Warming gives ETexas relief after flash freeze

SARAH A. MILLER/STAFF Ice and sleet blanketed Tyler and East Texas in a wintry mix on Sunday and Monday, creating dangerous road conditions. Those conditions improved Tuesday as warmer weather arrived to help thaw out the area.

Emergency and utility workers breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after temperatures began climbing and melted ice off roadways.

Emergency crews worked through the night to ensure the roads were safe Tuesday morning.

Two days after a surprise ice storm paralyzed traffic and caused widespread power outages, wrecks continued Tuesday on Interstate 20, where motorists had found themselves stranded the day before.

Tyler police spo-kesman Don Martin said the department called in extra officers Monday and Tuesday to help with calls regarding stranded motorists, downed power lines and trees and intersections where traffic signals were out.

"There were more calls for people stranded than there were for accidents. We worked a lot of intersections and did a lot of public service-type calls," he said.

Charles Hill with Oncor said that as of Tuesday night, power was restored to the entire area.

At the height of the ice storm that hit the area Sunday, there were more than 13,000 customers without power in the Tyler area.

"We had a lot of people working a lot of hours in some not-so-pleasant conditions to restore the power, but I think it's safe to say it's over now," he said.

Susan Guthrie, assistant city manager, said, "We've had crews out 24 hours a day, and we are very pleased with the way things went. This type of weather doesn't happen often in our area, so we are proud of the job everyone did."

Ms. Guthrie said the Tyler Pounds Field Regional Airport was back to normal operations Tuesday, as were other city services such as garbage pickup and bus services.

The National Weather Service's forecasts for the rest of the week calls for temps to rise into the 50s today but dipping back to a low of 33 tonight with a 40 percent chance of rain and sleet. The rest of the week shows the mercury rising into the 70s with a chance of rain for the weekend.





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