Then along the New Mexico-Texas border, into the El Paso area, a mix of snow, sleet and ice forced some road closures and created messy driving conditions.
By early Sunday, the weather was blamed for at least eight deaths in several fatal traffic accidents. The storm has caused hundreds of rollover accidents, including one that injured three members of singer Willie Nelson’s band when their bus hit a pillar on Interstate 30 near Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas. In Arizona, when 8,000 cyclists participated in a rainy biking race, one cyclist died in a collision with a vehicle.
Dallas prepared for the ice by declaring “Ice Force Level 1,” code for sending 30 sanding trucks to trouble shoot hazardous road conditions.
At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, spokeswoman Cynthia Vega said American Airlines and American Eagle were planning to delay or cancel flights as the day progressed. The possibility of ice on the runways led to a series of conference calls and meetings early Sunday, she added, noting the airport had liquid and solid deicers ready for use.
The storm system, though, was particularly hard to predict because a couple of degrees here or there with the temperature will determine whether regions see rain, sleet or snow, Bradshaw said.
“It’s very difficult to pin those down,” Bradshaw said. “It’s slow moving and it’s sort of bringing its energy out in pieces so it’s kind of hard to time these as they come across with a great deal of accuracy.”