On January 15, 2024, East Texas experienced a significant winter weather event nicknamed Winter Storm Heather. This wasn’t your typical Texas winter, but brought a potent mix of freezing temperatures, icy conditions, and even some snowfall to the region. Here’s a breakdown of the main features:
Freezing Temperatures: The most impactful aspect was the extreme cold. Arctic air plunged the region into a deep freeze, with record-low temperatures recorded in many areas. Some cities, like Tyler, saw temperatures dip as low as -6°F. This sustained period of hard freeze (temperatures below 28°F for at least 4 hours) led to widespread frozen pipes, water outages, and even damage to homes and infrastructure.
Icy Conditions: Coupled with the frigid temperatures, icing became a major concern. Sleet and freezing rain coated roads and surfaces, creating hazardous travel conditions. Bridges and overpasses were particularly dangerous due to the quicker formation of black ice. This resulted in numerous accidents and road closures across the region.
Snowfall: While not widespread, some parts of East Texas received light snowfall. Areas north of Dallas and around the Shreveport-Texarkana metroplex saw accumulations of up to 2 inches. This may seem meager compared to snowstorms further north, but it’s noteworthy for a region unaccustomed to significant snowfall.
Travel Disruptions: The combination of icy roads, poor visibility, and even snowfall led to major travel disruptions. Many schools and businesses closed, and authorities urged residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. The winter storm impacted air travel as well, leading to flight cancellations and delays.
Overall Impact: While relatively short-lived, Winter Storm Heather caused significant disruption and hardship in East Texas. From record-breaking cold temperatures and hazardous travel conditions to power outages and damage, the storm served as a reminder of the potential dangers of winter weather in a region not always prepared for its fury.
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:
- CBS19 East Texas severe weather updates: https://www.cbs19.tv/
- FOX Weather: Winter storm turns deadly in Arkansas as South struggles with snow, ice: https://www.foxweather.com/category/texas
- Weather.com: Live Updates: Winter Storm Heather Plunges South: https://weather.com/storms/winter/video/winter-storm-heather-to-bring-southern-snow-and-ice