Last Updated, 1/30, 6:30 p.m.
The winter weather returned in earnest on Monday morning, and some major school districts are shutting down on Tuesday. Arlington, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Keller, and Richardson schools will be closed as district officials expect unsafe conditions after sunrise.
School districts will announce potential school and after-school closures on their social media accounts, websites, news websites, and TV stations. Most districts began announcing cancellations for after school activities on Monday afternoon, including Arlington, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rockwall, and Sunnyvale. Expect many of those to shut things down on Tuesday if conditions progress as they are.
The National Weather Service first issued a winter storm watch for much of North Texas on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning, temperatures had dipped to 29 degrees and that watch became a warning that now lasts through Wednesday. A watch means that accumulating snow or ice has the potential to impact travel by way of slick bridges, overpasses, and roads. A warning means it’s all but certain that the region will see enough problematic precipitation to make a mess of the streets.
The NWS Fort Worth bureau reported that light freezing drizzle began moving into Denton County around 6 a.m. Monday. Those conditions moved south throughout the day, generating numerous reports of accidents on untreated bridges and overpasses. A drive from downtown Dallas to North Dallas found that well-traveled surfaced roads were relatively clear around 2:30 p.m., but precipitation was beginning to pond in some spots. That makes it likely that, as temperatures drop overnight, those same roadways will be treacherous Tuesday morning.
“Freezing rain and some sleet is likely today. Slick spots are likely on bridges and overpasses, as well as untreated surface roads this morning,” the NWS said in its Monday morning report. “Additional freezing rain and sleet showers will develop this afternoon, worsening travel impacts across eastern North Texas. Please take it slow if you have to travel and consider altering or canceling travel plans if you can.”
It appears that Dallas-Fort Worth will get the worst of it from noon Monday through 6 a.m. Wednesday. Accumulation may be minimal on Monday, but by Tuesday it is predicted that freezing rain and sleet will settle in. Less than an inch is expected to gather over that time period, but at 9 a.m., the Texas Department of Transportation’s highway condition map already indicated icing on the roads in Fort Worth, Lewisville, Carrollton, and Arlington.
On Wednesday, it is predicted that freezing rain, possibly mixed with sleet, will continue through noon, but the temperatures will likely be warm enough that it might not freeze onto the roadways.
The University of North Texas Denton and Frisco campuses were closed Monday, and UNT-Dallas’ main campus and law school closed at noon. Texas Women’s University campuses in Denton and Dallas are closed as well. SMU’s campuses remain open until 5 p.m., but the school urged students and faculty to follow its social media accounts for updates.
The Dallas Zoo will remain closed through Wednesday. The Dallas Arboretum closed early on Monday, and said it would monitor the weather conditions before deciding when it will reopen. The Dallas Museum of Art said it would postpone an “Arts and Letters Live” lecture with artist T.J. Klune, rescheduling it for March 7.
Dallas County announced Monday afternoon that its offices, county courts, and jury services would be closed Tuesday. The city of Dallas warned that, depending on how bad the roads get, sanitation services could be delayed until things thaw out.
The city of Dallas opened its inclement weather stations Sunday, including the one on Hickory Street operated by Austin Street Shelter and OurCalling. The Salvation Army said its warming stations in North Texas are also now open.
If you are planning on catching a flight this week, both Dallas Love Field and Dallas-Fort Worth International airports say they are monitoring conditions and have crews ready to treat and clear surfaces. Travelers should check with their airlines for delays and cancellations before heading to the airport.
As of 4 p.m. on Monday, Love Field had canceled about a third of all of its arrival and departure flights, 223 total. DFW Airport had canceled 328 and delayed 453, according to the website Flight Aware.