Winter storm makes for icy Tuesday in Houston area

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - What began as rain in southeast Texas on Monday night changed to a messy mix of winter weather Tuesday.

A mix of sleet and snow began falling in The Woodlands area, north of Houston, by 6 a.m. KPRC 2 reporter Haley Hernandez said temperatures began quickly falling and stiff winds were driving the wintry precipitation. She said cars in the area were being coated in ice, as well.

VIDEO: Road conditions in Montgomery County

Jeff Linder, a meteorologist for Harris County, urged people to stay off the roads and only travel if it is necessary. He said temperatures began falling in the northern part of the county early in the day.

RELATED: Check our interactive radar

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said officials are closely monitoring the situation, and that power outages could become an issue as ice begins to coat power lines in the region.

CenterPoint Energy reported more than 5,000 customers were without power Tuesday night.

RELATED: Check power outage information

Emmett also said that jury assembly has been closed. Officials also said people should call other county offices to see if they are open before traveling.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also urged motorists to stay off the roads, and use caution when walking outside.

VIDEO: Houston officials talk about winter storm

Road conditions began deteriorating in Waller County before noon, where ice was reported on Highway 290. Ice was also reported on roads in northwest parts of Harris County.

RELATED: Check road conditions

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said deputies in Precinct 5 responded to a high number of crashes because of slick roads.

Gonzalez said the Harris County Sheriff's Office fielded more than 400 crash reports from 5 a.m. through 7 p.m. Tuesday.

 

 

TxDOT crews said they were on the roads most of Monday night to pretreat bridges and overpasses ahead of the storm. KPRC 2 reporter Sofia Ojeda reported that crews had been coming and going most of Tuesday morning.

VIDEO: Road conditions in northern Harris County

Officials said people in the city of Houston can call 311 to report icy roads, and people in Harris County can call 713-225-5627 to do the same.

Most schools made the decision Monday to cancel classes on Tuesday as forecasters warned of the potential for slick roads. However, some remaining school districts waited until Tuesday morning to make the call.

RELATED: Check school closings and delays

The Galleria Mall was also closed for the remainder of Tuesday due to dangerous road conditions.

Mall officials said once the ice storm passes and roads are declared safe for shoppers and employees, the mall will reopen. Check for updates on its Twitter page.

VIDEO: HISD officials talk about chance for school Wednesday

KPRC 2 meteorologist Britta Merwin said that temperatures continued to fall on Tuesday, and that roads will likely only become slicker as it gets colder.

A winter storm warning was in effect for all of southeast Texas until midnight, but that warning was discontinued around 9 p.m. after the precipitation moved away from the area.

A Hard Freeze Warning remains in effect for southeast Texas.

PHOTOS: How Houstonians weather winter storm

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