The Rio Grande Valley has endured high winds, heavy rains and recently, snow. But none have closed an international bridge in the past decades. Icy conditions close the veterans international bridge in Brownsville overnight on Wednesday January 16, 2018.
Ice road conditions caused road closures, delayed schedules for school districts, and ice. A cold snap takes over parts of the Rio Grande Valley forcing highways closed early.
We met with the National Weather Service Station in Brownsville for more on what’s to come.
Meteorologist Barry Goldsmith says, “We’ll have one more full day of chilly kind of wet conditions. And even Friday we’ll be recovering slowly, still well below average but not as cold as it has been.”
Snow hits the valley during the last weeks of 2017 followed by ice in the first weeks of 2018. It’s an unusual sight for valley residents one that is causing road closures and delays.
“To have 2 in a season is definitely rare,” says Goldsmith, “To have 3 in a season is very to extremely rare.”
Communication between agencies is crucial. Closing roadways, schools, or even international crossings can be a challenge. Goldsmith tells us that preparations begin early in a mass communication email to government agencies. This could be sent out as early as a week before an incident.
“[The email is] discussing what we expect will happen and the confidence of what will happen, and we discuss potential impact.”
Dozens of agencies across the valley rely on data from the National Weather service to make informed decisions. It’s an detailed list that is first sent to government agencies.
“We do this government to government,” adds Goldsmith, “We don’t offer this to individuals because we are all in the same boat of providing public safety information.”
The NWS makes suggestions for agencies, but they leave the agencies to decide what to do with said information. Their information can take the guesswork out of sever weather.