Snow, Ice Wreak Havoc on Travel in Texas and Louisiana

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
January 24, 2014; 10:15 PM ET
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A big change is underway in parts of the South as much colder air and a winter storm settle in to close out the week.

A mix of snow, rain and ice will accompany the major temperature swing, bringing the risk of dangerous travel to millions in parts of the South.

During Friday, the storm continued to push eastward along the Gulf coast, reaching the southern portions of Louisiana and Mississippi. Some snow, sleet and freezing rain even reached part of the Florida Panhandle. During the midday hours Friday, temperatures hovered near 26 degrees at Lake Charles, La., with light snow.

Although precipitation from the storm mainly started off as rain Thursday afternoon, this quickly changed over to snow, sleet and freezing rain by nightfall, mainly north of I-10 between Houston and San Antonio.

Precipitation ended for much of Texas by Friday morning, but conditions remain slippery in many areas.

Through Friday night, a bit of sleet and snow will fall along the Gulf coast of Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida. This sleet could create more slippery roads and dangerous travel from Port Arthur, Texas, through New Orleans and into Panama City, Fla.

According to Texas Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "Some untreated bridges and overpasses will remain icy through Friday night, since temperatures will hover close to or below the freezing mark."

Temperatures Thursday night dropped below freezing across much of the area affected by this winter storm. As a result, untreated surfaces that were still wet from the initial rain began to freeze over.

As of Thursday night, law enforcement reported freezing rain in Bastrop County, Texas, accompanied by icing along the roadways on the US 290 bridge in the area, which lead to multiple collisions.

Four inches of snow was recorded in Polk County, Texas, Friday morning, closing Highway 190.

As of Friday afternoon, an ice storm was reported in Cameron, La., along the Gulf, according to a National Weather Service employee.

By Friday night, ice formed along portions of Interstate 110 in Biloxi, Miss., according to the local emergency management.

Those who plan on hitting the roadways Friday should use extreme caution as black ice can be difficult to spot and can quickly lead to accidents.

Additionally, a small buildup of ice on transformers, tree limbs and power lines can lead to outages that may not be able to be restored until after the storm ends.

This winter weather can also lead to flight delays and cancellations of both inbound and outbound flights.

As of Thursday evening, the San Antonio International Airport reported freezing rain and nearly 150 flights were delayed or canceled at the Austin-Bergstrom International and San Antonio International airports, according to FlightStats.

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This cold, icy weather is not expected to stick around for long as warmer weather looks to return for the weekend.

Temperatures will rebound into the 60s by Saturday afternoon in the same areas that will struggle to make it to the 30-degree mark on Friday.

The warmer weather will melt much, if not all, of the ice by the end of Saturday.

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