Snowpocalypse Part III arrives, but we’ll have sunny skies and highs near 70 this weekend

Schools will be closed today (Wednesday) in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, as well as a number of other districts throughout North Texas (full list here). Freezing rain began to fall in Dallas at about 5:45 a.m., and forecasters expected it to change over to snow later this morning. Snow accumulations may be lower than expected at 1-2 inches, but ice will pose the biggest threat on roadways. TxDOT is running low on granular ice melt after last week’s storms, and loaner plows have mostly been returned. DART is already reporting delays, and ERCOT has issued a power watch — with the greatest likelihood of rolling blackouts coming Thursday morning, when we’ll see a low of 11 degrees. Trash is piling up, and pipes are again at risk. But now for the good news: The forecast calls for sunny skies and highs in the 60s Saturday through Tuesday. Welcome to Texas.

—  John Wright

DART fails us when we need it most

DART — running in good weather

Even people who don’t usually ride DART should be able to use it as a fallback during inclement weather. During the current winter weather, DART has been a complete failure.

On Tuesday, the train lines did not begin running until 2:30 p.m. DART was completely unprepared as switching signals froze and ice formed on overhead cables.

Subways in Chicago and New York run with power supplied by a third rail. Ice is not a problem. But in cold-weather cities like Denver, light rail runs despite snow and sleet and cold. The trolleys in Boston run with an overhead power supply despite ice and wind.

In those cities, the transportation systems run the trains through the night to keep the power lines defrosted — and keep the trains running during normal operating hours.

DART failed to keep their riders informed. This morning at Hampton Station, a number of riders arrived by 7:30 a.m. They checked DART’s web page and Facebook page on their mobile devices. DART said trains were running at 20-minute intervals and a Green Line train was stuck downtown because of a switching problem.

Station monitors had no information for riders. The only help offered was calling DART four times to tell them ticket machines weren’t working and conductors shouldn’t fine riders who claimed they boarded at Hampton Station.

Those same riders who arrived at 7:30 a.m. finally boarded a train at 8:45.

—  David Taffet

WHAT’S BREWING: Brittany Novotny; Mexican gay beer; Ice-Ma-Poca-Geddypse intensifies

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. “My name is Brittany Novotny, and I was born in the wrong body.” Transgender Oklahoma City attorney Brittany Novotny, who challenged bigoted State Rep. Sally Kern last November, has recorded an “It Gets Better” video (above) aimed at trans youth.

2. Finally, a gay beer! But it’s not called Schmitts Gay. A Mexican brewery has released two “Artisan Honey-Ales” targeted specifically to the LGBT community, called “Salamandra” and “Purple Hand,” and the first 500 cases have already sold out. Christ, what are we, a bunch of alcoholics?

3. The latest weather-related disaster to strike North Texas is ROLLING BLACKOUTS that are only supposed to last 15 minutes but may in fact last just long enough for you to FREEZE TO DEATH!!! But don’t even think about trying to leave the house because it’s DANGEROUSLY COLD and there’s ICE EVERYWHERE, so you’re likely to GET KILLED IN AN AWFUL WRECK!!! So just stay inside and watch the news, which will come up with something new to scare the shit out of you and boost their ratings, at least until the power goes out.

—  John Wright