Powerful cold front turns tragic in Lubbock, around Texas
A potent cold blast has already yielded tragic results in Lubbock and across north Texas, and the danger is only increasing with temperatures expected to plummet even more through the weekend.
Freezing, icy weather was blamed for more than 100 crashes Wednesday and Thursday in Lubbock alone, with several resulting in serious injuries, according to the Lubbock Police Department.
And at least six people were killed in a 133-car pileup crash on I-35 west of downtown Fort Worth, which was blamed on icy conditions from the same Arctic cold system impacting the South Plains, according to reporting from the USA Today network.
While no deadly crashes had been linked to the weather in Lubbock as of Thursday, Lubbock Fire Rescue reported one person was found dead and another was hospitalized in a Central Lubbock home where gas cooking burners were being used to help heat the house, producing high carbon monoxide levels.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, LFR crews responded to a report of a gas leak inside a residence in the 3100 block of 3rd Street, according to a statement from the department.
LFR crews arrived on scene to a residential structure to find high levels of carbon monoxide inside the structure. One of the occupants was taken to a local hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Another resident was pronounced deceased on the scene. The cause of death is pending a Lubbock County Medical Examiner’s investigation.
An initial report indicates the occupants were using a wall mounted furnace to heat their home as well as their gas cooking range burners. There was no ventilation for the CO fumes to exit the inside of the home. There was also no carbon monoxide detector to alert the occupants.
The tragedy prompted Lubbock Fire Rescue to issue a warning about carbon monoxide safety, especially as the ongoing winter weather system is expected to linger over the South Plains well into next week.
“Temperatures will slowly fall through Monday – much of the area could see wind chill values in the negative 20s Monday morning into early afternoon,” reads a statement from the weather service.
Starting overnight Thursday into Friday, Lubbock isn’t expected to see temperatures above freezing until next Thursday, Feb. 18, when the high may reach 40, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service in Lubbock. Friday’s daytime high in Lubbock is forecast to reach only 26, with a high of 16 for Saturday and 11 on Sunday.
There’s also an increasing chance for snow and wintry precipitation, peaking at 90 percent Sunday night into early Monday in Lubbock.
“Sunday afternoon into Sunday night brings the greatest potential for accumulating snow and travel impacts,” according to the weather service.
That’s also when Lubbock could see it’s lowest temperature in years, with a low of -2 in the forecast for Monday morning. That would break the current record low of 8 degrees for Feb. 15, set in 1951.
Lubbock’s all-time record low temperature of -17 was set on Feb. 8, 1933.
To stay safe, Lubbockites are encouraged to limit their exposure to the elements when possible and to avoid travel on roadways. To monitor the latest travel conditions, go to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website, www.drivetexas.org.
Lubbock Fire Rescue offered the following tips to avoid deadly carbon monoxide exposure:
– If you have gas fired appliances, you need a carbon monoxide detector! CO is called the silent killer. You cannot smell it, see it, or taste it.
– Also, please do not use gas cooking ranges as a heating source. First, it is a fire hazard to leave an open flame burning overnight with no supervision. Second, these appliances were designed for cooking and do not have the proper ventilation.