30 a.m., runways at Dallas Love Field were reportedly closed because they were covered in deep snow and Southwest Airlines said it has suspended its Love Field operations until at least noon. By 11 a.m., Love Field had re-opened for private aircraft but was still closed to commercial planes.

Earlier today, airports in Houston reportedly were closed to all flights because of icy conditions, but by 11 a.m., partial flight operations had resumed there.

Dallas-based Luminant, the largest generator of electric power in Texas, said this morning that it is back to full operating mode after having operations at four of its generating units curtailed Wednesday by the extreme cold and icy weather.

"Things are stable throughout our operation this morning," Luminant spokesman Allan Koenig said. "All four units are back online as of 10 p.m. last night."

Luminant experienced problems at two coal-fired units and two natural gas-fired units.

The Trinity Railway Express and T buses were running Friday morning, but with delays, said Joan Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Buses were running 30 to 60 minutes behind schedule and may have to skip stops on roads considered impassable because of snow and ice, she said.

Molly the Trolley was still shuttling visitors between downtown Fort Worth, the Stockyards and the Cultural District, but the intervals between stops were longer than usual, she said.

The TRE was running 20 and 30 minutes behind schedule, she said.

Staff writers Jack Z. Smith, Deanna Boyd, Andrea Ahles, Chance Welch and Alex Branch contributed to this report.

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