Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

December 22, 2013

Local officials view ice storm emergency response as positive

By CLINT FOSTER

Two weeks removed from the record-breaking ice blast that blanketed North Texas from Dec. 5 through 9, the City of Mineral Wells and Palo Pinto County officials had overall positive views of their response to what many on social media called the “Icepocalypse.”

In typical Texas weather fashion, a 73-degree high on Wednesday was followed by a temperature free-fall to a low of 23 degrees and sleet on Thursday night. Mineral Wells was incased in .77 inches of ice and weekend temperatures as low as 16 degrees.

Many people across North Texas grew increasingly critical of the official response to the inclement weather, with memories resurfacing of the last bad ice storm in 2011 that seemed to catch everyone off-guard right before the first ever Super Bowl in Dallas-Fort Worth. But despite local residents being stuck in their homes, businesses either closed or under-stocked and Mineral Wells ISD closed from Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, the prevailing opinion is that the City of Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto County and state officials handled things quite well.

City Manager Lance Howerton told the Index that city crews and the Texas Department of Transportation split road-clearing duties in Mineral Wells with TXDOT focusing primarily on U.S. Highways 180 and 281.

However, he added limited equipment and budget cuts at the state level meant TxDOT had to focus primarily on more heavily travelled roadways, shifting additional burden on local Public Works crews.

But Howerton said the City responded to the best of its ability.

“All in all, I think we were prepared,” he said. “This was pretty much the same as what we’ve encountered before. (This storm) was a little more lengthy and involved than what we typically see, but, all in all, it merited a pretty routine response.

“We didn’t have some of the really serious problems they had to east of us. We were very fortunate that it was not any worse than it was.”

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