Storm expected to lose punch Thursday; temperatures to rise above freezing

Feb. 1—Greenville's streets on Wednesday were slippery as a skating rink as the National Weather Service extended its winter storm warning to 9 a.m. Thursday.

Motorists in Hunt County and across North Texas were being urged to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary. Already, Hunt County and most other North Texas communities have seen scores of school and governmental offices closed due to travel conditions. In addition, Thursday's print edition of the Herald-Banner will be delayed one day due to hazardous travel conditions.

City of Greenville road crews have spread sand at some of the city's busiest intersections, but by and large streets and roads here are treacherous.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Royse City police announced that I-30 was closed in both directions at the Erby Campbell exit. It reopened later in the day.

Numerous wrecks have occurred since Monday night in and around Greenville, including a few involving 18-wheelers going off the highway along I-30, according to the Department of Public Safety. There was no reports of any serious injuries. In nearby Rockwall, police early Tuesday afternoon shut down eastbound Interstate-30 just before Horizon Road due to poor road conditions.

State leaders were imploring people to stay off the roads and highways if at all possible.

Freezing rain and ice have brought dangerous conditions to North, Central and West Texas roads, with as many as 6,000 roadways impacted, officials said.

"The safest place to be (in) the impacted areas is to be at home," said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Authorities responded to numerous accidents during the storm. Some of the worst stretches locally appeared to be on I-30 near FM 1570 in Greenville and on U.S. 380 between Greenville and the Collin County line, according to DPS. The National Weather Service early Wednesday morning issued an Ice Storm Warning that included Dallas and Collin counties, but not Hunt or Rockwall counties. The warning was due to expire at 9 a.m. today.

Texas leaders said the state's grid operations remain fully functioning despite the bout of cold weather.

Pablo Vegas, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said ERCOT is forecasted to have more than 10,000 megawatts of generating reserves online throughout the week, which is enough to keep the lights on.

He added that while the state's wind supply has been slightly impacted by freezing temperatures, ERCOT has taken that loss into consideration when developing forecasts.

Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, echoed other officials on their assessment of the grid's status, adding that any power outages are a local issue and individuals should call their local provider to get assistance.

"We have adequate supply of generation to meet the demand for electricity across the market system," Lake said. "We have plenty of reserves to make sure that the ERCOT grid is stable and powered throughout this weather event."

Officials with the Greenville Electric Utility System, meanwhile, said they were ready to deal with the potential for ice on wires and trees.

"We are doing our standard preparations for icy weather," said GEUS Marketing and Key Accounts Manager Jimmy Dickey. The utility had also been in contact with ERCOT about the potential electricity demand during the storm, he noted.

Hopefully, weather conditions will improve today.

The National Weather Service was predicting rain likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain, becoming all rain after 9 a.m. today (Thursday).

Today is expected to be cloudy with temperatures rising near 37.

There's a 60% chance of precipitation, but little to no ice accumulation is expected.

Friday is expected to be sunny with a high near 48.