That cold stuff on the ground? It's just ice, South Texas

Photo from Devon Sayers
Friday, January 24, 2014 - 10:00am

Houston, you have a problem. It's called ice, and some of you may even be seeing something called snow.

It's OK; it's actually pretty normal in most parts of the country.

But we understand if you're freaking out a little bit, like this Twitter user: "Ice on my windshield. Anything I can do or should I just bust it out with a hammer?"

Winter weather is pretty rare in Houston, a place more accustomed to prepping for a hurricane than weird Northern rituals like tossing salt on the ground.

The city's had measurable snow only three times since 1968; the last time in 1994, according to CNN's weather unit.

Still, the city and its suburbs were under a winter storm warning Friday morning, with the National Weather Service warning of the chance of up to 2 inches of snow and nearly a tenth of an inch of ice.

Icy conditions were common across roadways in the nation's fourth-largest city, transportation officials reported Friday morning.

Many school districts closed for what amounted to a snow day for hundreds of thousands of kids.

"Yay for long weekend," Twitter user lauraface13m posted Friday morning. "What? Oh yeah ... no! No snow has actually fallen. It's just cold and rainy. Close enough."

Snow did fall north of Houston. In Madison County, the National Weather Service said nearly an inch of snow was on the ground.

In Huntsville, about an inch of snow fell overnight, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.

In San Antonio, similar conditions were causing problems for commuters Friday morning. About a tenth of an inch of rain fell overnight, freezing on surfaces and making many roads slippery, CNN affiliate KSAT reported.

Officials urged residents to stay off the roads if possible, the station said.

The system appeared to be moving out of the Houston region Friday morning.

Winter weather caused more serious problems Thursday in Indiana, where three people died in a 30-vehicle accident in whiteout conditions on Interstate 94.

The interstate's eastbound lanes remained closed early Friday, the Indiana Department of Transportation said. Officials have removed the last vehicle involved in the wreck, CNN affiliate WLS reported.

Also, propane shortages across the country are causing prices to spike, pinching consumers looking to keep ahead of bitter cold winter weather in many places.

"We have double blankets on the beds, the couch, the kids' beds. I don't know what else to do," said Sandy DeHorn, who said prices for propane rose from $2.69 to $5 in one day.

"How can that happen?" she said.

More than 12 million U.S. households use propane to keep warm, according to an industry trade group. Supplies are short because of increased demand due to the cold weather and increased usage by corn farmers last fall, who used extra propane to dry a bumper crop of corn.

CNN's George Howell, and CNNMoney's Caleb Silver and Steve Hargreaves contributed to this report.


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