A second powerful winter storm in a week roared through parts of the nation’s midsection on Wednesday, bringing biting winds and dumping a foot of snow on areas still digging out from last week’s major storm.
Ellis County residents awoke to freezing rain that coated windshields, car doors and roads, making the morning commute a challenge.
By 7:30 this morning emergency crews were responding to a number of traffic accidents caused by the slick roads.
Alvarado, Avalon, Ennis, Ferris, Italy, Lancaster, Maypearl, Midlothian, Milford, Palmer, Red Oak, Rice and Waxahachie school districts cancelled classes today due to the weather, which is expected to bring as much as 6-inches of snow in parts of Ellis County later today. County offices delayed opening until 10 this morning for non-essential personnel. The Waxahachie Senior Center closed; however, the city opened at normal hours.
As the second winter blast to hits Texas in consecutive weeks, electric users are being advised to conserve power. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas urged conservation Wednesday. Extreme winter weather a week ago forced utilities to do controlled electrical outages to keep up with increased demand.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport canceled about 120 departures. Spokesman David Magana says DFW airport anticipated operating a full schedule later Wednesday when conditions were expected to improve.
The storm that rolled into Oklahoma Tuesday had dropped about a foot of snow by Wednesday morning in Bartlesville, about 50 miles north of Tulsa, and another 9 inches across the state line in Siloam Springs, Ark., said Michael Lacy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tulsa. He said strong winds created blizzard conditions that limited visibility and made travel hazardous.
Heavy snow was reported in parts of Kansas and Texas, where many school districts cancelled classes in anticipation of yet another round of unusually icy weather.
In northeast Oklahoma, Sandra Barrows was stuck at a Salvation Army shelter after running out of money for hotel rooms. She was hoping to get a bus ticket out of Tulsa, where she got stranded a week ago on her way to a new job in St. Louis, before the third storm in a week hit the area.
But after the record 14-inch snowfall that kept students out of school for at least six days, halted garbage pickup and kept some roads impassable, the city of 390,000 was bracing for the worst. On Tuesday, Tulsa was just inches from breaking its winter snowfall record of 25.6 inches that was set in the 1923-1924 season.
“You’re trapped,” the 47-year-old Barrows said Tuesday. “Depressed.”
State lawmakers in their first week of the legislative session cancelled their work until next week in anticipation of the storm. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was discouraging all travel statewide. Road crews in Arkansas were treating the streets Tuesday in anticipation of snow that forecasters warned would choke highways, disrupt work days and likely extend the stretch of cancelled school days in northwest Arkansas to nearly two weeks. Some educators fear that the missed days are eating into time they need to prepare students for annual state benchmark exams in April.
“We’re all very antsy to get back in class,” said Gravette Public Schools superintendent Andrea Kelly, whose 1,757-student district last held classes Jan. 31.
School districts across northwest Kansas called off classes Tuesday and several universities closed early. Up to 11 inches of snow was expected in central parts of the state. “If there is any silver lining to the storm it is that we have not had any ice before it started — it has been all snow,” said Robb Lawson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.