Move over cold and make room for the snow.
The massive winter storm that has socked most of the central portion of the U.S. for much of the week added another element this morning — snow.
Ellis County residents awoke to nearly a half-foot of snow in some areas, adding to a week of record-setting cold temperatures.
The city of Waxahachie offices are closed today.
Residents with Tuesday/Friday trash pickup will not have trash pickup today, Friday. Weather permitting, those routes will take place tomorrow, Saturday.
Ellis County offices will be closed today, Friday, due to inclement weather. The Ellis County sheriff and commissioners recommended the closure after learning that conditions are expected to worsen later in the day. Essential personnel will still report to work, based upon their supervisor’s discretion.
Schools across Ellis County are closed. Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties is closed, with plans to deliver a Saturday meal if weather conditions permit.
“We will need volunteers to help with this special weekend delivery. Please contact Amy Jackson if you are available to help at firstname.lastname@example.org,” a spokesman said.
Across much of the state, snow and ice continued to hamper as a lingering winter storm gave hundreds of thousands of students another day off.
About 120 flights were canceled Friday at snowy Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
A winter storm warning was in effect for much of North Texas.
The University of Texas at Austin, with about 51,000 students, canceled classes Friday amid snowy conditions. Austin’s public schools also closed.
Icy conditions in Corpus Christi closed schools. Freezing temperatures reached Brownsville, where classes were canceled.
Houston, the state’s largest district with more than 200,000 students, called off classes, as did San Antonio, El Paso and Tyler.
No school was held in Ellis County for the fourth straight day after an initial ice storm was followed by several inches of snow.
Texas isn’t alone.
In a city known for punishing mayors for their handling of snowstorms, Mayor Richard Daley was careful not to step in front of the cameras until the main streets were clear.
When he finally did Thursday, the mayor swiftly brushed aside any criticism of the city’s response to the monstrous blizzard that created a startling spectacle: hundreds of motorists stranded overnight on the city’s marquee thoroughfare.
So far, few fingers were pointed at Daley, despite some inevitable second-guessing.
Instead, in typically self-effacing Midwestern fashion, some of the very drivers who got stuck on Lake Shore Drive acknowledged it was their fault for using the lakefront roadway in the first place.
Meanwhile, the storm left in its wake one final blow: a band of bitter cold spanning from New Mexico to the Great Lakes that kept roads slick and contributed to at least six new deaths in traffic accidents. Temperatures dropped into the single digits or lower, with wind chills that plunged nearly to minus 30 in some places.
The system dumped more than 20 inches of snow on Chicago, making it the third-largest winter storm in the city’s history.
Pressed about whether workers did their best, Daley responded, “Yes, they did. … They did a very, very good job.”
Many people retrieving their cars from tow lots Thursday said they felt no anger toward the city or Daley, who’s famous for his stern control of Chicago’s inner workings.
“There’s not much you can do,” said Jarrod Leak, 32. “You’re at the mercy of mother nature. I think they did a great job. They got these cars off the road pretty fast. I cannot be thankful enough to the city of Chicago Fire Department.”
Tracy Kepler, 42, didn’t hold any grudges either.
“It’s Chicago. It’s a snowstorm,” Kepler said. “They did the best they could. They planned the best they could. They towed the cars for free.”
With an annual average snowfall of nearly 40 inches, Chicago has always exuded confidence when it comes to clearing snow. It can draw on legions of more than 500 plows and 1,000 workers.
The city even has a high-tech snow command center with giant screens showing up to 1,000 live camera shots of major streets. Officials can call plow drivers to let them know what they’ve missed.
With so much emphasis on snow removal, even mild criticism can cause leaders to bristle.
But Daley, known for his notorious temper, appeared relaxed and confident and gave no indication he intended to call for anyone’s head for the debacle on Lake Shore Drive, where a series of accidents blocked the road and trapped drivers for as long as 12 hours in whiteout conditions.
Still, he also seemed to put some distance between himself and decisions made at the height of the storm.
“They made the decision,” he said, flanked by top city officials. “I have confidence in all these people making decisions.”
The cleanup accelerated Thursday in Chicago and in scores of other cities across the Midwest and East, but snow-covered roads remained treacherous — and sometimes deadly.
Three people were killed when the SUV they were in skidded off a slick Oklahoma interstate.