Ice Storm Cripples Dallas

DALLAS (CN) - A massive ice storm has shut down courthouses and government offices in Dallas-Fort Worth - ice, snow and sleet were still falling Friday morning.
     Winter Storm Cleon, the third named storm of the season, stretched from Central Texas to as far northeast as Maine this morning.
     County commissioners ordered government offices and courthouses closed in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.
     Up to an inch of ice has blanketed the region, with subfreezing temperatures forecast for the next several days.
     U.S. District Courts in the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, Abilene, Wichita Falls and Fort Worth are closed for the day, as well.
     Opening of the court's Lubbock and San Angelo divisions were delayed until 10 a.m. A decision was pending about the court's Amarillo division.
     Roads and railroads have been effectively shut down.
     Dallas' light rail network is inoperable, according Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
     The Trinity Railway Express commuter rail connecting downtown Dallas and Fort Worth is operational, but with long delays.
     More than 200,000 residents have lost power in Dallas and Fort Worth, according to Oncor Electric Delivery. More than 2,500 employees from as far away from Florida are responding to the outages.
     Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins preemptively announced the county's courthouse closure for today on Twitter.
     Dallas County's coordinated response to the icy weather is a welcomed improvement from its ineffective response to a storm in February 2011 that confused the public as some offices shut down while others remained open.