…Final Preparations for the Bitterly Cold Air Should be Completed Today…

…A Hard Freeze Watch Will be in Effect from Thursday Afternoon through Saturday Morning…

…A Wind Chill Watch Will be in Effect from Thursday evening through Friday Morning…

NO precipitation is predicted with the cold outbreak late week and through the holiday weekend…

Wednesday’s weather maps showed the surge of arctic air is now on its way south across the Plains states and the northern Rockies. As of midday, the leading edge of the arctic air had reached northern Nebraska and southern Wyoming. Temperatures behind the front were in the negative teens across the Dakotas and in in the -20s across Montana. Some locations across Wyoming have reported a temperature drop of close to 18 degrees F in hour as the front moved through the area. Readings of -40 to -50 degrees are being reported across southwestern Canada.

Forecasts on the timing cold frontal passage have not changed significantly, compared to what has been forecast over the past couple of days. Wednesday morning’s data shows the front moving through the Texas South Plains late Thursday night and pushing through the Concho Valley/Big Country regions around daybreak Thursday. The cold front is predicted to reach the Austin/Interstate 35 corridor around noon, the La Grange/Columbus area around 3 pm, and moving off the coast just before sunset. Expect a rapid drop in the temperature behind the cold front, with readings expected to drop below freezing across the Hill Country and most of Central Texas Thursday evening. Forecasts indicate the temperature will remain below freezing across most of the area between Thursday evening and about midday Saturday—roughly 30 to 40 hours.

Be prepared for strong northerly winds of 15-25 mph, with gusts to 40 mph behind the cold front Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. Wind speeds of 10-15 mph , with gusts to 25 mph are forecast Friday. Lighter winds are forecast for Friday night and Saturday.

The combination of the very cold temperatures and strong winds are expected to produce dangerously low wind chill temperatures Thursday night into Friday morning. For most locations, minimum wind chill readings are forecast to be  between zero and -5 degrees F. These cold wind chills could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken to protect your skin and body. Everyone should minimize their outdoor exposure as much as possible during this time. A slow recovery is expected  Friday afternoon into Friday night as winds relax and wind chills trend more toward the actual air temperature.

A recap of the temperature forecast through the weekend:

  • Lows Friday morning are forecast to be around 10-14 degrees across the Hill Country, be between 15 and 17 degrees across Central Texas, and be between 15 and 20 degrees across the coastal plains.
  • Temperatures Friday are predicted to only warm to the upper 20s across the Hill Country, the low 30s degrees across Central Texas, and to the low to mid- 30s across the coastal plains.
  • Lows Saturday morning are predicted to be between 15 and 17 degrees across the Hill Country, and between 17 and 20 degrees across Central Texas, and in the low 20s across the coastal plains.
  • High temperatures Saturday are predicted to be in the upper 30s.
  • Low Christmas morning are predicted to be close to 20 degrees across the Hill Country, and in the low 20s across Central Texas and the coastal plains.
  • High temperatures Christmas Day are forecast to be in the mid and upper 40s.
  • Lows next Monday morning are forecast to be around 28-31 degrees.
  • High temperatures Monday are predicted to be around 58-60 degrees.

The outlook for next week calls for dry and milder conditions, with high temperatures generally in the 60s, and lows in the 40s and 50s. A chance for rain looks to develop next weekend.

Preparations for the upcoming extreme cold spell need to be completed this afternoon. Remember the 4 Ps: Plants, Pets, Pipes, and People.