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Cold front blows into North Texas

A line of thunderstorms, some severe, swept into Tarrant County early Thursday evening, the vanguard of an arctic front that could produce icy streets by Sunday.

The Thursday-night storms packed heavy rain, lightning and some pea-size hail, said Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

By 9 p.m., the storms had passed through Fort Worth and were moving southeast across Tarrant County.

In their wake, the weather service issued an urban and small-stream flood advisory because parts of the county got more than an inch of rain within an hour, Fano said.

Haslet got 1.15 of an inch and 1.63 inches fell near Fort Worth Alliance Airport in far north Fort Worth, he said. A half-inch was recorded at the weather service’s office in north Fort Worth, Fano said.

Wind gusts as strong as 35 mph were expected to follow the storms as they rolled across the Metroplex, Fano said.

Behind the winds, cold temperatures were coming.

During daylight hours on Thursday, temperatures were mild and the highs were in the mid-70s. But by 9 p.m., the temperature had plummeted into the 40s, Fano said. It was expected to slide into the mid-30s overnight.

Commuters should expect a chilly drive to work Friday morning. But streets may not be as wet as forecast earlier, Fano said.

With the strong north winds, the wind chill could make it feel like 20 to 25 degrees.

If freezing rain does fall on Friday, it will probably be in counties to the west and northwest of Tarrant. The temperature is not expected to rise above the mid-30s.

And that’s just the first round.

On Saturday, forecasters say it will be chilly and cloudy with temperatures reaching only the upper 30s.

The second wintry blast arrives Sunday.

“We’re concerned with that one because of the possibility of sleet starting as early as Sunday morning,” said weather service meteorologist Ted Ryan.

According to the forecast, a large area of precipitation is expected to move in from the west, possibly in the form of heavy sleet that may accumulate on surfaces. This might happen along a line from Paris to Dallas and south to Lampasas. Temperatures could drop to near freezing, the weather service said.

The wintry forecast was an opportunity for the Texas Department of Public Safety to urge motorists to stock up on cold-weather items in their cars: extra blankets; high-calorie, nonperishable food; bottled water; first-aid kit; charged cellphone; flashlight; extra batteries; sand or cat litter for de-icing the roadway; booster cables; tow ropes and shovel.

Staff writers Bill Miller and Domingo Ramirez Jr. contributed to this report.

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