Sleet Coating Texas Through Weekend May Move to East Coast

Ice and sleet are expected to coat Dallas and Fort Worth, making travel difficult and knocking out power, as temperatures plummet across much of the southern Plains this weekend.

Freezing rain may leave a light coating of ice in the region today, followed by heavier precipitation starting the day after tomorrow, the National Weather Service said.

“I think for Dallas it’s a damp, cold day today,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “We’re going to have to wait for this system in the southern Rockies to move eastward. That’s going to be what brings problems to the southern Plains and North Texas in the form of ice or snow.”

He said the system may move up the East Coast next week.

As of 1 p.m. New York time, 71 flights had been canceled at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and 24 were scrubbed at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental as storms moved in, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based tracking service. Delays of 30 to 45 minutes were also reported in Houston, the Federal Aviation Administration’s website showed.

“All it takes is a little bit and everything comes to a standstill down there,” Kines said. “They’re not used to ice and they are certainly not used to ice this early in the season. It could be big problems down there.”

The ice may cause problems for wind-produced electricity as well, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

Wind Farms

At least 35 wind farms across northern Texas are susceptible to ice forming on the blades, according to a report prepared by Commodity Weather meteorologists Josh Boden and Brian Bardone.

“This event should at least slow generation due to this extra weight and could shut down individual mills or farms right when high winds and electric demand spikes,” Bardone and Boden wrote.

A winter storm watch including Dallas and Fort Worth goes into effect Nov. 24 to 25, the weather service said. A winter weather advisory was also issued from Colorado and Kansas southward.

Northern Texas and most of Oklahoma face the risk of heavy ice those days, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“Wherever sleet or icy conditions occur, significant impacts to travel are expected Sunday morning though Monday mid-day,” the agency said in a hazardous weather outlook.

Texas Cold

Temperatures across Texas are expected fall 8 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 to 8.3 Celsius) below normal for the next five days, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The average temperature in Dallas today is forecast to be 38.5 degrees, or 15.5 below normal, according to the commercial forecaster.

The storm is expected to drift across the South and may move up the East Coast by the middle of next week, Kines said. Even if it doesn’t develop as a threat to eastern cities from Philadelphia to Boston, temperatures in the region will probably plummet.

“It’s a very cold air mass,” Kines said. “It’s pretty impressive.”

The high temperature in New York is expected to be 35 on Nov. 24 and fall to 23 later in the day with a small chance of snow showers, according to the weather service.

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