The latest reports from the National Weather Service include Ellis County as part of an ice storm warning.
The warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Monday until noon Wednesday. The inclement weather is the result of a shallow arctic air mass moving across North Texas combining with an upper level storm system approaching from the west.
This evening, areas of light rain are expected – and that precipitation will turn into freezing rain tonight as the temperature drops below freezing.
The freezing rain is expected north of a Comanche-Weatherford-Sherman line before midnight, with the line expected to move south to a Lampasas-Hillsboro-Canton line by sunrise Tuesday.
“Some light accumulations of ice will be possible before sunrise, especially on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses,” the NWS report reads. “More significant ice accumulations will not occur until Tuesday and Tuesday night.”
The ice storm warning continues through noon Wednesday with ice accumulations averaging about a quarter inch, with some half-inch accumulations possible.
Locations to the south of the Lampasas-Hillsboro-Canton line are under a winter storm watch with a possibility of freezing rain Tuesday night and accumulations of about one-tenth inch of ice.
The NWS is predicting an end to the precipitation Wednesday morning, but temperatures aren’t expected to go above freezing until Wednesday afternoon.
“An ice storm warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring,” according to the NWS report. “Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible.”
On Monday, Oncor officials said they were preparing for the icy conditions, saying the first priority is to restore electricity to emergency public service agencies, such as police and fire departments and hospitals, in the event of power outages. The next priority is to restore power safely to as many customers as possible with each repair, they said.
The electric company also offered these tips for consumers in the event of a power outage:
•Always avoid downed power lines. Any downed line should be considered energized and therefore dangerous. Report downed lines immediately by calling the number on your electric bill and stay out of the immediate area. If you are trapped inside a vehicle, stay inside the car. Call 911 for assistance.
•Avoid debris that may conceal downed power lines and make sure there are no downed lines before allowing children out to play.
•Steer clear of Oncor crew work areas. Equipment and energized lines may be in the area that could create a safety hazard. When driving, watch for crews working along the roadways, and obey all traffic signs and directions around work areas.
•Don’t attempt to make repairs to Oncor’s electrical system or pull limbs off lines.
•Be careful when using portable heaters or other supplemental heating. Never place heaters near flammable materials or where they might tip over. Use fire screens to prevent sparks and embers from causing problems.
•Exercise extreme caution if using candles during a power outage. Always keep candles away from flammable objects and never leave them burning unattended.
•If your power goes out, don’t assume the electric company knows – call the phone number on your electric bill.
•Leave porch lights on to show Oncor crews where power has been restored.
•Be patient. When major outages occur, Oncor crews focus on restoring power to transmission lines and distribution lines that feed neighborhoods before working on distribution lines that feed directly to homes and businesses. However, be assured that Oncor crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to customers.
•To be prepared, keep flashlights, battery-operated radios, and a supply of food and water close by.
If the weather interrupts electrical service, customers are urged to call the number on their electric bill. This line is answered by an automated system designed to handle power outage calls. The most efficient way for customers to report outages is to leave all information on this system, Oncor officials said.