Wintry, snowy weather is expected across East Texas Sunday and Monday, forecasters say.
National Weather Service Shreveport Hydrologist C.S. Ross said 1 to 2 inches of snow are possible throughout the region, beginning mid-Sunday afternoon.
“It will continue into the evening, moving west to east,” Ross said.
Temperatures are expected to drop to about 30 degrees Saturday night. Rain showers could begin after noon and transition to possibly sleet before turning to snow into Sunday night. Temperatures are expected to dip to 32 degrees.
Ross said the system could continue through shortly after sunrise Monday morning.
There is still uncertainty with the storm, and the forecast could change.
“Be careful driving on bridges and overpasses,” Ross said. He said the precipitation will likely turn into slush and could freeze overnight on the bridges/overpasses.
“Snow will be leftover Monday into Tuesday so there could be slippery spots left,” Ross said. “Since it’s going to be chilly, make sure outdoor pets have liquid water to drink outside, not ice water. Make sure they have a shelter to stay warm. Check on the elderly.”
The City of Longview Public Works Department prepared three sanding units Friday to disperse a brine mixture that prevents snow and ice from bonding to pavement. The city said in a statement that an on-call Public Works crew will be standing by to respond to any street issues that may arise.
“Both the Longview Police Department and Longview Fire Department are ensuring their equipment is prepared for the potential inclement weather and will actively monitor the weather and respond as necessary to any incidents,” the statement said.
TxDOT crews are preparing roadways in the area for snow and icy conditions. The pre-treatment of bridges and other roadway areas susceptible to wind and ice was completed Friday. Interstate 20 and other major roadways were being pre-treated with a brine solution consisting of salt and water designed to prevent ice and snow from sticking to surfaces.
Ross said temperatures will remain in the 20s Monday and Tuesday night. Daytime temperatures will slowly rise throughout the week to sunny and 60 degrees on Thursday.
“I suspect there will be traces of snow left by Tuesday morning,” Ross said. “By then temperatures will rise to 50-ish degrees, and it should be gone.”
January is a normal time of year for heightened expectation of snow in East Texas, Ross said. The last major snow event in Longview occurred in January 2018.
Winter weather can create dangerous driving conditions and can change rapidly. The Texas Department of Transportation advises drivers to stay off the roads and use extreme caution if they must drive.
TxDOT personnel are monitoring local forecasts and weather conditions and will respond as needed to ensure roadways remain open and safe for travel when possible. Road closures and other conditions are posted and updated as necessary at DriveTexas.org .
TxDOT driving tips include:
Kenneth Williams believes any chance there is to help people, we should take. That is why on Wednesday he was at Carter BloodCare in Longview to donate his convalescent plasma to help COVID-19 patients.
The Longview location can now take the plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to use antibodies in the plasma to treat people in the hospital with the virus.
Director of Operations for Carter BloodCare in East Texas Clinton McCoy said the working theory is that the body develops antibodies while someone is sick and those antibodies stay with the plasma.
“We draw the plasma out of their blood and return to red blood cells and platelets and just keep the plasma,” he said. “We then take that plasma, and we process it and test it for infectious disease, freeze it and ship it to hospitals who request it.”
McCoy said the plasma helps patients’ bodies recognize and develop antibodies by introducing the antibodies in the donated plasma to the blood.
Williams said he had COVID-19 right before Thanksgiving. His case was mild. He said he had a fever at the time and that it caused him to go get tested.
Though his initial rapid test was negative, Williams said his wife had the virus. So, they did a lab test that was sent off and returned with a positive result.
Williams donates blood multiple times a year and was scheduled to come in to donate Wednesday, but he decided to give convalescent plasma instead.
The donation process is similar to donating blood, but it takes about 45 minutes compared to 10. The machine pulls blood, removes the plasma and then returns the blood to the donor.
McCoy said they test donors to see if they have antibodies. How long a person has antibodies after recovering from COVID-19 varies. Some people still have antibodies from having the virus back in March, while others lose them much sooner.
Anyone who wants to donate should make an appointment, he said, because there are only two machines in Longview that can do the plasma donations. Appointments can be made online at carterbloodcare.org .
There is a need for plasma in the area. McCoy said the five biggest hospitals in East Texas — Longview Regional Medical Center, Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Trinity Mother Francis, UT Health Tyler and Paris Regional Medical Center — have transfused 2,276 units of plasma since March. However, only 1,177 of those units were collected locally.
The more units collected, the more hospitals can use it to treat patients.
“I wish everybody was as fortunate as I was for it to be as mild as it was. I know that doesn’t happen so that’s why I’m doing this, to help those who have more severe cases,” Williams said. “Any chance that we have to help other people who are worse off than we are is something we should do.”
Public health officials on Friday announced one new confirmed COVID-19 death in Gregg County and 71 newly confirmed cases since Wednesday as hospitalizations from the virus in the region remained above 15% for the 25th straight day.
The Northeast Texas Public Health District, known as NET Health, reported the newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 bring the county’s cumulative count to 4,425. One additional death brought the county’s confirmed fatalities to 84. Confirmed recoveries remained at 3,213.
The numbers do not include 3,021 probable cases, 1,616 probable recoveries and 63 probable deaths.
A case is considered probable when a person receives a positive result from a rapid test that is not then laboratory confirmed.
On Friday, there were 1,128 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Active cases in Gregg County Jail inmates on Friday increased by one to 16.
