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Winter weather alert lifted, but freezing fog still possible

A winter weather alert for North Texas has been lifted, but motorists should stay cautious on area roads especially after sundown when fog could develop across the region, officials said.

The alert, scheduled to end at 4 p.m., was canceled a couple of hours early when freezing drizzle seemed to have left the region, said Vick Corbelli, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Frigid temperatures had prevailed since Sunday evening when an arctic front barreled into North Texas, causing temperatures to slide some 50 degrees from the 70s to well below freezing.

Conditions worsened Monday afternoon and evening as patchy ice appeared on some bridges and roadways.

Hundreds of accidents were reported across the Metroplex early Tuesday morning, and three of them were fatal.

Temperatures were still below freezing just before 4 p.m. and even though there was no drizzle or rain, weather service officials issued a freezing fog advisory.

"It's probably going to be pretty thick tonight," said meteorologist Joe Harris, also of the weather service. "And, if you're at 32 degrees, it becomes freezing fog."

That condition, he explained, is particularly hazardous because it freezes instantly on surfaces, but it may not cling to windshields, so it can be deceiving for motorists.

"It'll be on the bridges and you won't even know it," Harris said. "Your windshield won't even get wet."

The freezing fog advisory was posted until 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the weather service.

A freezing fog advisory warns that visibilities could be reduced to less than a quarter mile. Officials urged motorists to slow down and leave plenty of distance up ahead.

Also patchy ice on bridges and overpasses could persist as long as the temperatures stay below freezing, so drivers should remain cautious on those surfaces.

Widespread fog is expected to last until about noon Wednesday and the high temperature could reach the low 50s, the weather service said.

Speed and icy road conditions contributed to the deaths of three men overnight in separate accidents, according to reports.

The first was reported at 11 p.m. Monday on the north side of Irving when a pickup truck carrying three men spun out of control and hit a large utility pole in the 5900 block of Riverside Drive, police said.

The driver, Mark Sargent, 46, of Fort Worth, died at the scene, said Officer David Tull, police spokesman.

Investigators, Tull said, believe the truck was traveling too fast for the icy road conditions.

The two passengers, he added, were hurt in the wreck; one was transported with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and the other man had minor injuries.

No other information was available, Tull said.

The second wreck was reported at 1:30 a.m. on southbound Texas 121 in Haltom City after a 2000 GMC Jimmy rolled and killed the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The driver, Juan Tapia, 20, of Fort Worth, was identified by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

Tapia wore a seat belt, but he was partially ejected, said Cpl. Cody Phillips, police spokesman.

The wreck happened on a bridge spanning Carson Road that was slick, even though it had been treated earlier to allay icy conditions, Phillips said.

Tapia, he added, may have been going too fast and that alcohol may have also contributed to the accident because drink containers were found in the wreckage.

A single-vehicle rollover accident killed a Cleburne man early Tuesday on Interstate 35W in Alvarado, police said.

Domingo Juarez, 46, was identified by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office. The office listed Giddings as his hometown, but Capt. Josh Vincent, Alvarado police spokesman, said Juarez was from Cleburne.

The wreck happened about 5:20 a.m. on northbound I-35W, north of the intersection with U.S. 67, Vincent said.

Juarez was a passenger in a 2008 Ford F-350 extended cab pickup, Vincent said.

Investigators, he added, believe the truck "was traveling at speeds too fast for the icy conditions of the roadway."

The driver lost control of the truck, which rolled several times and ejected Juarez, killing him, Vincent said.

The driver, a 44-year-old man, and another man, age 27, were taken by ground ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Vincent said.

"No charges have been filed yet," Vincent said, "but the accident is still under investigation."

MedStar ambulance service responded to numerous accidents in Fort Worth, but a tally on how many people went to the hospital was unavailable.

Officials were taking extra precautions throughout the morning.

The bridges at Interstate 20 and Texas 360 in Arlington were closed for several hours because of icing. Arlington police said at 1:15 p.m. that they had been sanded and reopened.

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