Four-plus inches of snow blankets Mexia, Limestone County
By Roxanne Thompson
Mexia had plenty of warning from the National Weather Service about the severe weather approaching last weekend. As the storm marched across Texas, it covered the land with snow, which began falling in Mexia Sunday morning, sometimes as huge, fluffy flakes, other times as small, almost formless pellets.
The snowfall stopped sometime early Monday morning; and Limestone Weather Net reported the official snowfall as 4.8 inches, and was reported to be deeper in rural areas.
Mexia City Manager Eric Garretty measured the snow in the empty parking lot of Navarro College early Monday morning, finding 4 inches.
“The big issue was the power outages,” Garretty said Monday morning. “We had several overnight; as of right now, it’s mainly confined to the south part of the city, along Bonham and Swan. I’m getting different numbers, but about 50-70 customers are out of power. They’re saying the earliest repair time now is 6 p.m. tonight, which is Monday. We did have a power outage on Evergreen; that one’s been repaired. And then, right in front of the Civic Center the street lights are on a separate power grid; the line snapped right there at Main and McKinney.
We have seen some downed limbs. We do have the crews in; we had delayed opening at City Hall until 10 to make sure we didn’t deal with any ice. But the crews are out; we’re identifying the brush piles where Oncor had to cut trees.
Almost every one of the power outages was related to tree branches bearing down on power lines, he noted, causing the lines to short out or snap.
There are other areas in the city, he said, where branches are bearing down on cable and AT&T lines, but those are lower in priority than the power lines, so they will take longer to repair.
“If the ice melts off and they get off of them, it may be OK,” he said, “but if they freeze and get heavier, we may be dealing with that.”
The school district was closed Monday because of the snow and ice.
The weather models predicts a high of around 40 degrees by 5 p.m., but a hard freeze was expected Monday night, imperiling residential water pipes, especially those whose owners forget to drip their faucets.
“Other than that, we seem to be in pretty good shape,” Garretty concluded. “The main issue that is concerning us right now is working with Oncor, doing anything we can to help get those customers restored with their power. Some people are all-electric: they have no way to have heat. I’ve heard of a couple of people taking folks in, that type of thing, until they can get the power restored.”
The traffic light at Milam and McKinney went out for about four hours, he said. The city put out some temporary stop signs; and later TxDOT came through and repaired the light.
He estimated about five stalled cars or sliding accidents related to the storm, of which he had seen three himself.
Since TxDOT applied brine on the overpass twice it did not have to be closed to traffic.
Garretty reminded everyone to make sure faucet covers are in place on outdoor spigots and to take other precautions to prevent frozen/ruptured water lines.
Those who are signed up for the county’s reverse 911 system, and have elected to receive weather alerts, will receive updates and notifications from the National Weather Service. Signing up for the reverse 911 system may be accomplished at www.hotready.com.
See more snow pictures in Wednesday's paper.