The latest state data shows COVID-19 patients accounted for 21.48% of hospital capacity in the Trauma Service Region G that stretches across a 19-county region in Northeast Texas and includes Gregg, Upshur, Rusk, Harrison, Panola and Smith counties. According to Texas Department of State Health Services, the 21.48% COVID-19 patient hospital capacity for the region on Thursday is down slightly from the previous day’s record of 22.06%, and it marks the 25th consecutive day that the rate surpassed 15%.
Seven consecutive days of hospitalization rates for the Trauma Service Area on Dec. 20 set in motion renewed restrictions at businesses and restaurants in the region, per an executive order issued in October by Gov. Greg Abbott. The counties that make up the trauma service area are Gregg, Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.
Seven consecutive days in which the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is less than 15% of total hospital capacity in the region are required to lift the new mandate.
The state on Friday reported 24 ICU beds were available in hospitals throughout Trauma Service Area G.
In Smith County, NET Health reported 184 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past two days and two additional deaths. The county has had 7,758 confirmed cases, 5,898 recoveries and 153 fatalities.
On Wednesday, there were 298 patients with probable or confirmed COVID-19 being treated at Tyler hospitals, an increase of two from Wednesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Friday reported 62 new cases of coronavirus in Harrison County residents since Wednesday and two additional deaths.
The county has had 1,594 cases and 67 fatalities from the virus, according to state data.
The state reported 12 new cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County since Wednesday and one additional death. The county has had 1,592 positive cases, according to the state, and 56 COVID-19 deaths.
Upshur County’s coronavirus cases increased by 13 for a total of 838, and the county’s deaths from the virus remained at 33.
In Smith County, NET Health reported 485 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Friday and no additional deaths. The county has had 8,243 confirmed cases, 5,901 recoveries and 153 fatalities.
On Tuesday, there were 316 patients with probable or confirmed COVID-19 being treated at Tyler hospitals, an increase of 18 from Friday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services on Tuesday reported 99 new cases of coronavirus in Harrison County residents since Friday and one additional death.
The county has had 1,693 cases and 68 fatalities from the virus, according to state data.
The state reported 69 new cases of the coronavirus in Rusk County since Friday and two additional deaths. The county has had 1,661 positive cases, according to the state, and 58 COVID-19 deaths.
Upshur County’s coronavirus cases increased by 52 for a total of 890, and the county’s deaths from the virus increased by five to 38.
A Pine Tree ISD principal and a Longview humanitarian have been named as this year’s Unity Honors recipients.
Each year, the Unity Honors recognizes the lifetime achievements of Longview residents who have led efforts to promote unity, mutual understanding and social justice in the city and area.
Shalonda Adams and Carroll Greenwaldt have resumes that fit that mold. They have been announced as 2021 Unity Honorees by the city of Longview Partners in Prevention’s Unity and Diversity Committee.
Beds of Hope, a volunteer-led organization that builds beds for children who are placed in foster homes, also will receive a special recognition at the 17th annual Unity Honors Luncheon. The luncheon will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 23 at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, 100 Grand Blvd. in Longview.
“It was a goal of mine to, maybe when I’m more mature and when I feel like I have done more, to be recognized in such a way. To be recognized now, I don’t feel deserving just yet but I am very in awe and very humbled,” Adams said.
Adams serves as principal of Pine Tree ISD’s P.A.C.E. Alternative Campus: DAEP and the district’s Adaptive Behavior Unit. At the school, Adams works with students to overcome challenges and work to be relational, resourceful and resilient.
Through her work with Partners in Prevention’s Hope For Youth, a social justice initiative to stop violence among youth in the community, she brought grassroots leaders together to address issues and barriers that divide people in the community. Adams also has served as a Forever Friends mentor and group facilitator, Boys & Girls Club Board of Governors member and local board member, and president of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for women educators.
At her campus and in her volunteer work, Adams strives to bring young people together as they overcome differences, grow to have empathy for one another and care for each other.
“We work on projects together that take away their differences and allow them to be young people together,” she said.
Greenwaldt, a member of the city’s Unity and Diversity Committee, has been an active humanitarian in the community since he moved to Longview. His efforts have been focused on assisting those in poverty and helping to feed the hungry.
Greenwaldt was instrumental in bringing the “backpack meal program” to Longview schools. Through the program, students are sent home with a backpack of food so they can eat during the weekend. He also volunteers at Newgate Mission, has served in Rotary International and as president of the board of directors of Refuge International in Longview. Projects have included improving maternal and child health, providing clean water to villages, and offering the opportunity for children and indigent people in Guatemala to see qualified health professionals from the United States.
“I am very humbled by being selected. I believe in volunteering and have done so over my 45-plus years in Longview. I love doing humanitarian things to help others,” Greenwaldt said as he left a food distribution Friday morning by the East Texas Food Bank. “We touched almost 900 families this morning. Helping others is part of what I think is important in life. I’m very glad to be able to serve others and I’m very honored by this recognition.”
Tickets for the Unity Honors Luncheon are $20 and are available online or at any of three locations — Broughton Recreation Center, 801 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; Longview Public Library, 222 W. Cotton St.; or Partners in Prevention, fourth floor of the Glover-Crim Building, 140 E. Tyler St.
Tickets must be purchased by June 16, as tickets will not be available at the luncheon. Sponsorships also are available. For information, call Partners in Prevention at (903) 237-1019.