Fort Worth

Friday afternoon snow should end by 3 p.m., but the cold air will stay

Snow blows through downtown Fort Worth

The flurries only lasted a short time and did not lead to much accumulation.
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The flurries only lasted a short time and did not lead to much accumulation.

The bitter cold weather was bringing weather phenomena rarely seen in North Texas.

In downtown Fort Worth during the lunchtime hour, snow flurries alternated with pellets of snow known as graupel for those brave enough to venture out for lunch. The snow is expected to end mid-afternoon.

Earlier Friday, the Dallas-Fort Worth area also experienced lake-effect snow flurries, something typically associated with the Great Lakes rather than North Texas.

It was just another byproduct of Friday’s arctic cold front that brought frigid temperatures and single-digit wind chills.

Farther north, road conditions were beginning to deteriorate along the Red River where heavier bands of snow were bringing totals of about a half-inch along a path from Bowie to Paris. A winter weather advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. for Montague, Cooke, Grayson and Lamar counties.

The combination of winds and extremely dry air Friday morning provided the perfect recipe for lake-effect flurries from Lake Grapevine, Lake Lewisville and Lake Texoma, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Cain. The weather service detected lake-effect flurries on radar as far south as Johnson County.

“The air is cold enough, the wind is blowing in the right direction and there’s just enough moisture,” Cain said. “It’s just an oddity. But it’s not going to be anything like what you see in Buffalo.”

Cain is talking about Buffalo, N.Y., where the lake-effect creates major snowstorms. In November 2014, snowstorms rolling in off Lake Erie dumped almost seven feet of snow on Buffalo.

The lunchtime snow was expected to be gone by 3 p.m. Friday. A cold night will follow, with temperatures expected to plunge to 17 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport by early Saturday.

Officially, DFW Airport had only received a trace of snow Friday morning. That was all that fell for the entire winter last year when a trace was recorded on Dec. 28, 2016. The last significant snowfall occurred on March 3-4 of 2015 when 3.5 inches was recorded at DFW Airport.

Forecasters were also predicting Friday’s high would reach 27 at DFW Airport, which would set a record for the lowest maximum temperature on Jan. 6, beating the previous record of 29 degrees in 1970. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 30s on Saturday and climb to the 70s by Tuesday.

So far the cold has led to two people in Tarrant County being hospitalized for exposure to the cold, according to MedStar.

At DFW Airport, the weather conditions weren’t causing any significant problems for flights, though planes were being de-iced before takeoff.

Staff writer Mark David Smith contributed to this report, which contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

Spreading a briny mixture onto dry roads now makes them more resistant to freezing over if precipitation comes.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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