POSTED: 8:48 a.m. HST, Feb 1, 2011
HOUSTON — An ice storm that's part of a monster system with 2,000-mile reach closed Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for about two hours Tuesday and left thousands of people without electricity during freezing conditions.
It's going to be a very difficult travel day," said David Magana, spokesman for DFW Airport, where crews cleared ice from the runways.
American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith says about 800 flights were canceled at DFW, the carrier's main, hub, as part of 1,400 cancellations systemwide.
The massive storm threatened to leave about a third of the nation covered in a hodge-podge of harsh weather, reaching from Texas to New England.
Dallas Love Field, home airport for Southwest Airlines, closed as crews worked to remove ice from the runways, said spokesman Jose Luis Torres.
An electric provider, Oncor, reported nearly 27,000 customers without power statewide. Nearly half of the outages were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where temperatures slid into the teens by late morning.
Schools in Arlington, where the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers play on Sunday in the Super Bowl, also closed.
West Texans woke to frigid weather. In Lubbock, where highs were expected to peak around 20 degrees, drivers slid on icy roads and forecasters reported more than 3 inches of snow in surrounding counties.
Texas Tech University canceled all classes before 11 a.m., and more than a dozen school districts in the Lubbock school district canceled classes altogether Tuesday.
Crews at Lubbock's Preston Smith International Airport began clearing snow off the runways early Tuesday and multiple flights had been canceled.
Storms with winds reaching 70 mph damaged some structures in Southeast Texas.
Gusts ranged from 41 mph in Morgans Point, across the bay from Galveston, to between 60 and 70 mph in Huntsville, about 70 miles north of Houston, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service reported trees down and roofs ripped off buildings in areas near Huntsville and Cleveland.
Gusts of 53 mph were measured at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.
By sunrise, the storms had calmed and Houston woke to a cloudy day with temperatures dipping to the upper 30s.