Weather

Harris County wakes up to icy conditions and freezing temperatures, but few outages

Evening rain Thursday led to icy conditions on some roads Friday, but the latest winter freeze didn’t stress the electric grid like last year’s deadly storm.

Updated Friday, Feb. 4 at 7:34 a.m. CT

The state's electric grid withstood demand from the latest winter freeze and the National Weather Service in Houston says Harris County shouldn’t expect any more precipitation Friday morning.

But temperatures will remain below freezing across Greater Houston until the afternoon.

Road conditions were a bit slick in some areas Friday morning, but overall, Houston woke up to cold temperatures and gusting wing, and no rain.

“We are continuously going to see temperatures below freezing till around noon," said NWS meteorologist Jimmy Fowler. "Because of that, any of the wet roads or icy roads will stay that way until around then.”

Many area school districts closed Friday because of the weather, as did some local colleges and universities.

City agencies and departments will remain open, with a delayed start time of 10 a.m. for most city employees to travel amid the icy road conditions, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

There are sporadic local power outages across the state having to do with ice or fallen lines, but no grid issues. Less than 1,000 customers were without power Friday morning.

During an update Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the grid shouldn’t have any problems handling peak demand for electricity across the state this morning.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Thursday said the county was prepared to respond as frigid temperatures descended onto the Houston area.

“What we went through last year was traumatic, it left many people scarred,” Hidalgo said. “This will be very different.”

Some light freezing rain started to fall Thursday night, creating some icy conditions on elevated highways and bridges which isn't likely to melt until later in the morning.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s throughout the morning before rising slightly, and then dropping again in the evening.

But the region avoided hard freeze conditions seen during last February’s deadly winter storm, which caused pipes to burst and left scores of people without access to clean water.

Hidalgo also warned against using charcoal grills or portable camping stoves as heating sources to avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning, which was responsible for 18 deaths during last year's winter storm.

“We can all take care of ourselves tonight, and tomorrow, hopefully, the weather will give us a reprieve,” she said. “This should not be a long weather event.”

Law enforcement has been working to address homelessness and other vulnerable populations in the lead-up to the storm, and those looking for information regarding warming shelters can call 2-1-1, the county leader said.

Hidalgo stressed that the forecast was not nearly as dire as last year’s winter storm, which left millions of Texans without power for days and led to the death of over 200 people across the state.

“We have the power to prepare for this kind of weather,” she said. “We have the power make it through.”

Additional reporting from Cory McGinnis and intern Jala Mason.

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