Update at 10:24 a.m.
Houston Independent School District officially closed all schools and administrative offices for the day. The freeways are still a mess as temperatures remain at or below freezing throughout the area. Forecasts suggest temperatures should climb above freezing by noon and the ice should dissipate.
Update at 8:35 a.m.:
Officials have asked that if people don't have to drive, they wait as many bridges and overpasses have ice on them. Both airports have canceled flights until around 9 a.m. and most schools in the Greater Houston area are closed for the day. Many businesses have delayed opening as well and it is clear from the lack of traffic that plenty of Houstonians have decided to stay home today. There are still wrecks dotting the freeways, however.
The temperature in Houston should climb back above freezing by later this morning, melting the ice and making the roadways safe again -- well, as safe as they can be in Houston anyway.
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To our northern American neighbors, the kind of weather Houston is experiencing is child's play. It would be like them complaining about a day in August with 95-degree temperatures and 90 percent humidity. We'd shrug it off as we slipped from one air conditioned environment to the next. This weather -- this wintry, cold, freezing mess -- is what, in January, people up north refer to as "Friday."
So, when schools shut down, it's not simply because of the discomfort to students or because it is truly dangers outside for bus drivers, it is, at least in part, because our city loses its freaking mind at even a hint of freezing weather.
At least in this case, they might be right to do so. Many area schools have closed or at least delayed opening today as icy roads throughout the area will certainly cause delays on area roadways. Add to that the fact that it is Friday and it is likely to be a ghost town on freeways this morning. Better that than trafficpocalypse.
The good news is that all this will subside by the late morning for the immediate Houston area and things should begin to return to normal. By Sunday, you'll be wearing flip flops as temps climb to around 70. So, enjoy the freezing respite while you can and stay off the roads.