The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin, February 12 – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a disaster declaration in all 254 counties in response to severe winter weather that is impacting Texas. The Governor is continuing to deploy state resources available to assist local officials in their response efforts and has ordered the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to expand its daily operations to 24-hours a day through the end of next week.
“Texas should heed the guidance of their local leaders and stay alert to changing weather conditions in their area,” said Governor Abbott. “These resources will help us respond to this severe winter weather and keep our communities safe. The State of Texas remains in close contact with officials on the ground and will provide any additional resources and support that are needed.”
A powerful southward plunge of the jet stream will pivot out of the southern Rockies across the South this weekend. Low pressure at the surface will track out of the Gulf of Mexico generally toward the northeast, wrapping moisture into the cold air.
Bitterly cold air in the Plains will only be reinforced this weekend smashing records as far south as the Rio Grande Valley.
This will produce snow and some ice much farther south than usual – and farther south than seen on Thursday. From there, this storm could then produce significant snow and ice in parts of the Midwest and East.
The National Weather Service has predicted that bitterly cold air will engulf the Plains with temperatures 35 to 55 degrees below average. A quasi-stationary front at the leading edge of the cold air mass will remain over the Southeast through Sunday evening.
The same storm will produce rain and embedded thunderstorms over parts of the Southeast through Sunday evening. Ice accumulation on trees & power lines could lead to power outages. Ice accumulation on sidewalks and roads may make travel difficult.
Significant disruptions to travel are likely to continue with ice, snow, and wind, contributing to power outages. Upper-level dynamics will help produce snow across the Northern/Central Rockies into the Central Plains Friday night into the Middle Mississippi Valley. It will continue into parts of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Saturday, with a short break over parts of the Plains and Mississippi Valley on Sunday.
Snow will develop over parts of Southwest/Southern Rockies overnight Saturday, with snow developing over the Central/Southern Plains on Sunday morning. The snow will spread into parts of the Middle/Lower Mississippi Valley. Rain will develop along the Western Gulf Coast also on Saturday evening into Sunday evening.
At the direction of the Governor, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has deployed the following state resources to support winter weather response operations:
- Texas Department of Transportation: Winter weather roadway preparation equipment and response crews as well as road condition monitoring.
- Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety: Courtesy patrols to assist stranded motorists along major travel corridors.
- Texas Military Department: Winter weather equipment and personnel to support Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Abilene, Fort Worth, and Waco to assist in stranded motorist operations.
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Four wheel drive vehicles and personnel to assist with stranded motorists along major travel corridors.
- Texas A&M Forest Service: Motor graders and personnel to assist with snow/ice clearance and saw crews to assist with removal of downed trees.
- Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas Task Force 1: Search and rescue equipment and teams.
- Public Utility Commission of Texas: Monitoring and reporting of power outages and monitoring of any issues impacting the power generation capability in the state.
- Texas Animal Health Commission: Response equipment and personnel to address livestock concerns due to frigid temperatures.