Dallas-Fort Worth area could see near-blizzard conditions this weekend

cars in snowy weather
A winter storm advisory has been issued for the Dallas-Fort Worth area ahead of the weekend forecast. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A winter storm advisory has been issued for the Dallas-Fort Worth area ahead of the weekend forecast. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Updated at 8:50 p.m. Feb. 12: This story has been updated to include the latest forecast.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in effect from 6 a.m. Feb. 13 until 6 p.m. Feb. 15 for the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region, with the forecast calling for bitter cold temperatures and possible near-blizzard conditions.

Heavy mixed precipitation is expected, and North Texans could see between 3 and 6 inches of snow along with heavy winds that will cause drifting and blowing snow, according to the NWS.

NWS meteorologist Allison Prater said winds could be up to 40 miles per hour, resulting in tree breakage, power outages and reduced visibility.

“We're really kind of pushing forward that wind chills between [minus] 15 and [minus] 10 degrees are possible that could induce the risk of hypothermia,” Prater said.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration on Feb. 12 for all 254 counties in Texas as state resources continue to be deployed to assist local officials, according to a news release. Abbott also ordered that the Texas State Operations Center operate on a 24-hour basis through the end of next week.

"Texas should heed the guidance of their local leaders and stay alert to changing weather conditions in their area," Abbott said in a news release. "These resources will help us respond to this severe winter weather and keep our communities safe."

Based on the forecast, people can expect cold temperatures until the middle of next week. The NWS reports afternoon highs will range in the teens up into the 30s, while morning wind chills will range from below zero up into the teens.

"Hazardous travel is likely for several days due to icy bridges and roadways, and travel will become impossible and possibly life-threatening," according to the warning from the National Weather Service, which added that "travel is highly discouraged" on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16.

The NWS recommends people stay indoors as much as possible to avoid hazardous traveling conditions.

The Texas Department of Transportation has shared the following safety guidelines for drivers:

  • Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.

  • Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.

  • Watch carefully for snow-removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet behind snowplows.

  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.

  • If your vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction. Then straighten your vehicle.

Ahead of potential power outages, electric and natural gas companies are monitoring usage as well as the overall grid conditions.

It is recommended that people cover outdoor pipes and bring in pets and plants. Vehicles should also be prepared for winter driving in case people need to go out.

“Make sure you have enough food and water to last through this cold winter weather. Prepare for power outages by stocking up on any firewood, flashlights and batteries,” Prater said.

According to Prater, the last time the region saw similarly low temperatures was 30 years ago.

“We had 8 degrees on Feb. 4, 1996, and [minus] 1 degrees on Dec. 23, 1989, so it's been quite a while since we have seen those low temperatures,” she said.

The last time the region saw snowfall in that same range as is forecast for the weekend is in 2011.

Many area school districts will be closed Feb. 15 for President’s Day. Parents should monitor school websites for any updates next week.

As part of the state declaration, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has activated several agencies to help in the coming days. The Texas Department of Transportation will prep area roads for winter weather and monitor road conditions.

Multiple agencies, including the Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Military Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will be available to help stranded motorists.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas will monitor power outages and capacity issues. In addition, the Texas Animal Health Commission will help with livestock that might be affected by the frigid temperatures, according to the news release.
By Sandra Sadek
Sandra Sadek covers the cities of Grapevine, Southlake and Roanoke as well as Carroll ISD for Community Impact. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in journalism and international relations. She has experience working for several local papers including the University Star, the Katy Times, and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. When she's not on the ground reporting, she enjoys a good book and a hot drink. Follow her on social media @ssadek19.