Travel slowly improves days after Texas ice storm
DALLAS, TX -- Travel slowly began to return to normal as temperatures rose slightly in North Texas on Monday following an ice storm that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights, closed schools and cut electricity to thousands of homes and businesses.
The Texas Department of Transportation urged drivers to use caution, as many bridges remained icy. The National Weather Service expected warmer conditions and sunny skies on Tuesday.
The transportation agency said late Sunday that it had reopened all major highways in the areas hardest hit by the wintry weather.
Over the weekend, church services were canceled, some businesses closed and grocery stores scrambled to keep up with demand in the Dallas-Fort Worth area due to the freezing temperatures.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines and American Eagle canceled 700 flights on Monday, mainly in North Texas. The carriers on a typical day operate about 3,500 flights, said spokeswoman Dori Alvarez.
About 650 people were stranded Sunday night at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, said David Magana, an airport spokesman. About 2,000 travelers were stranded there on Saturday night, while Friday night about 4,000 travelers were stranded, he said. All five of the regularly used runways were opened Monday, as well as a sixth one.
"It's signs of progress," Magana said.
More than 500 departures were scheduled Monday out of DFW, about 60 percent of their regular schedules, the airport said in a statement late Monday. Routine flight schedules are expected Tuesday.
"DFW Airport runways, taxiways and roadways are clear and in good shape. All DFW operations are running normally," according to the airport's statement.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines operated a normal schedule Monday at Love Field.
Oncor, a Dallas-based electric utility, said fewer than 3,500 homes and businesses were still without power Monday evening. Outages peaked at 270,000 at the height of the storm Friday.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which had halted train service since Friday due to ice on the tracks, offered a combination of rail and bus services Monday morning. DART said in a statement that it tested tracks, power systems and vehicles Sunday before resuming service.
Thousands of students in North Texas whose classes were canceled Friday were out of school again at the start of the week because of lingering icy conditions. The Dallas and Fort Worth school districts, along with the University of North Texas in Denton and UT-Arlington, also canceled classes.
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