HOUSTON (AP) — Icy conditions in Central and South Texas resulted in an unscheduled day off Friday for a quarter-million Lone Star State students.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Houston, San Antonio and Austin areas until midday Friday as temperatures hovered just below freezing. The wet, wintry conditions had moved out of San Antonio and Austin by late morning.
The weather was forecast to improve by Saturday, and Austin and San Antonio could see a return to temperatures in the 70s by Sunday, forecasters said.
The biggest problem was a light freezing rain and sleet that left freeway overpasses and bridges ice-covered and slippery. Traffic was lighter than usual, but numerous traffic wrecks were reported, although none involved large numbers of vehicles.
Snow accumulations, no more than an inch or two, appeared to be limited to areas north and west of a line from Brenham to Livingston, well north of Houston. But freezing conditions were reported as far south as Laredo and Corpus Christi.
While freezing rain and snow are not unprecedented in normally balmy South Texas, the cities and counties typically don't command fleets of snowplows and other equipment to help deal with winter driving conditions.
The freezing rain prompted the Houston Independent School District to cancel classes. The state's largest district has more than 210,000 students. The University of Texas at Austin, with more than 50,000 students, also canceled classes Friday due to icy streets, along with Texas State University in San Marcos, about 30 miles south of Austin, and the Austin Independent School District.
The Houston Airport System reported more than 60 flights canceled at Bush Intercontinental Airport through late morning and another 55 at Hobby Airport on the city's south side.
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