On Thursday and Friday, temperatures are expected to be between 28 and 13 degrees and the wind chill could dip below zero. At about 8 a.m., wind chills across DFW varied from 6 to 14 degrees. On Friday morning, wind chills have the potential to range from -1 to -9 degrees. A winter chill advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Friday. Get a complete forecast here.
Drivers should drive carefully on bridges and overpasses, as thin layers of ice from light freezing drizzle have been reported across North Texas. The chances of seeing ice will be greater in the counties north of Dallas and Fort Worth, NBC DFW Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock said Wednesday night.
So far, more than 225 school districts have closed or delayed starts Thursday, including Frisco, Keller, Northwest and HEB. At this time, Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth are all still open and on time. (See a complete list of school delays and closings here)
Dallas Area Rapid Transit has reported delays of up to 45 minutes from Mockingbird Station north due to icing on overhead power lines. There are also Blue Line delays around the Illinois Station due to local icing. This may affect other parts of the system as well. The Trinity Railway Express is operating normally.
HOV lanes on Interstate 30 East RL Thornton and Interstate 30 Tom Landry, Interstate 35-E/US 67 and High Five at LBJ/Central Expressway are closed.
There have been no reported delays at DFW International Airport or Dallas Love Field.
In West Texas, forecasters report temperatures at 6 a.m. Thursday were 18 degrees in Lubbock, 10 degrees in Pampa and 13 degrees in Borger.
Gov. Rick Perry ordered the activation of the National Guard and other state resources as a precaution for any weather-related emergencies. More than 75 military personnel and three dozen high profile and other support vehicles were in place in Corsicana, Huntsville, Lufkin, Marshall and New Boston.
With the extreme winter weather, the Red Cross and local officials are advising North Texans to take precautions to stay safe and warm over the next few days, especially in their homes.
On Wednesday evening, hardware stores quickly sold out of some cold-weather supplies, including insulated covers for outdoor faucets and exposed pipes. Customers also crowded discount retailers such as Target for gloves, coats and other supplies. (Read more here about what people were buying.)
The National Fire Protection Association states that heating equipment, like space heaters, are the No. 1 cause of home fires during December, January and February and the second-leading cause of home fires year-round. Most accidents involving space heaters are the result of human error -- heaters are placed too close to combustible material like drapes and furniture, or they have not been properly maintained. (Read more here about taking precautions during extremely cold weather.)
WEDNESDAY'S STORM PREPS
In Dallas, street services have sanding trucks and crews on standby and code compliance crews are looking for businesses or residents who may be violating city rules by running a sprinkler during inclement weather. Dallas Water Utilities has repair crews on standby in the event of a water main break.
The Dallas Police Department has activated a plan to locate unsheltered homeless persons and take them to the Bridge, Dallas' homeless assistance center. (Read more here about Operation Code Blue.)
The Dallas ISD has canceled all outdoor athletic activities from Thursday through Saturday due to the impending cold. In Fort Worth and Arlington, the school districts have implemented plans to de-ice walkways, check plumbing and turn off sprinklers while warming buses and schools earlier to insure that student instruction is not disrupted due to frigid temperatures. (See a complete list of school delays and closings here)
"With temperatures below 21 degrees, we have crews that arrive at 4 a.m. to begin starting and warming the buses," said Mike Horsely, director of Fleet Operations for the Fort Worth Independent School District. "The biggest issue in cold weather is that diesel fuel thickens, but we don’t expect the cold to last long enough for that to be an issue."
Finally, don't forget your pets. Even animals that live outdoors most of the year should be brought inside during times of inclement weather.
"If you're cold, your outdoor pets are cold," said Jonnie England, director of Animal Advocacy for the Metroplex Animal Coalition. "The body temperature of dogs and cats is just a little higher than a human's, so even though they're wearing 'fur coats,' they're still going to suffer in weather this cold. If it's not feasible to bring the pets inside the house, at the very least, they should be set up in a draft-free garage or storage building with plenty of dry, clean bedding." (Read more about taking care of pets in extremely cold weather.)