Travel with care: Freeze, wintry mix create slick conditions around Lubbock, South Plains

Cars drive along Marsha Sharp Freeway, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Cars drive along Marsha Sharp Freeway, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.

Frigid temperatures and a slight chance for snow will remain in the forecast for the South Plains and Panhandle through Thursday morning.

With this latest cold blast, wintry precipitation and temperatures well below freezing prompted officials with Lubbock area schools and Texas Tech to delay Monday morning classes. By press time Monday evening, no delays had been announced for Tuesday, but the threat of slick conditions on area roadways will persist.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Johnny Bures said law enforcement in the region had responded to nearly 20 crashes, including 13 in Lubbock County and an additional five in surrounding counties by mid-day Monday.

Icy condition in Lubbock and around the region also prompted airlines to delay or cancel a number of flights at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport.

The National Weather Service office in Lubbock says the chance for freezing rain and ice accumulation — of only one-tenth of an inch — is less than 10%, and the chance for snow accumulation is even lower though flurries are possible.

"The problem with this event is its multi-day multi-evening with a couple breaks between," said NWS Lubbock forecaster Drew Koeritzer. "Tonight (Monday evening), there will be another period of freezing drizzle and a little light snow flurries mixed here and there, similar to this morning, so Tuesday morning there might be a glaze (of ice) on the road."

Snow falls across Lubbock, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.
Snow falls across Lubbock, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.

In Lubbock, only a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation are expected, so disruptions should be minimal though the National Weather Services encourages travelers remain aware and be extra cautious while driving.

"Once Tuesday morning’s activity fades out, there’s a strong, more widespread event lasting through most of Wednesday. That’s when precipitation comes back into play, and it looks like beginning tomorrow night is when we may have more icing to deal with in the city than we do at this point," Koeritzer added.

Across the region Tuesday, temperature highs will top out in the upper-20s and lower-30s, while temperature lows are forecast to reach down as low as 12 degrees in Silverton.

Last week, Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport recorded 7.1 inches of accumulated snow — breaking the previous record of 2.9 inches in 1961, according to the National Weather Service office in Lubbock.

This also translates into a record rainfall of .57 of an inch, which is another new record that beat out the previous in 1961 of .39 of an inch, and was equivalent to the amount of precipitation the city received — from both rain and snow — over four months last year between Jan. 1 and May 1, according to data from NWS Lubbock.

Data shows Matador received the greatest amount of snow across the region, accumulating about 10 inches, while Plainview trailed closely between 8 to 9 inches.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Winter weather brings slick conditions to Lubbock, South Plains