Road conditions in Houston, Texas, are treacherous this morning due to below freezing temperatures. Ice has formed across several roadways causing accidents and delays. The above photo was taken just after 11 a.m. local time and shows significant back-up due to slippery roads in the area. As you can see, several people decided to drive the opposite way on this particular roadway to try to avoid the hazardous conditions — and the traffic.
According to ABC 13, driving conditions have been a major concern in the city today and local authorities have been working to keep people away from the more dangerous areas.
“Mid-morning on Wednesday, more drivers ventured back out to the roads. In the case of the Southwest Freeway, that may have been too soon. Icy patches remained, mostly at overpasses and near freeway curves, along Highway 59. Police blocked some areas, and as the traffic backup worsened, some drivers tried to get out of the gridlock by turning around and driving the wrong way down the Chimney Rock exit ramp, headed for the feeder roads. City of Houston Mobility Response Team members arrived on the scene to clear the backup shortly after 11 a.m.”
Officials said that more than 50 highways had to be closed because of ice on Wednesday morning. As conditions improve, these highways are being reopened — but it has been a relatively slow process.
“Dozens of tractor-trailers were stranded on 59 Southwest Freeway near the Westpark Tollway because officials closed the highway heading into downtown Houston. The freeway was also closed in the Montrose area. Authorities in both locations were forcing traffic to exit,” reports Click 2 Houston.
The current temperature in Houston is hovering around 28 degrees. The last time the city saw temps below freezing was in 1996, according to the Houston Press. Temperatures are expected to increase to above freezing over the next couple of hours and some sunshine should help with the icy conditions, but drivers are still advised to use caution when heading outside.
“Highs are expected to top out in the mid to upper 30s. But anything above freezing will allow all this ice to melt and dry out. Temperatures for much of Houston should get there right around noon given ample time for the roads to dry this afternoon,” reports the Houston Press. The temperature will fall again in the evening and overnight hours, likely causing more icy conditions, which means that things could get slightly worse before they get better; Over the next few days, temps will continue to rise.
The chilly weather has caused the city of Houston to close schools and cancel other city services. Things are expected to be back up and running per usual tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you are traveling in the area today or tonight, officials advise that you drive slow and take your time. If you don’t have to be out on the roadways, officials suggest that you stay home.
“Please continue to stay off the roads people! Many are still covered in ice,” Houston Police Department tweeted a short while ago.