Winter storm spares city from major problems
Winter weather made an early appearance in the North Texas area and across the nation this past week with a vengeance, coating the Iowa Park area with freezing rain/sleet and snow mixture that brought the area to a standstill, but ultimately saved us from worse conditions experienced just to the east of Wichita County.
Winter Storm Cleon came in Thursday afternoon, with freezing rain that transitioned to sleet and snow flurries later. Iowa Park schools managed to start the day, but chose to close shop a few hours early, while Wichita Falls ISD schools took the day off.
Local stores, including Lowe’s were swamped with shoppers gearing up for the winter storm.
Temperatures dropped and precipitation continued into Friday, when Iowa park ISD officials called for a snow day, as did many businesses and county offices.
The influx of cold temperatures with Cleon didn’t relinquish its hold until sometime Tuesday afternoon, dipping to single digits Saturday morning, with wind chills below zero.
Iowa Park was spared the burden of worse conditions, as experience eastward towards the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where additional freezing rain created electrical shortages and more dangerous road conditions.
According to Iowa Park Police Department (IPPD) reports, accidents started in the immediate area just before 6 p.m. Thursday.
At 5:55, IPPD received a report of a truck jackknifed on US 287. For a period of time, the highway was closed to traffic and vehicles were directed off of US 287 at the Johnson Road exit.
At the same time, IPPD received a report of another truck accident at Harmony Road and US 287. The accident reportedly ruptured a fuel tank on the truck.
Just after 6, another accident was reported in the 400 block of US 287. A vehicle slid off the road, but was reported to be undamaged.
At 6:44, a rollover accident was reported on US 287, with no injuries.
Just after 8, another accident was reported at 2nd St. and US 287 access. No injuries were reported, but the car received substantial damage.
Just before 9, minor accidents were reported in the 90 and 700 blocks of West Highway.
At 9:30 a.m. Friday, a semi slid off the road in the 200 block of Pacific Ave., blocking the street for a period of time. No injuries were reported.
While no other accidents were reported from that time, police did receive numerous reports of vehicles doing donuts in business parking lots throughout the community.
Several basketball tournaments which Iowa Park athletes were to compete in were cancelled, including the Iowa Park 9th and JV Tournament, Childress Tournament and Altus Lady Bulldog Classic.
The annual Iowa Park Christmas Band Concert, originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, was rescheduled for this coming Monday night at 7 p.m. in the IPHS auditorium. Many local churches cancelled regular Sunday services.
Area football teams involved in playoffs scrambled to find appropriate dates to reschedule, but venues that were in good enough condition to host a game.
Icy conditions were far worse in the DFW area, with sections of I-35 north of Dallas closed with numerous accidents and stalled vehicles because of a four-inch coating of ice. The City of Fort Worth closed several sections of major roads late in the weekend to clear vehicles and ice.
During the peak of the storm, over 270,000 in DFW were without electricity.
Daytime temperatures in Iowa Park are expected to rise into the 40s and 50s through the weekend, with a slight chance of rain tonight and tomorrow.