PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Weather

January 27, 2014

Winter storm to dump rain, sleet, snow

Mother Nature is once again taking aim at southeast Texas with a forecast consisting of freezing rain, sleet and snow.

The entire region of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana are under a winter storm warning through early Wednesday, Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Lake Charles, said.

For southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana, freezing rain will begin Tuesday morning, and transition to sleet Tuesday afternoon, before turning to snow and ending Tuesday night. Total snow accumulation will be 1-2 inches, with ice accumulations of around one-quarter of an inch.

Elevated roads and bridges will be hazardous to travel region-wide through Wednesday, due to minimal warming temperatures during the day on Wednesday. Road conditions should be better by mid to late Thursday morning, Erickson said in a e-mail.

Cities across Mid and South Jefferson County are preparing for the winter blast.

In Port Arthur all non-essential personnel for the city will be excused from regular work duties on Tuesday. The cities of Nederland, Groves and Port Neches will remain open.

“At this point all city operations are anticipated to work as scheduled. The public works department is preparing for the potential for ice on the roadways and as conditions warrant, they will attempt to sand those intersections that prove to be hazardous,” Port Neches City Manager Andrè Wimer said.

The City of Groves will continue with its normal garbage and trash service and officials will monitor the weather. The Groves Public Library, which normally opens at noon on Tuesdays, will remain closed, City Manager D. Sosa said.

Nederland City offices will remain open and its services will go as scheduled, City Manager Chris Duque said.

“We’ve talked to staff and possible issues that may arise because of road and bridge conditions,” Duque said.

City leaders in all of the cities asked that citizens exercise caution should they have to venture out on the roads on Tuesday.

The City of Beaumont will close all city offices and municipal court on Tuesday due to the inclement weather.

City bridges and overpasses in Beaumont will be closed at 12 midnight. These include but are not limited to, Maury Meyers Bridge, Lindberg Overpass,  Dowlen Road Overpass and the overpass at Brooks and Major Drive.  In the event of precipitation and freezing rain, Cardinal Dr and Eastex Freeway will be detoured to service roads, according to a press relase from the Beaumont Emergency Management office.

Jefferson County offices will also be closed on Tuesday due to the forecast of inclement weather. A decision will be made on Tuesday regarding whether to reopen on Wednesday.

All local school districts will be closed as well. They include, Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches-Groves and Sabine Pass. Lamar State College-Port Arthur as well as Lamar University and Lamar Institute of technology in Beaumont have also canceled their classes.

 Jefferson County has closed all its offices Tuesday, Jan. 28, and will make a decision whether to reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 29, County Judge Jeff Branick said.

“The bad thing about this storm is that it’s bringing in higher winds than we experienced on Friday, so power outages are expected to be more of a reality,” Branick said.

Branick said that temperatures are not expected to rise above 30 degrees, and that one to two inches of snow will gather in the Interstate 10 corridor.

The county Road and Bridge crews will be out in full force, Greg Fountain, Jefferson County emergency management coordinator, said. The county crews are only responsible for roads and bridges in unincorporated areas, such as LaBelle Road. Cities are responsible for roads within their jurisdiction, and the Texas Department of Transportation will take care of state highways and Farm-to-Market roads, although local law enforcement has the final say in the closing of roads and bridges.

Sarah Dupre, TxDOT public informations officer, said that TxDOT deiced the roads on Friday with more than 46,000 lbs. of magnesium chloride and 1,700 cubic jars of freeze rocks. Those supplies will be used again.

“We’re going to be using our available resources,” Dupre said.

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