Schools, courts and some roads closed in northwest Harris County for Wednesday

January 16, 2018 GMT

Northwest Harris County school districts will be closed for a second day on Wednesday after county officials announced the roadways would not thaw enough for motorists to drive safely in the morning.

“If you’re indoors and you’re in a safe place, you probably ought to stay there because it’s only going to get worse,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said at a press conference. “The temperature is dropping.”

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning on Monday for the Houston area to begin at 3 a.m.

In response to the accumulated ice, the Texas Department of Transportation has been de-icing roads with saltwater and a chemical agent.

Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said service trucks were spreading crushed limestone on roads and bridges in the precinct as part of a de-icing effort to prevent accidents.

Any resident in Precinct 4 seeking non-emergency help can call 281-353-8424.

Power outages also struck residents in northwest Harris County.

According to its website, CenterPoint Energy estimated that approximately 350 customers suffered from an outage along Texas 249 and Cypresswood Drive on Tuesday, which was restored at approximately 10 a.m.

To report power outages, call CenterPoint at 713-207-2222 or 800-332-7143.

Following the hazardous weather forecast Cy-Fair ISD, Klein ISD, Spring ISD, Tomball ISD and Lone Star College announced they would close their campuses on Wednesday.

Cy-Fair ISD spokesperson Joel Weckerly said the weather forecast does not appear to be safe.

“It’s not looking good, as you can imagine,” he said.

Spring, Klein and Tomball ISDs also announced classes and school activities would be canceled.

The Spring ISD board of trustees meeting originally scheduled on Tuesday has been postponed until Thursday, according to a press release.

“The Spring Independent School District board of trustees will hold its regular board meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 after it was rescheduled because of inclement weather,” said spokesperson Karen Garrison in a statement.

The forecasted accumulation of ice from the freezing rain, sleet and snow are expected to create hazardous driving conditions, especially on bridges and elevated roadways.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced that it worked with the constables’ offices to respond to approximately 200 reports of road accidents around the county.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said some roads were icy and unsafe to drive.

“We also have 100 roadways that have been impacted by the icy conditions, many of which are completely impassable,” he said.

Gonzalez said residents should call 713-CALL-MAP to report ice on the roadways.

In Tomball, non-essential city employees were released at 10 a.m. and are expected to return on Wednesday at 10 a.m., said spokesperson Mike Baxter.

“Last I heard was all hands on deck tomorrow,” Baxter said.

In response to the slick roads, Metro announced that bus services would be suspended beginning at 5:30 p.m. and urged riders to plan their trips ahead of time.

While the Harris County Toll Road Authority has temporarily waived fines for drivers on the toll roads, Emmett said the elevated ramps were unsafe to connect to major freeways.

“You can’t get on or off, so there’s really limited access on the toll road system,” Emmett said.

The Harris County District Clerk announced that jury duty would be cancelled on Wednesday.

The Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4, Place 1 closed on Tuesday due to inclement weather. When reached by text message, judge Lincoln Goodwin said the court would remain closed on Wednesday.

While the courthouse is currently under repair due to flood damage from Hurricane Harvey, it had temporarily relocated to the Pct. 4, Place 2 courthouse in Humble.

The Justice of the Peace Pct. 4, Place 2 courthouse remained open on Tuesday. Attempts to reach the court about a possible closure on Wednesday were unsuccessful.