The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch beginning at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 for the Dallas-Fort Worth area with ice and snow as well as low temperatures and strong winds expected.
North Texans can expect to see rain beginning midday Feb. 2, which will transition into freezing rain and sleet that night, said Allison Prater, an NWS meteorologist. Ice and wintery mix will continue through the early hours of Feb. 3, transitioning to snow around midday.
While precipitation should end Feb. 3, temperatures below freezing and windchills as low as minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit are expected through Feb. 5, Prater said.
Gov. Greg Abbott, along with representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and other state departments, outlined expectations for the storm and detailed preparations already made and underway.
“We’re utilizing every applicable state agency to make sure that Texas will robustly respond to this extreme cold winter storm that is going to be sweeping across Texas,” Abbott said at a Feb. 1 press conference.
While the upcoming weather is not expected to be as extreme as it was in February 2021 during Winter Storm Uri, road conditions will likely be worse, according to the NWS.
The state has already had personnel crews preparing roads over the past week, TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said.
“We expect that the conditions that we will see will make for very hazardous driving conditions, and, despite efforts with pre-treatments, we cannot guarantee 100% that roads won’t have unsafe conditions,” Williams said.
He added that those who do not need to be out on the roads during icy conditions should stay inside.
The TxDOT website offers driving tips to those driving during winter weather, which include looking out for snow-removal equipment, driving a slower speed and maintaining three times the normal following distance. Updates on road closures and conditions can be found at www.drivetexas.org.
While Texans experienced rolling blackouts last year due to harsh weather conditions, Abbott and representatives from ERCOT said the efforts to reform the grid over the last few months ensure that it is “reliable and ready” for this winter storm.
“We’ve taken a number of actions to make sure that our generators are ready, that our transmission system is ready,” said Brad Jones, ERCOT CEO and interim president. “They have passed the inspections that we have gone out and tested them on. We feel very comfortable at their level of readiness.”
While statewide power is expected to stay on, local power lines can still be affected by ice and snow or fallen trees due to inclement weather, Abbott said.
The NWS advises staying indoors, if possible, stocking up on nonperishable foods, covering outdoor pipes and letting faucets drip.
School districts will be updating parents and students about closures as winter conditions approach.
Those in search of warming centers can call 211 or go to www.211texas.org for local information. Weather updates can be found at www.weather.gov/fwd. More information about the winter weather is available from the Texas Division of Emergency Management at www.tdem.texas.gov/disasters/february-winter-weather-2022.
Winter storm to bring ice, snow, treacherous driving conditions to Dallas-Fort Worth area
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (center) meets with various officials Feb. 1 in preparation for this week's winter storm. (Courtesy Office of the Governor)