Here’s an update on the blast of arctic air that will be arriving this weekend and persisting into the middle of next week.

Important Forecast Changes

  • Strong winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 45 mph are forecast to develop after midnight Thursday night and continue through about midday Friday in the wake of a Pacific cold front
  • The arctic cold front is now expected to arrive earlier than previously forecast—early Sunday morning
  • There will be a very slight chance for some wintery precipitation for the Austin and Central Texas area Sunday night through early Monday morning

Thursday Night/Friday Wind Event

A strong trough of low pressure and Pacific cold front are predicted to sweep southeast across Texas Thursday evening and Thursday night. The front is forecast to reach the northern Hill Country Thursday evening, the Austin area around 9/10 pm, and the coastal area before sunrise Friday. No rain or storms are predicted along the front when it moves across our region. However, some isolated storms will be possible just to our east across the Brazos Valley. Behind the cold front, a strong pressure gradient is expected to cause the development of strong westerly winds with speeds of 20-30 mph, and gusts to 45/50 mph. These strong winds are predicted to continue into Friday afternoon. Wind speeds should decrease to 10-20 mph mid to late Friday afternoon.

Arctic Outbreak Update

Data from some of the overnight higher resolution forecast models indicate the arctic cold front will be pushing through our area much sooner than previously forecast. This will result in a shift to much colder temperatures for Sunday, compared to previous forecasts. Forecasts now call for the artic front to pass south of the Red River late Saturday afternoon, reaching the northern Hill Country late Saturday evening. The front should pass through the Austin area shortly after midnight Saturday night and the middle Texas coast before sunrise Sunday. Partly cloudy, windy, and colder weather will follow in the wake of Saturday night’s cold front. Expect northerly winds of 10-20 mph, with occasional gusts to 30 mph.

  • Lows Sunday morning are forecast to be in the mid and upper 20s across the Hill Country, the low and mid-30s across Central Texas, and the upper 30s to low 40s across the coastal plains.
  • Little change in the temperature is forecast Sunday. Highs will include the mid-30s across the Hill Country, the upper 30s across Central Texas, and the low 40s across the coastal plains.

Temperatures are forecast to fall below freezing across most of the region by Sunday evening. Some of the computer forecast solutions continue to indicate a brief period of overrunning wintery precipitation may develop late Sunday evening through early Monday morning across Central Texas. The area will generally be along and east of Interstate 35 and north of Interstate 10 (which includes the Austin metro). There will be a low (20 percent) chance for some light freezing drizzle, sleet, or snow flurries. Little to no freezing precipitation is anticipated. The window for wintery precipitation looks to close by mid-morning Monday.

Cold air will become entrenched across the area beginning Sunday night, continuing through Wednesday. The arctic air should finally exit our area late Wednesday. Hard freezes are predicted for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights, with the coldest period is still expected to be Monday night into Tuesday morning when temperatures in the upper teens are predicted to occur all the way down to the U.S. 59 corridor. Do note the Hill Country and parts of Central Texas are forecast to remain below freezing between Sunday evening till roughly midday Tuesday.

  • Lows Monday morning are forecast to be between 15 and 20 degrees across the Hill Country, near 20 degrees across the Austin/Central Texas area, and in the low to mid-20 across the coastal plains
  • High temperatures Monday are forecast to be in the upper 20s across the Hill Country, in the low 30s across Central Texas, and mid-30s towards the coast.
  • Low temperatures Tuesday morning are forecast to be between 8 and 12 degrees across the Hill Country, between 15 and 20 degrees across Central Texas, and between 18 and 22 across the coastal plains.
  • High temperatures Tuesday are predicted to be in the mid-30s.
  • Lows Wednesday morning are forecast to be in the in the upper teens across the Hill Country, near 20 degrees across Central Texas, and in the low 20s across the coastal plains.
  • Temperatures Wednesday are forecast to climb to around 50 degrees.

Cold weather preparations for exposed pipes, sprinkler systems, pets/livestock, plants, and people should be underway and need to be completed by Saturday evening.