Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 16, 2013

Cold front brings dangerous ice but no major accidents to Jacksonville

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Area temperatures continued dipping as low as 29 degrees Tuesday, creating freezing drizzle that cast a layer of glazed ice on the area. But area residents appeared to avoid weather-related dangers for the most part.

"We had one woman slip on her porch a little earlier, but other than that we've really been lucky," Jacksonville Fire Marshal Dennis Tate said Tuesday. "As far as vehicles are concerned, we haven't had anything because it hasn't iced up enough to cause any concern – thank the good Lord."

It was the second day of an unexpected cold front throughout the region that left sleet on roads, bridges, overpasses and other, less-traveled rural roads – all dangerous propositions for travel through the main part of the day, the National Weather Service reported.

But Jacksonville businesses such as the newly-opened PhoenixSquare Deli & Coffee Shop certainly did not suffer from a lack of customers because of the cold, said Dave Cooley, a  PhoenixSquare partner.

Cooley, who travels to work as early as 6:30 a.m., said all seemed calm on his short jaunt to work.

"My daughter said it took her an extra 20 minutes to open her car door and defrost everything, but that's it,” Cooley said. “It certainly didn't affect our business. That has actually been up for the past few days."

The cold prompted several of the homeless people in the area to flock to the offices of H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) at 595 S Ragsdale St., to warm up.  

"Several of our clients came here and said, 'It's way too cold,'" explained H.O.P.E. Executive Director Allison Hale. "I walked out of the office to see a lobby full of people. So we made a pot of coffee and hung out."

Hale said other homeless people probably went to area restaurants and stores to wait out the chill. Unfortunately, she said, there is no existing facility for them to go to at night.

"It's a good thing it doesn't get this cold very often," she said.

The weather was expected to clear up a bit Wednesday, with party sunny skies, a high near 46 but temperatures are expected at nighttime to dip low around 29, the National Weather Service reported.

On Thursday, expect mostly sunny skies with a high near 52 and a low around 33. Friday should be sunny with a high near 56 and a nighttime low around 35.

Despite the lack of accidents Tuesday, Fire Marshal Tate cautioned that area roads remain slick and urged motorists to continue being cautious when driving.

"The roads are still wet and folks should just remember to drive like they're supposed to on wet roads," Tate said. "Don't go out and get crazy."