Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 27, 2012

Jack Frost’s chill didn’t bite into Jacksonville that deeply

"It was different here in Jacksonville. It just didn't get that bad here as far as I can tell." – Fire Chief Paul White

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — The wintry chaos that plagued many a driver traveling along Texas roadways Christmas Day missed Jacksonville for the most part, although temperatures did drop to freezing and the area saw a light smattering of snow.

While other areas of the state received reports of power outages and car crashes, Fire Chief Paul White said that type of activity didn't show up in immediate local reports.

"I heard the roads were bad from here to Tyler because they had a lot of snow, but it was different here in Jacksonville," White said. "It just didn't get that bad here as far as I can tell."

Others throughout East Texas and the state weren't as fortunate. There were thousands of powerless households in East Texas and over 13,000 in Northeast Texas.

“Last night at the height of the storm there were over 5,000 outages in East Texas,” Charles Hill, Oncor's regional customer operations manager, explained Wednesday afternoon. “It was mostly the weight of the storm on trees. There also was a good bit of wind. … But everybody's power is back on at this point.”

 The most extreme examples of slip-and-slide weather come from the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex area of North Central Texas – along which cars were colliding with one another at a very large rate. There were several abandoned cars strewn along the sides of I-20 Christmas night.

Jacksonville's Christmas Day may not have been as dangerous as others, but that's not to say it didn't get cold, cold, cold. Somewhere between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Christmas Day, the town's 51 degree weather plummeted to 32 – then 29, then as low as 26 in the hours to follow, the National Weather Service reported.

Along the way, Jacksonville's fog became light rain and light rain transformed into snow, according to the NWS.

That snow tapered off about 8:15 p.m. on Christmas Day. As of noon the next day, temperatures had begun a steady rise, holding at about 35 degrees as of 2:30 p.m.

As of Wednesday, officials with the Texas Department of Transportation were  still applying magnesium chloride and lightweight rock – effectively "sanding" problem areas – bridges and overpasses throughout the area, including Interstate 20, according to a news release.

The fire chief said hasn't there hasn't been a lot of major fire department  activity since Friday. A wood frame, two-car garage in the 400 block of Myrtle Drive burned down about 8 p.m. Friday night, but it was accidental and no one was harmed, he said.

In another weather-related matter, a perceptive reader challenged the explanation for an unrelated, Dec. 20, storm that was reported in the Dec. 21 Jacksonville Daily Progress.

Reader Bob McGee contends the actual cause of the layer of dust that befell outside parked vehicles on Dec. 20 was a specific dust storm, not winds from a separate storm as had been reported.

"The dust was not kicked up locally even though the winds were rather blustery," McGee said in an email. "Its source was much farther west from where very high winds generated a rather sizable dust storm in the high plains out around Lubbock and surrounding area."

McGee said upper air currents do occasionally bring the after effects of such storms as far as East Texas and even further east.

"I'm not a weather professional but flew in the AF (Air Force) for 20 years and the weather became a part of my daily life," he said.