Winter Weather Puts a Skid on Friday in Houston; Highways Dangerous and Most Public Services Iced Out

Ice still lays on this agave plant after the temperature rose above freezing.

Nothing significant has changed weather-wise since my previous post earlier this morning.  The sun tried to peek through for a bit, but the temperature only rose to 35 for about an hour, and now it’s grey again, and the temper here in northwest Harris County is back to just at freezing 32. 

About every school and university announced closures already yesterday, and now most of the city and county offices are closed.  Local television reports dangerous ice on a lot of the overpasses and bridges, with many accidents as a result.  Houston Transtar shows the location of the bad road spots, and locations of the many accidents across the city can be found here.

Amarylis frozen and covered with ice.

Even though the service roads should be OK because the ground still is warm, I haven’t ventured out further than the front yard even though, I suppose the stores out my way are open, and with the chance to watch some “judge” shows on weekday TV, cabin fever hasn’t been a problem.

If the ice and water out in my yard are any indication, the icy

Icicycles form on the edge of the roof of the garage, but the car is staying nice and dry inside.

freeways won’t get better today.  There is still ice on the agave which is not that far off the warmer yard, so those high ramps and overpasses on the freeways still probably haven’t melted much.  The slick layer on the roof of the garage has melted a bit and forming icicles, a bit of a rarity here in Houston.

Winter Weather Brings Ice to Houston But No Snow

The agave leaves are slick with ice from the sleet and rain that came during the pre-dawn hours.

The predicted snow didn’t come to Houston.  Having gone to bed even earlier than most work nights.  I woke up around 5, and the light from the streetlight outside showed no snow on the ground, nor even any white flakes coming down, so I jumped back into bed until it would be time to take Annie out.  Even by 7:30, she was somewhat hesitant to go out.  When I checked the outside temp of 26, I could understand her lack of enthusiasm.  (Still 26 is a bit better than the 21 that hit us early Wednesday morning, and the daytime high was just 35 yesterday.)

But we did go out, still no snow.  There were, however, small puddles on the patio.  Then when I looked up there was a sheen of ice covering the garage.  As I stepped out onto the grass, the ice-covered leaves crackled underfoot.

I felt a little guilty for not having to go into work on a Friday, but aside from my crunching the frosty leaves, it was still outside, no usual hum of the commuter traffic coming from 529.  “No need to feel guilty,” I thought.  I was no different than the so many others who had been told on Thursday not to come in on Friday.

Once I started nosing around the yard, I found that the bricks on the front fence were coated with ice.  From this, I knew that any bridges and overpasses would be covered too.  As I’ve now gotten back inside, I’ve found according to the Houston Chronicle, that is the case, and that there have been many accidents because of the icy roads.  I’m glad that I don’t have to get out there and make my way to work.

I know those from the more northern climes might think us somewhat wimpy when we get a bit of actual winter weather.  However, with the hundreds of thousands of vehicles out there crowding the freeways on a regular workday morning, ice-covered roads could create complete havoc.  Even with the much lighter traffic,  the Chronicle says there have been more than 100 accidents already, one of them a 10-car pileup on 290, which is one leg of my normal morning drive.

I do feel a bit like I’m playing hookie.  No matter,  I’m going to grind some beans to make coffee and make a real breakfast, then enjoy the rest of a leisurely morning.