Dallas Weather: Ice Storm Warning for Dallas-Fort Worth brings more traffic, infrastructure concerns
DALLAS - Roads across North Texas remain in rough shape thanks to winter weather. And some will probably get worse Wednesday with more wintry precipitation in the forecast.
Counties in the northern and western parts of the FOX 4 viewing area are under an Ice Storm Warning through Thursday morning. That now includes Tarrant, Denton, Dallas, and Collin counties.
Areas to the west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex are also affected including Cooke, Jack, Wise, Palo Pinto, Parker, Erath, Hood, Somervell, Johnson, Comanche, Hamilton and Bosque counties.
RELATED: Power outages possible as ice builds across North Texas
"Yesterday was kind of the sleet day. Today is kind of the ice day. It’s not going to be for everybody but there’s gonna be ice," said FOX 4 Weather meteorologist Evan Andrews.
For Wednesday, patchy sleet and freezing rain are possible through about 10 a.m. After 10 a.m., the precipitation will become more widespread until the afternoon, evening, and overnight hours.
"While there’s less precipitation this morning, it’s still very icy. It will be about 29 at noon. When we get into the afternoon, the high could be 31 or 32 in Dallas but maybe 29 or 30 in Fort Worth. It makes a big difference on the roads. Roads tend to be more wet at 31 or 32 but the ice buildup can still be significant on trees and power lines," Evan said.
RELATED: Winter Storm Warning extended until Thursday, Ice Storm Warning for some starts Wednesday
Dallas County Driving Conditions
In Dallas, there was a visible improvement to most main roadways and highways.
But some side streets, and especially neighborhood streets, remained extremely icy and will stay that way overnight.
The fear right now is the re-freeze, and elevated surfaces are the first to ice over.
Wednesday's weather in Dallas was a mixed bag depending on where you went.
For much of the day, there was a very cold rain, but it wasn’t sticking to roads.
Instead, many major thoroughfares started to thaw out.
"My wife is having a baby the day after tomorrow, so we have both been off," Bennett Shaw said.
Shaw is hoping conditions continue to get better in the coming days, with his biggest concern being the birth of his daughter.
"Hardest part was getting out of the driveway," he said.
While well-traveled roads improved in Dallas Wednesday afternoon, smaller side streets and neighborhood roads were still very icy.
Dallas Public Works had sanding trucks out all day, but they’re only focus was the main roads.
Neighborhood streets will need to thaw on their own.
Mark Briedenbach had some advice for people as he headed home from his shift as a firefighter.
"Hang in there. Find a puzzle, find a game. Do anything you can to not get on the road. If you have to, just take your time," he said.
Meanwhile, city leaders hope the forecast helps out.
"The temperature is going to be in our favor. If nothing changes, we will see more meltdown and some rain is supposed to happen so that will help with that," said Alireza Hatefi, director of Dallas Public Works.
On Wednesday, the director of Dallas Public Works also discussed how the city can improve for the next winter storm.
And that starts with adding more trucks and plows, as well as pre-treatments.
"One of the things we are trying to improve on is using brine solution for pre-treating of the roadways," Hatefi said. "Unfortunately, we did not make it for this here, but we will use in the next storm event, freezing storm event I am talking about."
Wet roads are expected to re-freeze overnight Wednesday.
So far, the freezing rain did not weigh down power lines, but Oncor trucks are on the road to work as needed.
Tarrant County Driving Conditions
Out in Tarrant County, highways were a little easier to navigate on Wednesday but still a big problem.
Drivers along highways were kicking up all sorts of slush as the winter storm continues.
Driver Brett Kimmons feels the roads while messy have improved for a time on Wednesday.
"Right now, they’re actually starting to clear up a little bit," he said. "I know that they’re probably going to refreeze. We’ve been through this before."
Highways running through Tarrant County like I-30 were wet and slushy, but it was still drivable for many late in the afternoon. Still accidents along I-35-W show there’s still reason to take caution.
You also have 18-wheelers who could not even make it up the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway service road south of downtown, so they pulled over. One driver said he’d been waiting several hours.
Fort Worth city streets are still covered in snow, ice and more.
FOX 4 spotted Fort Worth firefighters assisting a Dodge Journey SUV that was hit by a Kia Stinger sedan at the intersection of Oakland Boulevard and East Lancaster Avenue.
The driver of the Stinger said poor road conditions prevented him from avoiding the collision. Stil, MedStar says it’s seeing fewer accidents on Wednesday compared to earlier this week.
Another issue for some drivers is there are not many places to go that are open.
The storm isn’t over just yet. More precipitation and ice are in the forecast.
In North Richland Hills, police say a carport collapsed off Harwood Road due to ice accumulation.
The winter storm is causing all sorts of issues. But for now, some choose to look at the bright side.
"I’m enjoying some time off from work right now," Kimmons said. "I work outside, so we’re getting a few days off. I’ll take it."
MedStar of Fort Worth says it has responded to 175 crashes since Monday. However, only seven of those happened on Wednesday.
FOX 4’s Shannon Murray was trying to drive around Tarrant County to report on driving conditions Wednesday morning, but she and her photographer got stuck.
