DALLAS – Freezing rain and stinging winds slammed the Southwest on Friday and made a strangely blank landscape out of normally sun-drenched north Texas: mostly empty highways covered in a sometimes impassable frost, closed schools and businesses, and millions of residents hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend.
Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures in the 80s. But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that has slammed much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow.
The weather forced the cancellation of Sundays Dallas Marathon, which was expected to draw 25,000 runners, some of whom had trained for months. A quarter-million customers in north Texas were left without power, and many businesses told employees to stay home to avoid the slick roads.
Rob Yates, 44, of the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, had trained for four months to participate in the half-marathon Sunday – his first time competing at that distance. His wife and three children were going to attend the race to volunteer and cheer him on, he said.
Now, Ill probably be catching up on some work, Yates said, laughing.
Fridays storm stretched from south Texas, where anxious residents bagged outdoor plants to protect them from the cold, through the Midwest and Ohio Valley and up into northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
In north Texas, agencies and residents havent forgotten the disastrous week before the Super Bowl two years ago, when an inadequate response to a snowstorm crippled the region and left visitors stranded on impassable highways.
People in the Dallas area raided grocery shelves and home improvement stores Thursday in advance of what one store manager joked was the Black Friday of bad weather – Ice Friday. Most people appeared to heed warnings Friday to stay inside.
The weather led to more than 1,000 cancellations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nations busiest airports and a key hub for Fort Worth-based American Airlines. Many travelers were stuck waiting – and hoping for another flight.
I dont let things like this stop me, said Dayo Bankale, an airport cabdriver. Im not scared.