cloudy
Monday May 25th, 2015 7:36AM

Icy winter storm shuts down North Texas

By The Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) -- Freezing rain and stinging winds slammed the Southwest Friday and made a strangely blank landscape out of normally sun-drenched North Texas: mostly empty highways covered in a sometimes impassable frost, closed schools and businesses, and millions of residents hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend.

Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures that hit the 80s. But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that has slammed much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow.

The weather forced the cancellation of Sunday's Dallas Marathon, which was expected to draw 25,000 runners, some of whom had trained for months. A quarter of a million customers in North Texas were left without power, and many businesses told employees to stay home to avoid the slick roads.

Rob Yates, 44, of the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, had trained for four months to participate in the half-marathon Saturday - his first time competing at that distance. His wife and three children were going to attend the race to volunteer and cheer him on, he said.

Now, "I'll probably be catching up on some work," Yates said, laughing.

Yates spent Friday at home with his children, who were outside pulling off icicles and wishing more snow had fallen. But Yates, originally from near Manchester, England, said he stayed inside with his wife.

"It's kind of unusual weather for Dallas, so they're just having fun with it," Yates said. "Me and my wife - adults are not particularly impressed with it."

Friday's storm stretched from South Texas, where anxious residents bagged outdoor plants to protect them from the cold, through the Midwest and Ohio Valley and up into northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

In North Texas, agencies and residents haven't forgotten the disastrous week before the Super Bowl two years ago, when the inadequate response to a snowstorm crippled the region and left visitors stranded on impassable highways.

People in the Dallas area raided grocery shelves and home improvement stores Thursday in advance of what one store manager joked was the Black Friday of bad weather - "Ice Friday." Most people appeared to heed warnings Friday to stay inside.

Bundled up against the elements, Matthew Johnson was one of the few people braving the cold Friday.

"We're going to walk the dog and have fun outside, I guess," said Johnson, standing near his home in the Dallas suburb of Richardson.

The weather forced more than 1,000 cancelations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation's busiest airports and a key hub for Fort Worth-based American Airlines. Many travelers were stuck waiting - and hoping for another flight. Those arriving in North Texas were having trouble finding cabs as many drivers stayed home. Dallas-area light rail trains were not running.

"I don't let things like this stop me," said Dayo Bankale, a taxi driver at the airport Friday. "I'm not scared."

Rosibel Gutierrez Artavia, shivering in a light sweater as she waited for a taxi, had traveled from Alajuela, Costa Rica, to suburban Fort Worth to see family. Relatives called her before she left Costa Rica to warn her to pack warm. But she got the call when she was already at the airport.

"I did not come prepared with snow clothes," Artavia said in Spanish.

But she was still thankful that the weather didn't prevent her from boarding a flight that got her from Houston to North Texas and close to her family.

"I prayed to God and He listened to me," she said.

Others didn't make it to Dallas at all.

Julie Bahbaz, 31, of Little Rock, Ark., was planning to run in the marathon but decided Friday not to try to drive the 250 miles to Dallas shortly before the race was canceled.

"I've been thinking about it for the last couple of days and hoping (the forecasts) were wrong, but apparently not," Bahbaz said.

Police in Arlington, about 20 miles west of Dallas, reported one driver was killed when his car slammed into a truck. Authorities in Oklahoma reported two weather-related traffic deaths.

Cold weather has already dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and draped many communities in skin-stinging cold. The temperature in parts of North Dakota on Thursday was a few degrees below zero, but wind chill pushed it to nearly 40 below.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 2 days ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 1 month ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )