As many people sat inside their homes or played in the ice and snow covering the ground around Erath County, crews were busy across central Texas trying to prevent another long night for motorists and those without power.
This storm, Icepocalypse as it's been called, reached from the Texas-Mexico border to the Ohio Valley, with the most severe conditions reported near Dallas, according to forecasters from AccuWather.com. The layer of ice, sleet and snow that is up to an inch thick in Erath County, is expected to stay on the roads in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through Sunday.
Erath County officials said they had crews out working on county roadways while city of Stephenville crews were salting and sanding overpasses and bridges as well as using trucks to clear streets. However, many residents said streets like Washington were still dangerous Saturday near noon.
County officials said on Saturday that all roads were open, but were asking motorists to stay off the roads if at all possible. TxDOT officials, including Jodi Hodges, said crews were working along major roadways, focusing on bridges and overpasses as temperatures remained below freezing all day Saturday.
Some Erath County residents who ventured into the Dallas-Fort Worth area found themselves stuck in the metroplex as warmer weather Friday afternoon allowed for passable roadways until the sun set. The once slushy roads are now iced over and with no let up in the cold weather until Sunday afternoon, roads seemed to worsen throughout Saturday.
"We continue to treat the bridges and overpasses, and we do have plows on the highways," Hodges reported about the roads in her region (which includes DFW) Saturday. "We are trying to pre-treat ice already on the roads to see if our plows can make a dent. Depending on sunlight and depending on temperatures, we may not make much of a dent (Saturday)."
While less than 200 were reportedly without power across Erath County, more than 200,000 were without power across north Texas. For some Oncor said to expect the power back by Sunday, while others had power restored within hours.
The ice and sleet closed all Erath County schools Friday and postponed both the Stephenville and Hico High Schools playoff games. Hico took the field in Waco at 2 p.m. Saturday (see pg. A7 for results), and the Yellow Jackets' game was pushed to Monday at Abilene's Shotwell Stadium.
AccuWeather forecasters predict temperatures will get has high as 45°F on Sunday with a low of 19 on Monday, only getting up to 37 on Monday and Tuesday. Officials with the county and TxDOT warn that temps above freezing during the day and below freezing at night can mean for slick roadways during morning commutes. Residents are advised to exercise extreme caution when driving Monday and Tuesday mornings.
As the storm continues, the Empire-Tribune will keep you informed at yourstephenvilletx.com, on Facebook by liking the Empire-Tribune and on Twitter @flashETnews, @eteditor, @Caleb_McCaig and @etsports.