Icy Roads Make For Dicey Driving; Fort Hood Closed Friday

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(January 24, 2014) The rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow that began to fall Thursday afternoon across Central Texas as temperatures fell below freezing caused traffic issues across Central Texas early Friday morning.

Traffic was backed up Friday morning on South Loop 363 in Temple because of icy conditions. (Photo courtesy of Adam Cuker)

By Friday morning ice had formed evening on bridges, overpasses and some streets and highways and police were responding to a series of accidents, most of which were minor.

School districts across Central Texas either delayed or cancelled classes because of the conditions.

Fort Hood's senior commander authorized the closure of the post because of the conditions Friday.

Only mission essential personnel were told to report for duty.

Updates were posted on Fort Hood's website and Facebook page.

The Central Texas' Regional Public Transit System The HOP cancelled service Friday because of the weather.

Bell County was hit hard.

The county’s 911 communications center started getting weather related calls at around 6 p.m. Thursday and by Friday afternoon, police had been dispatched to 280 incidents, fire units to 90 incidents and paramedics to 40 incidents.

Temple police responded to 70 traffic and transportation related calls.

Belton police were dispatched to more than 60 accidents.

Killeen police have responded to 34 accidents since midnight.

The emergency room at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen logged visits from about 15 people with weather-related injuries including broken bones from falls and minor injuries from traffic accidents.

From around 6 p.m. Thursday through mid-afternoon Friday, Temple Fire & Rescue responded to almost 20 accidents, some of which involved minor injuries, but in most cases no one was hurt.

One person was taken to the hospital after a fall.

Conditions were treacherous Friday morning on southbound Interstate 35 south of Waco, where traffic was backed up for miles because of a series of accidents.

The Texas Department of Transportation advised southbound motorists to avoid the area by taking exit 328 for Sun Valley Boulevard, driving south on FM 2113 (East Spring Valley Road) to FM 107 in Belton and then turning right to get back onto the interstate.

U.S. 190 at Nolanville was closed in both directions at about 5:30 a.m. while crews cleared debris from an earlier accident off the highway.

Interstate 35 southbound in Belton at U.S. 190 was moving extremely slowly to just south of Salado at Farm-to-Market 2115.

East Loop 363 in Temple was at a standstill Friday morning.

Ice on 190 in Killeen had police asking residents to stay off the road as much as possible.

Crews were sanding slick spots on major roadways.

A winter weather advisory was in effect from Thursday evening through Friday morning for Falls, Milam, Robertson, San Saba, Mills, Hamilton, Lampasas, Coryell and Bell Counties, although forecasters say the biggest threat of wintry precipitation is to the south including the Bryan-College Station area and Houston.

Temperatures will rise to around 40 Friday afternoon under a sunny sky, but will drop back into the 20s overnight.

Highs in the mid-60s are expected Saturday.

Meanwhile a winter storm warning remained in effect until noon Friday for the Houston, San Antonio and Houston areas, where a quarter of a million students got an unscheduled day off because of the conditions.

Light snow was reported Friday as the Houston Independent School District canceled classes.

The state's largest district has more than 210,000 students.

The Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin also canceled classes Friday.

Texas State University in San Marcos also cancelled classes Friday.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines and its regional carriers had about 220 cancellations Friday because of the weather.

Spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan says the cancellations were system-wide.

Minor flight delays were reported by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, mainly in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

Winter weather in Moffat (Photo courtesy of Teresa Timberlake)