* WINTER STORM WARNING for parts of West-Central Texas, all of Northwest and North Texas and parts of the Hill Country. This includes Odessa, Midland, Lamesa, Big Spring, Snyder, Sweetwater, San Angelo, Abilene, Brownwood, Stephenville, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Dallas, Denton, McKinney, Sherman, Pairs, Canton, and Hillsboro. Dangerous travel conditions continue this morning and will continue throughout the day as temperatures remain very cold and below freezing. The D/FW Metroplex now has over 125,000 without power and this is going to continue to be a problem across the region. Even after the storm ends, there may be additional tree and powerline damage today and into Saturday.
* WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for parts of the Permian Basin, West Texas, a small portion of South Texas, much of Central Texas, a small portion of Southeast Texas, and parts of East/Northeast Texas. Plainview, Levelland, Lubbock, Pecos, Acuna, Uvalde, Kerryville, San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Austin, Round Rock, Killeen (Fort Hood), Waco, Corsicana, Athens, Palestine, Bryan, College Station, Brenham, Tyler, New Boston, and Texarkana are included. Travel conditions across West Texas remain difficult this morning with impacts remaining from Thursday’s storm. Any additional precipitation this morning will only make it worse, even though only minor sleet accumulations are expected. For other locations outside of West Texas, A Winter Weather Advisory means that a glazing of ice may occur on elevated surfaces. A few bridges could develop icy spots, but overall travel should not be too impacted.
The primary batch of freezing rain and sleet that has caused so many problems overnight extends from Abilene to Lampasas northwest to Jacksboro east to Sulphur Springs and north into Oklahoma. This band continues to move northeast and dump sleet and freezing rain over areas below freezing. Additional sleet accumulations up to 1.5 inches will be possible with some ice accumulations also possible as well. There are now over 140,000 customers without power in D/FW and enough tree damage to keep the chippers busy for weeks. Many towns are impacted outside the D/FW Metroplex and the full scope of that won’t become apparent until the daytime hours.
What I can tell you is that the band of precipitation should begin moving east of the D/FW Metroplex during the 8 to 9 AM time-frame. Even after precipitation stops falling the impacts will continue throughout the day with little melting expected due to temperature remaining below freezing. As such, additional tree damage and resultant power outages will likely occur. Compared to the February 2011 Winter Storm during superbowl week in North Texas, this event will have more tree damage. While you may not think ice is heavy it will certainly weigh down trees and powerlines. Based on scanner traffic I’ve been listening to that is happening in many locations.
The High Resolution Rapid Refresh has been doing a very good job with this event. Here is its projection of what the radar may look like around 9 AM. As you can see, most precipitation is moving east of the D/FW Metroplex with freezing rain and sleet continuing across the Red River counties of Northeast Texas and rain in areas that are above freezing.
By 1 PM most of the heavy precipitation will be exiting Texas into Arkansas. There could be patches of light precipitation in the form of sleet or freezing drizzle in the eastern half of Texas where winter weather advisories are in effect. No significant travel impacts are expected, but a glazing of ice may form on a few trees. Here’s the HRRR’s simulated radar at 1 PM.
Otherwise, the main show will be over and our next concern will come into play. Temperatures will remain cold this afternoon across Texas. In areas that have received significant winter precipitation there could be record cold temperatures tonight. We’re going to take a look at morning model data, but there are some indications that some location in Northwest and North Texas could get down into the single digits tonight. If that were to happen with these widespread power outages than we would definitely have a problem. Either way, it’s going to be very cold tonight and we’ll have more on that later this morning.