LIVE UPDATES: Winter Storm in West Texas
The winter storm in West Texas has mostly subsided, forecasters say, with only some snow flurries possible Thursday afternoon. Still, Friday morning will be bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills to the region.
By Marfa Public Radio Staff
1:20 p.m., Feb 4: With improving weather conditions, Odessa College says they'll reopen their campus on Saturday and all classes will meet as scheduled.
7:50 a.m., Feb. 4: Approximately 1,350 residents in the Marfa area are without power this morning, according to energy provider AEP Texas.
The company says they have crews working to restore power this morning and estimate it could be back by 10 a.m.
In the Big Bend region, Alpine Independent School District is planning for a regular start time Friday.
6:10 a.m., Feb. 4: Sul Ross State University has once again canceled all classes at its Alpine campus for Friday, Feb. 4.
Meanwhile in the Permian Basin, all Midland College locations in Midland County have a delayed start with offices and classes opening at 10 a.m. Odessa College — including its centers in Andrews, Monahans and Pecos — will be closed Friday, but classes will be held remotely. At The University of Texas Permian Basin, all in-person classes scheduled for Friday will be held remotely. Additional information on UTPB's closure can be found here.
6:00 a.m., Feb. 4: City of Midland offices will open Friday morning at 10 a.m. due to weather. A city spokesperson says they expect "all city services will be operating as normal..."
5:50 p.m., Feb. 4: The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for much of West Texas. Friday morning, expect below freezing temperatures throughout the region with wind chills as low as -5 degrees.
5:20 p.m., Feb. 3: Midland Independent School District announced a two-hour delay tomorrow morning, Friday, Feb. 4. Classes will now officially begin at 9:45 a.m. for elementary schools and 10:40 p.m. for junior and senior high schools.
Ector County ISD also announced that classes will be delayed due to the cold weather — schedules vary by campus. Odessa families can find out when their school will open by going to the district's website.
In a press release, both districts explained that after consulting tomorrow's forecast that it became clear classes should be postponed. It's expected that driving conditions will be hazardous on Friday morning in the Midland-Odessa area after temps fall into the negatives across West Texas this evening due to a severe wind chill.
3:30 p.m., Feb. 3: Forecasters say snow and ice have mostly stopped falling in West Texas, though the region will still see dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills overnight and into Friday morning.
"Most locations received around an inch of snowfall and a few hundredths of an inch of freezing rain and sleet, however there were locally higher amounts of snow observed in the Davis and Guadalupe Mountains," the National Weather Service in Midland wrote in a Thursday afternoon forecast discussion.
The state transportation department says while roads may be passable across the region, travel is still discouraged, as some slick spots may remain into Friday.
"Roads will remain icy through today and possibly tomorrow," Lauren Macias-Cervantes, a spokesperson with TxDOT's El Paso Office, said in an interview. "Though the roadways may look clear, and they have been treated, there still could be ice."
Highway 62 through Guadalupe Pass in northern Culberson County remains closed, according to TxDOT.
1:45 p.m., Feb. 3: Forecasters with the National Weather Service say West Texas will see the last batch of snow showers and flurries by this afternoon.
Precipitation is mostly limited to the southeastern corner of the Permian Basin and the Trans Pecos, but those flurries aren’t expected to total to much.
Fort Davis has seen the most snow accumulation in West Texas with a total of 2.3 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Midland has seen 1.1 inches of total snow so far.
1:20 p.m., Feb. 3: Electric demand across Texas on Friday morning is now expected to be higher than previously forecast, but state officials say they are not concerned about widespread blackouts, as the Texas Tribune reported.
According to the Tribune, statewide power demand could hit about 74,000 megawatts on Friday during the storm's coldest temperatures, an increase from the roughly 72,000 megawatts officials had previously forecast.
But as the Tribune reports, officials say natural gas supplies remain plentiful:
A major issue last year was the reduced flow of natural gas to power plants that run on gas. This year, officials said they are not concerned because the grid has plenty of excess power supply. Commissioner Christi Craddick of the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the oil and gas industry, said some natural gas producers are having “challenges in the field,” but added that she was not concerned.
12:00 p.m., Feb. 3: Due to the weather and icy conditions near the Davis Mountains, the McDonald Observatory is closing Thursday.
9:50 a.m., Feb. 3: The Salvation Army is opening a warming center in Midland at 600 E. Wall St., according to the County's Office of Emergency Management.
9:45: a.m., Feb 3: Officials with the Alpine Independent School District have officially canceled all classes for Thursday, Feb. 3. The district said it would make a decision later about classes on Friday depending on the weather.
Alpine Montessori School has also canceled classes for Thursday, according to the school's executive director Amelie Urbanczyk.
8:40: a.m., Feb 3: Warming shelters are beginning to open throughout the region. In the Permian Basin, True-Lite Christian Fellowship in Midland will have a shelter open through Saturday, Feb. 5 at 3001 N. A Street.
In Marfa, officials are opening a warming shelter at 101 N. Mesa Street, which is the Marfa Activities Center.
