A cold front moving into North Texas on Thursday afternoon will combine with rain and make for a wintry mix of rain and snow in Fort Worth and near-whiteout conditions west of Mineral Wells.
A winter storm watch has been issued from 3 p.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday from Jacksboro to Stephenville and points westward. Some of those areas could see up to 4 inches of snow.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, temperatures should remain above freezing but there could be a brief rain-snow mix across the area.
“It still appears the best chances of any accumulations are west of Mineral Wells,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop.
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What everyone will feel across Texas are strong wind gusts up to 45-50 mph Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. A wind advisory is in effect from 3 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday.
“I think sustained wind speeds in Fort Worth will be in the 30-40 mph range but some gusts west of Mineral Wells could be 50-55 mph,” Bishop said. “As far as accumulations west of Mineral Wells, it will probably be in grassy areas and up against buildings. It looks like it’s going to melt and blow off of roads.”
Currently, Cisco, 110 miles west of Fort Worth, is the closest place predicted to reach freezing Friday morning. The winter storm watch includes Young, Jack, Stephens, Palo Pinto, Eastland, Erath, Comanche and Mills counties.
Driving conditions could be nasty, said National Weather Service meteorologist Patricia Sanchez.
“It’s definitely going to be windy, so RVs, trucks and big vehicles will have to take that into consideration,” she said.
The Fort Worth school district said that the best way for parents to find out about potential school closings or delayed openings is with the free Fort Worth ISD Mobile App, available in the Apple and Google Play stores.
The Texas Department of Transportation announced Wednesday morning that it has begun pretreating roadways in areas expected to be affected by the winter weather.
“We’re brining the main lanes of major interstates and all access points in our district,” said Val Lopez, spokesman for the Fort Worth district of TxDOT.
Lopez said the treatment started just after rush hour and was focused on all elevated surfaces, which freeze first.
The high winds could also tear down tree branches, blow outdoor decorations around and cause wind chills to drop into the 20s Thursday night and Friday morning, Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the uncertainty in the forecast as of Wednesday morning was mainly how far east the wintry weather will extend.
The last time North Texas had a similar weather system to the one expected to hit Thursday was Christmas Eve of 2009, Sanchez said — with one critical difference.
Nine years ago, a system brought near-blizzard conditions with the same strong winds as should be seen Thursday, but it won’t be nearly as cold as the system that dumped seven inches of snow in the northern portions of Tarrant County.
“Of course we had a much colder system and temperatures (in 2009), and at this time, it’s not cold enough to be that severe,” Sanchez said.