Icy new year makes for dangerous roads

Freezing temperatures and mists made for hazardous driving conditions across Erath County this New Year’s Eve.

Although there was little in the way of rainfall on Dec. 30, mists coated the roads with moisture, which remained as temperatures reached freezing at 4 p.m. that day and continued to drop all the way to 29 degrees Fahrenheit.

This left a sheet of barely visible ice on Erath roads that remained through New Year’s Eve, which faced a high of 30 degrees and a low 20. Freezing temperatures remained into Wednesday, but sunshine managed to melt away much of the ice on the roads and ground on the morning of Jan. 1 despite a high of 25 and a low of 13.

This wasn’t before Erath County’s Sheriff’s Office received reports of 39 weather-related incidents outside of city limits for those three days. 

This included 14 on Highway 281, which included vehicle rollovers, swerving into the oncoming lane, vehicles and semi’s off the roadway, multiple vehicle stalls going up hills and on the roadway, a jack-knifed truck and trailer, and vehicles striking trees and running through fences. The first of these accidents was reported just as temperatures reached freezing as a vehicle rollover was reported at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 30.

There were also 10 accidents reported on Highway 377 following notification that bridges had iced over at 5:40 a.m. on Dec. 31. Calls included three collisions while the remaining reports related to vehicles off the roadway including rollovers and striking objects.

The remaining calls included a vehicle swerving and over correction on Highway 67 at 6:36 p.m. on Dec. 30 and single vehicle accidents and rollovers after leaving the roadway. These were reported on Highway 67, County Road 176, State Highway 220, State Highway 108, State Highway 6, FM205, FM2303, CR509 and I-20.

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