Predictions of a rare East Texas snow event came true on Sunday as flakes began falling in the afternoon and picked up as the sun started to set prompting some school districts to alter Monday schedules.
Flurries began at about 1:30 p.m. before turning to sleet and back to snow within an hour. Snow started sticking on grassy areas by 3 p.m. Sunday and is expected to accumulate into Monday morning.
About 2 to 4 inches of wet, heavy snow is expected throughout the Longview area. The entire East Texas region could see isolated accumulation totals as low as 1 inch and as high as 5 inches.
In the Spring Hill area, 15-year-old Jared Welch and his friend Trevor West, 13, took advantage of the weather to have a snowball fight. In downtown Longview, people could be seen stopping by Heritage Plaza for the rare opportunity to take pictures in the falling snow.
A winter storm warning will remain in effect until 8 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
“The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute,” NWS Shreveport said in a statement. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”
The storm should leave the area by Monday morning turning into a partly sunny day with a high of 43 degrees. Though snow should begin to melt, there could be a refreeze of snow melt as temperatures drop to 26 degrees Monday night.
Texas Department of Transportation crews pretreated area roadways and are using shift work for response to winter storm conditions. I-20 and many other roadways were pretreated with brine, a salt water solution, TxDOT said in a release.
Those conditions could affect roads and drivers through at least Monday afternoon. Slushy snow-covered bridges, overpasses and roads are expected.
While the best course of action is to stay home, TxDOT is reminding drivers to slow down and leave more space between vehicles. Approach bridges, overpasses and turns slowly as well.
A handful of area school districts on Sunday afternoon began making changes as the snow continued to fall.
Closings and delays for Monday, Jan. 11:
Big Sandy ISD: Closed
Christian Heritage Classical School: Closed
Gladewater ISD: Closed
Hallsville ISD: Closed
Kilgore ISD: Closed
Longview ISD: Closed
Longview Christian School: Closed
Marshall ISD: Closed
New Diana ISD: Two-hour delay
Overton ISD: Closed
Panola College: Offices closed until10:30 a.m.; classes start at 11:15 a.m.
Pine Tree ISD: Closed
Region 7 ESC: Closed
Sabine ISD: Closed
St. Mary's Catholic School: Closed
Spring Hill ISD: Closed
Texas State Technical College in Marshall: Closed
Trinity School of Texas: Closed
Union Grove ISD: Closed
White Oak ISD: Closed
City of Henderson: Offices closed until noon
City of Longview: Longview Transit is delayed until 10 a.m.
Wellness Pointe: Longview, Gilmer, Kilgore offices closed
Zeid Women’s Health Center: will be closed