Freezing, icy forecast causes school delays, business closings

Amy Shay folds up her umbrella after braving the cold and light rain getting into her car at the Victoria Mall on Thursday evening. Although the forecast predicted temperatures below freezing on Friday morning Shay said that she wasn't too distressed about the cold. "I still consider us lucky compared to our friends up north," she said.
  • YOUR WEEKEND FORECAST

  • FRIDAY

    Expect a high of 43 with low of 35 Friday and Friday night. Chance of rain is 70 percent with winds out of the north at about 18 mph.

    SATURDAY

    Partly cloudy skies are expected with a high of ...

  • SHOW ALL »
  • YOUR WEEKEND FORECAST

    FRIDAY

    Expect a high of 43 with low of 35 Friday and Friday night. Chance of rain is 70 percent with winds out of the north at about 18 mph.

    SATURDAY

    Partly cloudy skies are expected with a high of 64 and low of 44. There is no chance of showers with winds out of the west at 8 mph.

    SUNDAY

    Sunny skies with a high of 72 and low of 49 is expected. Winds out of the south-southwest at 10 mph.

    SOURCE: theweatherchannel.com

  • CROSSROADS WEATHER-RELATED CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS

  • The University of Houston-Victoria will postpone classes until 10 a.m.

    • Victoria College will have regularly scheduled classes Friday.

    • Austwell-Tivoli ISD will delay start for schools Friday to 9 a.m.

    •  Bloomington ISD will delay start for school Friday until 10 ...

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  • We want to see your photos

  • Did you snap some photos of the winter weather Friday? We'd like to see them. Email your photos to newsroom@vicad.com, tweet them at us @vicadvocate or share them on our Facebook page. You can also upload your photos at VictoriaAdvocate.com ...

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  • We want to see your photos

    Did you snap some photos of the winter weather Friday? We'd like to see them. Email your photos to newsroom@vicad.com, tweet them at us @vicadvocate or share them on our Facebook page. You can also upload your photos at VictoriaAdvocate.com by clicking on the "Add Photo" of our "Your Photos" section.

Samantha Gamez stood in an aisle at a Family Dollar on Thursday with dog treats in hand, dressed as though it were a crisp fall day outside.

Meanwhile, the windows facing North Navarro Street told a different story - one of gray skies, blustering winds and falling temperatures.

The Crossroads and the rest of the state braced for Friday morning's wintry weather, a forecast calling for morning temperatures below freezing accompanied with freezing rain and sleet.

Much of the central and southern areas of the state, including the Crossroads region, are under a winter storm warning from 2 a.m. to noon Friday, said Waylon Collins, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.

"There is a polar air mass following a cold front that moved in," Collins said.

The reason for the expectation of freezing rain and sleet is a warmer moist air mass in the atmosphere that is overrun by cold air. This, he said, causes wintry conditions.

The atmospheric conditions are not right for snow, he said.

Gamez, 25, of Victoria, said her family in Longview was getting snow.

"I hear it's going to snow like it did in 2004," Gamez said, cracking a sly smile. "I don't think so. I think it's all a little dramatic."

Still, you can never be too prepared, so Gamez spent early Thursday afternoon preparing for the weather by buying treats and blankets for her large outdoor Labradors, which she planned to bring inside.

"They'll tear up the house," she said, laughing.

Gamez said she is not bothered by Texas winters or summers, but for others in the community, freezing temperatures - just like heat wave temperatures - can be excruciating.

Glenn Haynes, who manages intake at the Victoria Salvation Army, said as of Thursday afternoon, only three of its 30 beds were available for area homeless people.

The Salvation Army opens up its facility for the homeless any time temperatures drop below 45, he said.

If beds are not available, the facility will make mats available, he added.

"We'll have a place for them," he said. "That's for sure."

Also most affected by cold temperatures is the elderly, which is why Victoria's two senior citizens centers will be closed Friday, said executive director Debbie Garner.

Garner's employees spent Thursday delivering extra meals to those who rely on the centers for their meals.

"We don't cancel unless it's something bad," she said. "I don't want to endanger my clients and employees."

The Texas Department of Transportation was making preparations of its own, said Helena Wright, Yoakum District spokeswoman.

Crews will spend Thursday night and Friday morning at bridges throughout the district to help with de-icing and sanding.

Also, the Yoakum District office staff planned to stay open through late morning Friday to take calls from the general public about any bridge closures or detours.

"Our message remains the same," she said. "Reduce the speed on the roadways. If you don't have to go out, then don't."

With deteriorating weather conditions expected, companies such as AEP are prepared as if this were any other natural disaster event, said Elgin Janssen, spokesman.

As of Friday night, at least one major power outage was reported in Port Lavaca, where 865 customers were left without electricity because of a downed pole, he said.

The power was expected to be restored by 9:30 p.m. Friday, and it is unknown what caused the pole damage, he said.

Janssen said the AEP crew has prepared for any other outages that may happen because of the conditions.

"We've been in winter storm mode since this (Thursday) morning," he said. "I would say we are prepared to handle it should it occur."