Enjoy the current beautiful weather with sunshine and southerly winds warming temperatures into the mid-60s this afternoon, as preparations for a significant change in weather are advised. The arctic cold front is expected to make its arrival on Saturday night, bringing freezing temperatures and triggering weather alerts for the region.
By sunrise on Sunday, most of Southeast Texas will experience temperatures in the 30s, with the freeze line establishing itself north and west of Houston throughout the day. Monday, designated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has been declared an ABC13 Weather Alert Day due to the potential for freezing rain in Southeast Texas. Tuesday follows suit as another Weather Alert Day, featuring the possibility of frozen roadways, coupled with a pipe-bursting hard freeze in the upper teens and low 20s. Wind chill factors may make it feel like single digits and teens.
Wednesday morning is predicted to witness another hard freeze, with temperatures dipping into the teens and low 20s, albeit with minimal wind.
The impending arctic front’s impact on the Chevron Houston Marathon is noteworthy, as temperatures during the run are expected to linger in the mid-30s. A north wind at 15 mph may result in a wind chill factor in the mid-20s, and although there might be some drizzle or mist, the forecast suggests overall dry conditions.
Concerns about freezing rain arise for Sunday evening and overnight hours, but most of Sunday appears dry. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is anticipated to be bitterly cold, with temperatures in the 30s and a chance of freezing rain, especially north and west of Houston. Rain showers (60% chance) are expected to coincide with the freeze line, potentially leading to up to a tenth of an inch of freezing rain north of the freeze line. While uncertainties surround the exact location of the freeze line, current forecasts indicate it staying just north of Houston, maintaining temperatures in the mid-30s. However, caution is advised, as the freeze line could approach Houston Monday night, increasing the risk of freezing rain over the city and more of Southeast Texas. The rain is expected to clear by Tuesday.
The possibility of freezing rain, as opposed to snow, is attributed to temperatures a few thousand feet above ground remaining above freezing. Although precipitation may start as rain, it could freeze upon contact with surfaces below freezing, including tree branches, power lines, bridges, and overpasses.
Concerns about spending hours below freezing persist, with the freeze line expected to push through Houston Monday night. If temperatures do not rise above freezing on Tuesday, the region could experience 36 hours below freezing. Even if Houston surpasses freezing temperatures on Tuesday, two stretches of 18-20 hours below freezing are likely on Monday night and Tuesday night.
Forecasts indicate the coldest lows in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 22 degrees and 19 degrees, respectively. While it could get a few degrees colder, it is expected to be colder for locations outside and north of Houston. Tuesday morning is anticipated to feel the coldest, with wind chill readings in the single digits and teens due to a north wind at 25 mph.
Contrary to the polar vortex, this arctic front is not bringing that phenomenon to Texas. Instead, it is pushing cold air from Canada southward. The upcoming weather event is emphasized not to be a repeat of the winter storm in February 2021 that affected the Texas power grid. The current forecast suggests a milder event with freezing temperatures, but not on the scale of the prolonged and severe weather conditions experienced during that challenging period.