Very cold temperatures are now in place across the entire region in the wake of Tuesday’s arctic cold front. Although earlier forecasts called for the arctic front to stall over the coastal plains today, the front had enough steam to push off the middle Texas coast earlier this morning. Midday temperatures ranged from the mid and upper 20s across the Hill Country, to the low and mid-30s across Central Texas, to the mid-40s across the coastal plains.
With the cold air now in place, a weak overrunning pattern has begun to take shape thanks to trough of low pressure located over the southern Rockies. Occasional drizzle and light rain is forecast to develop across the region this afternoon as warm air is pulled north up and over the cold air at the surface. The precipitation is expected to be very light. Afternoon temperatures are predicted to remain nearly steady. For the Hill Country, this means readings will likely stay below freezing and any light precipitation that falls will freeze and stick to branches and other exposed objects. Across the northern Hill Country, between San Angelo and San Saba, a patchy wintery mix will be possible. For the Austin area, Central Texas and coastal regions, occasional drizzle or light rain can be expected this afternoon.
High resolution forecasts call for the overrunning pattern to strengthen some this evening through Thursday morning as the upper trough tracks to the southern Plains states. During this period, a somewhat a more widespread coverage of light precipitation is forecast. The freezing line overnight is predicted to set up generally along and north of a line stretching from Rocksprings, to Boerne, to New Braunfels, to Lexington. This will include the Austin metro area.
- For the northern Hill Country, occasional light freezing rain and sleet is forecast. Ice accumulations of a trace to just under a tenth of an inch are forecast. The low Thursday morning will be in the mid and upper 20s.
- For the central and eastern Hill Country, occasional light freezing rain and freezing rain is forecast. Ice accumulations are precited to range from a trace to a few hundredths of an inch. The low Thursday morning will be around 27-30 degrees.
- For the Austin and Interstate 35 corridor, occasional light freezing rain is forecast. Ice accumulations of a trace to a couple hundredths of an inch are forecast. Lows Thursday morning are forecast to be near 30 degrees.
- For areas east of the Interstate 35 corridor, occasional rain is forecast. Lows Thursday morning are predicted to be in the mid-30s.
The National Weather Service has now posted a Winter Weather Advisory for the central and eastern Hill Country, the Austin area and the Interstate 35 corridor through noon Thursday. Travis, Bastrop and Lee Counties are included in this advisory. A Winter Weather Advisory remains posted for the northern Hill Country through noon Thursday.
For the northern Hill Country, the ice accumulations are expected to cause deteriorating driving conditions late Wednesday night through Thursday morning.
For the rest of the Hill Country, the Austin area and the Interstate 35 corridor, the very light ice accumulations are expected to cause some minor travel impacts—mainly on bridges, overpasses and elevated roadways.
Occasional rain is forecast to persist Thursday afternoon, but temperatures are expected to trend warmer, into the low and mid-40s, easing the threat for freezing precipitation.
Forecasts call for another period of light precipitation to develop Thursday night, continuing through Friday morning. However, I will point out the latest data has trended a little drier for the Hill Country and the Interstate 35 corridor. Here, the probability for precipitation during this period will only be near 20-30 percent, with the precipitation taking the form of light freezing rain. Very light ice accumulations are forecast, but this may lead to hazardous driving conditions on bridges and overpasses. For the rest of the region, expect occasional light rain. Lows Friday morning will range from the mid-20s across the Hill Country, to near 30 degrees in the Austin area, to the low 40s across the coastal plains.
A slight chance for rain showers is forecast Friday afternoon. High temperatures are predicted to be in the low and mid-40s, with mid 50s expected towards the coast.
Forecasters are continuing to monitor the period from late Friday night into Saturday morning as a slight chance for precipitation continues. For the Hill Country and the Interstate 35 corridor, this means another slight chance for light freezing rain late Friday night into Saturday morning. Potential ice accumulations should be very low. Lows Saturday morning will be near 30 degrees across the Hill Country, in the low and mid-30s across Central Texas and in the mid-40s across the coastal plains.
Forecasts call for a slight chance for rain Saturday afternoon, with the rain tapering off from west to east Saturday night. High temperatures Saturday are forecast to be in the mid and upper 40s. Partly cloudy and warmer weather will develop Sunday, with temperatures warming to around 58-60 degrees.