She said they initially tried to go up one hill and started sliding backward. Her photographer, who has experience driving on the ice and snow, managed to get the van free. But then when they decided to park and set up their camera at a gas station they got stuck again.
"It's solid ice. You might be able to tell. And we attempted to go up this incline, and we just couldn't make it up, started sliding backward again," she said. "These side streets, these neighborhood roads are really tricky and really slick. It could be dangerous, especially on an incline."
First responders in Fort Worth responded to hundreds of accidents Tuesday. And with more ice on the way, there are concerns about tree limbs or power lines falling down.
Fort Worth police said they have responded to 225 crashes since Monday afternoon.
RELATED: Driver dies after going 'airborne' off icy Arlington overpass, witnesses say
On Tuesday, they saw fewer accidents, but that’s because many people were able to stay home. There were more stalled or stuck vehicles and big rigs on the roads.
"Our patrol officers are out doing numerous things. They're helping stranded motorists. They're even picking up some of our call takers and dispatchers to get them to work. That way we have a great response time when we need to be able to answer the phone and get officers dispatched to calls," said Officer Buddy Calzada with the Fort Worth Police Department.
On Tuesday evening, a ramp near downtown Fort Worth turned into a bottleneck. Time after time, drivers could not make it up the incline, blocking other vehicles.
Some drivers said they needed to fill up with gas or run a last-minute errand before hunkering down ahead of the next round of freezing rain.
"If ya'll not familiar with dealing with these conditions, do not come out. Do not come out at all. It's dangerous out here. Lots of black ice," said Luis Santillan, a Fort Worth driver.
RELATED: North Texas Jeep club rescues drivers stranded on icy roads
"Travel is not advised. If you can, please stay at home," said Kyle Clay with the Fort Worth Emergency Operations Center.
Tarrant County emergency response leaders said Wednesday is an even bigger concern for them. They’re worried the ice will impact infrastructure, power lines, and tree limbs through Thursday morning.
Oncor said its crews are staged across their coverage area to respond quickly if ice causes power outages.
Denton County Driving Conditions
People in Denton have been dealing with icy weather since Monday afternoon.
Again on Wednesday, steady freezing rain caused more ice to accumulate, and roads remained dangerous.
Minutes after sunset with roads due to soon refreeze, some folks who needed to move their truck that was involved in a crash Monday were still fighting the ice.
They tried to push, but it was eventually some strangers with more horsepower who saved the day.
"It’s good to have people that show up when you need ‘em and don’t expect anything in return," said driver Luis Bastida. "It’s pretty nice. Feels good."
Meanwhile, law enforcement found themselves helping in a wide range of ways.
Argyle Police Chief Emmitt Jackson was on prescription duty.
"We’re just kind of helping people get their prescription drugs because you shouldn’t go out for most things," he said. "But if you’ve got drugs you need for your health and life safety, we certainly want to make sure you get those."
The department was urging people to stay off the roads.
But with some people in need of their medication, Chief Jackson ran the errands so his residents wouldn’t need to.
It’s a gesture appreciated by patients and their caregivers.
"That’s just part of the service part we do in law enforcement," Chief Jackson said. "Sometimes it’s not all about making arrests, sometimes it’s about being there when people need you."
Even law enforcement in Denton County needed a hand at times.
One Denton County sheriff unit snagged a tow from some good Samaritans earlier in the day.
Police were thankful there are good Samaritans out there.
Denton police shared one example of a group of guys who helped 10 to 15 stuck vehicles Tuesday night on Cleveland Street.
FOX 4’s Hanna Battah went out to Denton County Wednesday morning to report on road conditions and parked outside the Buc-ee's. She saw some harsh conditions.
"You see a road surface that looks white, and you think maybe the snow there is going to have some traction and then you get to the reality of it. It’s just solid ice at this point. This type of stuff, especially here where we’re standing in Denton, has been here now for more than a day so it’s really had some time to pack in and harden or solidify, making driving that much more difficult," she said.
RELATED: North Texas cities report hundreds of crashes on icy roads
The bridges and overpasses were bad, but the side streets were a little worse because they are untreated.
The good news was that she did see more snowplows and sanding trucks out putting sand on the roads.
"So that’s been a promising sign that the conditions might improve. That’s what we’re hopeful for. Although, as Evan talks about this next set of freezing rain we’re going to be experiencing, it’s areas especially west of the metroplex or in the suburbs like Denton that have seen their fair share of pileups that we’re really concerned about," Hanna said.
RELATED: Navarro County DPS trooper struck by vehicle while investigating crash
There weren't many people at Buc-ee's. Those who were there said they were either traveling through North Texas to get to other states or were forced to leave home to go to work.
"I've had anxiety the whole way, but he's pulled us through. He says it's no big deal, so I trust him," said Blair Bishop, who was traveling to Oklahoma.
"Obviously it was dry the last few days and now it's icy. Some spots it's icy. Some spots it's just wet," Robert added.
They’re trying to use as much caution as possible.
Live Weather Radar
Download the FOX 4 WAPP for updates on severe weather whenever it comes to North Texas. It is free wherever you get your apps.
Live Traffic Conditions
For the latest traffic updates, download the FOX 4 Fastlane app or follow Traffic reporter Chip Waggoner on Twitter.