Add "earliest snowfall recorded in Abilene" to the list of "things that 2020 broke."
The city recorded a half-inch of snow early Tuesday, two days earlier than the previous record of three-tenths of an inch set Oct. 29, 1993, said Michael Decker, forecaster with the National Weather Service San Angelo office.
Ariel McBratney clears ice from her car Tuesday near The Landing apartment on Texas Avenue. While most people stayed indoors during the winter storm, McBratney had to venture onto Abilene's icy streets for her son's doctor's appointment. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News
The winter storm that began pushing through Abilene on Sunday afternoon delivered a range of precipitations starting Monday evening. Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow hit Abilene and part of the area.
Monday's daytime temperature high of 35 degrees with cloudy skies was a stark contrast to Sunday's high of 79 degrees with sunny skies. A year ago, the high temperature on Oct. 26 was 75 degrees.
And to think it was a record 100 degrees Oct. 11.
Tuesday morning driving conditions were icy and dangerous in Abilene and the Big Country, especially to the west and north of the city.
Between 6 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday, the Abilene Police Department reported 16 crashes. Only one, however, was classified as a major wreck.
Several wrecks early Tuesday were reported on Interstate 20 in Abilene and Tye, as well as on U.S. Highway 83/84 (Winters Freeway).
Bridges, overpasses and some roads were icy along and north of a line from Sterling City to Winters to Cross Plains. the National Weather Service reported at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday.
Many school districts, including Abilene and Wylie ISDs, announced Monday evening a two-hour delayed start for Tuesday classes and then opted to close campuses for the remainder of the day because of slick road conditions.
A tomato bloom is covered in ice Tuesday after wintry weather moved into the Big Country overnight. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News
A motorist passes a crew from American Electric Power replacing a utility pole at South Fifth Street and Danville Drive after a pickup slid into it earlier that morning. Icy roads became slicker as the day progressed, causing numerous accidents around Abilene. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter/News
Hardin-Simmons and McMurry universities reported campus closings for the day.
- Go to reporternews.com for updates on Wednesday school plans.
Dyess Air Force Base was closed Tuesday to non-essential personnel by Col. Ed Sumangil, base commander. Mission essential personnel reported to duty at their schedule times.
Another upper low system to the west was expected to pass through Abilene on Tuesday night and move to the northeast Wednesday morning, bringing more rain, Decker said. But, warmer temperatures will follow.
Abilene is shrouded in gloom in this aerial view from the Enterprise Building. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News
The NWS freeze warning that started Monday evening is expected to end at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The forecast calls for a morning low of 33 degrees with a 50 percent chance of rain until 1 p.m.
Skies will begin clearing Wednesday afternoon, and the high temperature should reach 47 degrees. The temperature will dip to 37 degrees overnight.
The warming trend should continue Thursday, with mostly sunny skies and a high near 54 degrees.
Here is the outlook headed to the weekend:
- Friday: Sunny, with a high temperature near 62 degrees and an overnight low of 40 degrees. Winds mild at 5 mph.
- Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69 degrees and winds out of the south 5 to 10 mph. Nighttime temperatures will slip to 46 degrees.
- Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 66 degrees and a nighttime low of 40 degrees.
Overnight freezing rains and chilly temperatures have created icy, dangerous driving conditions Tuesday in and around Abilene.
Bridges, overpasses and some roads were icy along and north of a line from Sterling City to Winters to Cross Plains. South of this line, bridges and overpasses were becoming icy, the National Weather Service reported at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday.
Similar conditions were reported in Abilene, making driving treacherous, the Abilene Police Department reported in an overnight social media update.
Snow also has accumulated on U.S. Highway 83/84 (Winters Freeway), the Abilene Fire Department reported before 6 a.m.
An 18-wheeler rolled over on Interstate 20 near mile marker 254, prompting closure of the eastbound passing lane, the Texas Department of Transportation said in a 5:43 a.m. social media update.
Interstate 20 remains icy to the west through Sweetwater and Big Spring, according to TxDOT's road conditions website drivetexas.org.
By: Laura Gutschke
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