SKATING ON THIN ICE! -- An 18 wheeler lost control on the I-10 bridge that crosses over Poplar Street on Thursday as an unprecedented winter storm blasted Sutton County, glazing roads with ice and interrupting electrical service to hundreds of local residents and businesses.  -- COURTESY PHOTO
SKATING ON THIN ICE! -- An 18 wheeler lost control on the I-10 bridge that crosses over Poplar Street on Thursday as an unprecedented winter storm blasted Sutton County, glazing roads with ice and interrupting electrical service to hundreds of local residents and businesses. -- COURTESY PHOTO
Sutton County residents experienced frigid conditions last week and early this week as temperatures plunged well below freezing and were recorded as low as 3 degrees. However, with wind chills the temperatures felt like 1 degree.
The Polar Blast caused local hotels and motels to experience high volumes of customers.

By Sunday afternoon all hotels and motels were at full capacity. Travel on I-10 was discouraged due to icy conditions, travelers and truck drivers sought refuge in Sonora.

The roadways near Loves and in town on North Crockett were lined with 18 wheelers taking a break from the hazardous conditions as well.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) had crews treating the roadways twenty-four hours a day to minimize the ice accumulation.

The Sheriff’s Department, Police Department, Emergency Medical Services and Volunteer Fire Department worked tirelessly to render aide for automobile accidents as well as falls occurring because of the weather.

The Sheriff’s Department estimated over 30 automobile accidents from Thursday to Monday morning because of the icy roadways.
Holmes Wrecker service reported over 75 requests for assistance due to the treacherous road conditions.

Sonora ISD initially called for an early start on Thursday morning, but later cancelled classes for the day. The school had a previously planned student holiday on Friday, but due to the uncertainty regarding the weather, the holiday was changed to a remote learning day. The students had a remote learning day on Monday. But all classes were cancelled on Tuesday thru Thursday with a half day of remote learning scheduled for Friday. These closures are due to electrical outages and the inability for all students to have access to WIFI.

The Lady Broncos Bi-District playoff game against Wall was postponed until after the weather clears. UIL has made an alternate schedule for girls basketball playoffs, however it will all depend on the weather over the next few days.

On Friday, Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for all 254 counties in the state. He also reminded travelers that although TxDOT is treating roadways, the effectiveness would be limited due to the ultra-low temperatures.
On Saturday, Abbott warned Texas residents to brace for unprecedented Texas weather reminding all that travel will be difficult and dangerous due to the frigid conditions.

Sunday Texas residents were warned that rolling blackouts may be a possibility due to the strain on the power grid. Many residents in Sutton County have been without power since Thursday. However, due to the rolling power outages many residents in town lost power early Monday morning, with power return Tuesday.

This outage forced most stores and business to close as they were unable to conduct business without electricity.

AEP (American Electric Power) on Monday morning reported 1,341 customers in Sutton County were without electricity as temperatures remained below freezing at 12 degrees. AEP was unable to predict an exact time frame for the return of power. Only stating that they are hoping for power restoration within 24-48 hours.

According to Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the most recent use of rotating outages was in February 2011 when parts of Texas experienced a snowstorm accompanied by a cold temperature. The coldest recorded temperature for Sonora is -8 degrees occurring on February 2, 1951.
Sunday night County Judge Steve Smith opened the emergency shelter at the Sutton County Civic Center to any person in need of a warm place to stay. At that time temperatures were falling into the single digits, reported at 8 degrees as snow continued to fall.

The emergency shelter at the elementary school gym was opened Monday and Tuesday nights, providing cots, warmth, showers and warm meals.
Many Sonora residents remained without power, or water, or both on Wednesday as the Devil’s River News went to press.

The DRN thanks all of the county’s first responders, law enforcement, city, county and state employees for working diligently to keep Sonora safe!