8:30: a.m., Feb 3: According to the Texas Department of Transportation, roads throughout the agency's Permian Basin district are covered in ice and. The agency said they have plow trucks treating the roads this morning.
7:15: a.m., Feb 3: Roughly 1,000 residents in the Permian Basin are currently without power, according to energy provider Oncor, which serves the region. According to Oncor, power could be restored as soon as 9 a.m.
6:50: a.m., Feb. 3: In Brewster County, the Texas Department of Transportation is reporting Highways 67 and 90, including where they meet, have patches of black ice. There are also reports of black ice on Highway 118. Crews are currently patrolling and treating the roads.
While TxDOT says the roads here are currently drivable, the agency is encouraging residents to drive slowly.
6:25 a.m., Feb. 3: This morning, forecasters expect snow showers to continue in parts of West Texas, mainly along the 1-20 corridor in the Permian Basin and in the Guadalupe and Davis Mountains.
5:00 a.m., Feb. 3: According to the National Weather Service, forecasters are expecting "dangerously cold wind chills" Thursday morning. Throughout most of West Texas, wind chills will be in the single digits, with the Midland-Odessa area expected to see wind chills in the negatives.
Forecasters are warning residents that prolonged outdoor exposure will be dangerous.
7:45 p.m., Feb.2: The National Weather Service in Midland has issued a for parts of northern Culberson County, including the area of Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Delaware Mountains, due to gusty winds combined with snowfall.
The warning is in effect until noon central time Thursday. Forecasters said Wednesday evening that winds in the area were gusting up to 60 mph, while local snowfall amounts of four to seven inches are expected. Wind chills in the warning area were reported to be as low as 15 degrees below zero.
Forecasters said travel through the Guadalupe and Delaware Mountains areas "could be very difficult to impossible."
6:30 p.m., Feb. 2: Sul Ross State University has canceled all classes at its . Classes at the university's Rio Grande campus are delayed until 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
5:00 p.m., Feb. 2: Marfa Public Radio's Mitch Borden reports that this week's winter storm in Texas is stirring memories of Winter Storm Uri about a year ago, which led to blackouts and left hundreds of Texans dead.
Still, meteorologists say this week's storm will not last as long as Uri did. During that storm, the Midland-Odessa area didn't see temperatures rise above freezing for about nine days. Forecasters this week expect temperatures to start warming up by Saturday.
State oil and gas regulators earlier this week asked natural gas producers to hold off on any operations that could take natural gas supplies offline.
Still, Gov. Greg Abbott that the storm could lead to some power outages that aren't directly related to overall grid conditions.
"It seems like the state is doing what it can at the moment to prepare for the incoming cold weather and keep the lights on, but people should still be prepared for power outages," Borden reports.
4:50 p.m., Feb. 2: The Marfa Independent School District says classes will have a delayed started of 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The district said it would post an update on social media if conditions change.
Alpine's school district announced earlier that its classes would also have a delayed 10 a.m. start time on Thursday.
4:30 p.m., Feb. 2: "Near white-out conditions" have been reported in parts of southeastern New Mexico, the National Weather Service in Midland said.
"This band of heavier snow is now moving into Gaines and Andrew Counties" in West Texas, the weather service "Use extreme caution while driving and reduce speeds in winter weather."
2:40 p.m., Feb. 2: The Alpine Independent School District has announced that classes will have a delayed start of 10 a.m. on Thursday because of the weather.
2:15 p.m., Feb. 2: Marfa's school district has not yet announced any weather-related closures, but the district this week's winter storm may lead to at least a delayed start on Thursday, Feb. 3.
"Marfa ISD administration will continue to monitor the weather/forecast and make plans for the safety of all students and staff," the district "Currently, there are no plans for closure. However, if weather comes through that jeopardizes our safety, closures will be communicated through social media, local news outlets, and through the School Messenger system."
The Fort Davis Independent School District says it is not currently planning any closures or delays.
1:40 p.m., Feb. 2: Citing the approaching weather, .
Elsewhere in the Permian Basin, other schools are also making precautionary closures. All in-person classes scheduled on Thursday and Friday at The University of Texas Permian Basin will now be held remotely. Additional information on UTPB's closure can be . Meanwhile, will hold classes remotely on Wednesday and Thursday, and evaluate their closure on Friday.
1:15 p.m., Feb. 2: Snow has begun falling across parts of the Permian Basin, according to the National Weather Service in Midland.
Forecasters say in Andrews and Seminole, while other towns across the region — including Midland, Snyder and Colorado City — are seeing light freezing rain and/or sleet.
11:00 a.m., Feb. 2: Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Midland say has already started to fall in parts of the Permian Basin this morning.
"Even though roads may just look wet, it could very well be black ice as the temperatures continue to fall," the weather service "Leave plenty of time to reach your destination today and take it slow if you must drive."
Light snow was being reported in pass through the Guadalupe Mountains in Culberson County, while freezing rain was reported in Snyder.
Mitch Borden, Annie Rosenthal, Bárbara Anguiano, Carlos Morales and Travis Bubenik contributed reporting.