Freezing drizzle began to fall in the counties Monday evening and gradually became heavier as the night progressed. The cold air mass settled over the area mid-morning, causing the drizzle to turn into freezing rain.
Abilene Police responded to more than 40 calls between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to Sgt. Doug Wrenn. That's half the number of wrecks on January 5, the last time Abilene saw icy weather. Because moisture fell on the ground before freezing, crews were able to sand roads and bridges prior to the ice forming.
School districts began canceling classes at 5:30 a.m. Many districts decided to delay school two hours, only to cancel all together as the weather conditions got worse throughout the morning. A total of 39 school districts, including Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD adjusted their schedules because of the weather. Another 20 had decided to delay the start of school for Wednesday by 5 p.m.
Personnel at Dyess Air Force Base were initially told to report at 9:30 a.m. before work was canceled for the day Tuesday, and all non-essential personnel are told to report Wednesday at 9 a.m. Many used their time to volunteer for Meals on Wheels, whose service was threatened by the icy roads.
Most flights out of Abilene Regional Airport were delayed or canceled. All flights stop at DFW Airport, which also experienced significant delays Tuesday due to icy weather in the Metroplex. The winter weather system actually stretches from the Rockies to New England.
"Most of out precipitation will happen between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday," KRBC Meteorologist Randy Turner said. The system may leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch of additional ice accumulation overnight, Turner said.
The ice is expected to melt after noon Wednesday as temperatures begin to climb up to a forecasted 50 degrees.