Western Cities Wake to Find Icy Roads

West of Tyler, the weather caused major problems. The winter storm dropped snow and ice in Henderson and Van Zandt counties, turning the roadways into ice rinks. It wasn't exactly a winter wonderland.

As the roads slicked over, the morning drive turned into something more challenging.

"It was bad, very bad." says Terry Hudgeons, who moved from south Texas to Gun Barrel City recently. "We've never seen it. We just moved here from the south."

"And now, I'm thinking about migrating back to the south," she said, laughing.

"It was very icy," says Eustace resident Tina Rogers. "I had to go into work at eight this morning and I was lucky, they sent me home."

Residents were caught unaware, scrambling to clear their cars and keep their tires on the roads. Tina Jennings of Seven Points says East Texans aren't prepared to drive on the ice, even if they think they are.

"Some of them are going out in the four wheel drives thinking they can handle it. But what they don't understand is they don't have any more brakes than anyone else does."

With traction questionable, local schools started late or closed altogether. Athens schools opened late today as a precaution.

"When you just go outside to get in your car this morning, your door handles might have been frozen," Athens Superintendent Curtis Rhodes says. "Once it's daylight, you can see what you're driving on."

Most businesses stayed open. Tim Jarvis of Tri-County Ford in Mabank opened his lot, but with one major change.

"We had a guy who wanted to test drive a car," Tim says. "I told him I wouldn't go with him, he'd have to wait until the roads clear. I'll drive it, but I'm not going to let somebody else drive it."

Meanwhile, impromptu snowball fights and sliding contests were breaking out all over East Texas among kids, as the only people enjoying the weather were the ones who didn't have to worry about driving in it.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.