• November 27, 2014

Icy roads plague Central Texas

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Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 4:30 am

Bell County was placed under a winter weather advisory beginning at 10 p.m. Monday and lasting until noon today, putting area law enforcement, road crews and drivers on alert once again.

Icy road conditions plagued Central Texas drivers on Sunday, causing vehicles to slip and slide into barriers, ditches and other vehicles, and road crews were called out once again to sand bridges and overpasses.

Sunday’s ice storm was the fourth this winter in Central Texas, according to the National Weather Service.

Temple road crews were out Sunday and sanded mainly the elevated surfaces and bridges, city spokeswoman Shannon Gowan said.

Crews were put on alert for more possible ice accumulation and have plenty of sand to spread, Gowan said.

“The streets division is constantly replenishing supplies as they are used. We generally keep about three days worth of sand on hand,” Gowan said.

Ice accumulations of a trace to a few hundredths of an inch were expected both Monday night and this morning, according to the National Weather Service.

With temperatures warming up only into the upper 30s by Monday afternoon in most of the Central Texas area, road surfaces, bridges and overpasses will be quick to ice over and will make driving hazardous, according to the National Weather Service.

The emergency warning systems were deactivated Monday afternoon by the Temple Office of Emergency Management because temperatures were forecast to be above the range required for activation, said Thomas Pechal, spokesman.

Since Transformation Station was at its capacity, Feed My Sheep was used as a backup site, Pechal said. Two women and five men stayed there Sunday night.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a notice asking electricity users to limit their use as much as possible through 9 a.m. today.

“With the continued cold weather, we expect conditions to remain tight, especially during the early evening tonight and early morning hours tomorrow,” Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of system operations, said Monday afternoon.

“High demand due to the very cold temperatures and windy conditions is expected to continue through at least Tuesday morning, and generation supplies remain limited,” according to ERCOT.

Peak demand Monday morning reached 54,549 megawatts and all available generation was used to make sure the system stayed reliable, according to ERCOT.

Several area schools, such as the Belton Independent School District, started classes two hours late on Monday, while some closed because of anticipated problems associated with the ice. Others, including Holland ISD, followed a regular schedule.

Belton was hit with a heavy dose of ice Sunday afternoon and Belton Police Department worked 11 accidents, Deputy Chief Jen Wesley said.

One woman coming from Houston spun out in the ice on westbound U.S. 190 Sunday afternoon and ended up striking the barrier with the back of her car before it came to rest. Luckily she wasn’t injured but her vehicle had damage to the back bumper and trunk. Belton Fire Department and EMS were quick to arrive on the scene, joining other units responding to accidents on both sides of the highway and on Loop 121 just south of Sparta Road.

Temple Police Department had 25 calls related to traffic accidents on Sunday, and 19 of those happened after 3 p.m., Cpl. Christopher Wilcox said. Another four calls were recorded from midnight to 9 a.m. Monday, Wilcox said.

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Killeen, TX

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