Storm plan keeps Marble Falls roads open

The timing for a big ice storm in the Texas Hill Country was just a little off. But the anticipation of one created long lines Wednesday at gas stations as well as grocery stores. What came Thursday morning still tested local storm plans.

The wintery mix pushed into the Texas Hill Country and into Marble Falls around 4 a.m. Thursday morning. TxDOT crews were already in motion treating highways with materials to prevent major roadways from freezing over. 

Keeping the Hwy 281 bridge over the Colorado River passable was a big challenge, as were city bridges, which were covered with sand by the Marble Falls Public Works Department. 

Mayor Richard Westerman says they had a solid pre-storm game plan. "We prepared for everything, including generators, extra fuel, working with the school district, working with the county, we are also in touch with the surrounding cities as well," said Mayor Westerman.

The effort paid off.  For most of the day ice only accumulated on yards, tree limbs, parked vehicles and along areas that did not have a lot of traffic.

"We didn’t expect to run into this in Texas," said Lynn Staples, who tried to outrun the storm with her husband in their truck and camper trailer. The Minnesota couple was trying to reach South Padre.

"We drove yesterday from El Reno and we just ran into some ran, so it was good, everything was good, we got here last night, and decided we better stay," said Staples who hopes to continue their trip Friday.

As sleet continued to fall Thursday afternoon traveling was not encouraged. At times, on the Hwy 281 bridge, spotty ice started to develop. That had authorities trying to slow traffic as road crews put down more de-icing materials.

"The roads are not going to be safe for some time now, at least for another day and a half or two."

The possibility of isolated power outages also remains. Pedernales Electric and the Central Texas Electric Co-Op reported small outages Thursday, The size was nothing like what happened during the February winter storm.

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