Midland, Texas got a rare white Christmas last year, making national news in the process. While normally-snowy venues stayed dry, this west Texas oil boomtown got a significant dose of powder on Christmas Eve. This year my family decided to forego masses of presents and instead travel to Grapevine, Texas (in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area) to visit the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park. I checked the weather yesterday and saw no snow predicted on our Interstate 20 route. The worst expected was upper 30s and partly cloudy.
Instead, snow hit us before we got to Abilene, proving the weatherman tragically incorrect. Having lived in Wyoming for six years, I like to think of myself as proficient at driving in inclement weather, but the icy brew blowing in the strong Texas wind soon began to worry me. By the time we approached Fort Worth any icy slush was beginning to accumulate on the road. My wife's Nissan Versa, though a great vehicle in general, is hardly what I would consider solid snow transportation. Fortunately, though white knuckles were the norm for the last half hour of metro area driving, the small sedan never slipped or slid.
We made it safely, though delayed by missing a turn or two from snow-coated signs and having to re-navigate after stopping at a gas station. The many guests at the Great Wolf Lodge were audibly groaning and complaining about the foul weather but, judging by the packed parking lot, relatively few guests stayed away. By the evening there was a solid coat of real snow on the ground, providing my young family with an unprecedented second white Christmas in a row.
But all was not well in central Texas: On our way into Fort Worth we saw several vehicles that had skid off the highway, including a major one-vehicle wreck that had first responders out in force. Texans like their gas pedals but today was a day for caution. If you're in the Dallas-Fort Worth area today, make sure you take off your cruise control and click off your overdrive.
- Natural Phenomena