Snow blankets Runnels County
With all that 2020 brought to the nation and the world, the year decided to go out with style. December 31 brought a morning of ice and sleet, that were followed up later in the afternoon with a heavy coating of snow. According to the National Weather Service, almost an inch of snow had fallen by 6 p.m.
The forecast leading up to New Year's Eve, much like Texas weather throughout the year, was sporadic, to say the least. The original forecast, 4 days prior to the snow day, had 6" of snow and ice predicted. A short 72-hours prior to the snow day saw the expected accumulation to be around 1-3" of freezing rain and sleet. Then, 48-hours prior, the forecast was calling for 1-3" of snow and freezing rain. The day prior had it back to 4-6" of snow.
The morning saw the freezing precipitation blanketing everything in the county as pictures started rolling in of Fort Stockton and other areas that received several inches of snow overnight. The arctic front dropped temperatures from 70-degrees to below the freezing mark in some areas.
In Runnels County, the freezing rain and sleet became freezing pellets of ice around 9 a.m. More sleet rolled in throughout the morning as the temperatures hovered around 30-degrees, with a slight windchill helping to cool things off. The rain, sleet and ice were intermittent all morning as the precipitation that did fall froze to everything it touched. Tree branches bent under the burden of snow and ice as reports of power outages started rolling in.
By sundown, snow covered the entire area with reports rolling in of collisions on Highway 67, as well as along other corridors in the county. Yesterday, motorists who commute to San Angelo were forewarned by the National Weather Service that ice could cause the roadways to become treacherous prior to 5 p.m. Temperatures rose to around 33 degrees by 4 p.m. The cloudy skies didn't help matters as temperatures quickly dipped into the upper 20s just after sundown.
Motorists in San Angelo from Ballinger found themselves facing the New Year's Eve prospect of driving home on frozen, dangerous roads and across several bridges, or staying put and making due. The traffic on Highway 67 south of Ballinger, at 6 p.m. was almost nonexistent.
Those that did stay home found time to play and have fun. Although we didn't have a white Christmas, Mother Nature has ensured that we will have a snowy, frosty New Year. Temperatures for New Year Day are expected to reach the low 40s, melting any wintry accumulations.
For power outage updates from AEP, you can check on power outages at outagemap.aeptexas.com.