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Snow never came, but ice proved dangerous for early morning motorists

By Sonny Long
Feb. 4, 2011 at 10 p.m.
Updated Feb. 3, 2011 at 8:04 p.m.

A single car rollover accident along state Highway 185 Friday morning. Two people were inside the vehicle which went off the road due to speed and ice, officials said. It rolled in a nearby field, but everyone got out of the vehicle safely.

SCOOP ON SANDFacts and figures about the city of Victoria sanding program.

The sand is actually small limestone rock, not sand proper. It is also called ice rock.

The city sands bridges and overpasses. The only exception was the Navarro Street/ Loop 463 intersection because it was reported to be one continuous sheet of ice.

Bridges and overpasses were re-sanded on request from the police or fire department as long as it was safe for crews to get to the location.

Five city crews worked Thursday night.

The city did not run out of sand. It sanded again Friday night where needed.

Crews did not respond to three requests for re-sanding Friday morning because it was too icy for crews to get there safely.

The city has an ample supply of ice rock.

SOURCE: City of Victoria

The snow that was predicted for Victoria did not fall Thursday night or Friday morning, but icy conditions led to numerous wrecks on area roadways, some involved injuries.

County and city law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to 10 wrecks between late Thursday night and early Friday morning, Department of Public Safety Trooper Gerald Bryant said.

Bryant did not have specifics on any of the accidents other than none of the wrecks were fatal.

Early morning commuters drove cautiously down Navarro Street, many going as slow as 15 mph because of areas of icy road.

Many of the roads looked deserted because of numerous business and school closings.

Also, the Texas Department of Transportation closed U.S. Highway 59, U.S. Highway 87 and U.S. Highway 77, Victoria's major arteries.

The highways were reopened at about 2 p.m.

The freezing drizzle began at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, said Meteorologist Tim Tinsley with the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.

The precipitation continued falling periodically overnight until about 5:20 a.m. Friday, he said.

No official ice accumulation was reported in Victoria County, but a quarter inch of ice was reported in Seadrift, he added.

The situation was dire for those traveling, said Jeb Lacey, Victoria County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Lacey had warned commuters to travel at their own risk.

"It's dangerous and hazardous," Lacey said. "We can't get officers or public works people out to block off every icy street. It's a very precarious situation."

The City of Victoria crews sanded bridges and overpasses Thursday afternoon, but were unable to respond to requests for sand Friday morning, said O.C. Garza, Victoria Public Information Officer.

"We began sanding after 2 p.m. Thursday, bridges and overpasses only," Garza said. "At some point, crew leaders could not respond to more requests for sand because of ice buildup. We do not have the equipment to sand all the roads in Victoria in a short period of time."

Most of the ice had melted shortly after noon Friday when temperatures warmed up and the sky cleared.

The inclement weather clearance meant motorists could continue about their daily routine.

Even Victoria Transit was not on the roads Thursday morning, said Patricia Moreno, a dispatcher with the transit.

"We worked noon to 6 p.m., Thursday," she said.

Victoria Transit will resume regular operations at 10 a.m. Saturday, she said.

The weather will be clearing up Saturday with sunny skies and high predicted in the upper 50s.

Saturday night will be mostly clear with lows in the lower 30s, according the weather service's forecast.

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