Winter Storm Watch Upgraded to Warning; Starts 9PM Tonight

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist reports that the winter-storm watch has now been upgraded to a winter-storm warning and that it will start at 9PM tonight. The winter storm will create severe travel hazards Sunday and Monday. He also warns that extreme cold on Monday and Tuesday will create widespread challenges.

A disturbance this evening and overnight will shift the freezing line southward. Precipitation will likely develop late this afternoon and evening over the area and linger into Sunday morning. Areas northwest of the freezing line will likely see accumulations of ice on bridges and overpasses and all elevated surfaces. Hence the Winter storm warning start time has moved up to 9 PM this evening. Travel conditions will likely become hazardous overnight. All precautions for the upcoming extreme cold should be completed today.

Sunday afternoon-Monday midday: 

A much stronger upper-level storm system will move across Texas during this time. It will result in widespread freezing and frozen precipitation. Beginning late Sunday afternoon, the second wave will overspread the entire area by Sunday evening. Expect a mixture of freezing rain, sleet and snow across much of the entire area with more freezing rain along and south of I-10 and more sleet and snow north of I-10.

The latest models indicate more snow and sleet than previously expected. North winds of 15-25mph Sunday into Monday will add extra stress against ice coated trees and power lines. It could result in power outages.


Freezing rain: 1/10th to 1/4th an inch over much of the area, especially the US 59 corridor

Sleet: ½ to 1 inch mainly north of I-10

Snow: 1-2 inches north of I-10, 2-4 inches north of HWY 105

Much of the area will see a period of freezing rain with temperatures in the mid 20’s so a layer of ice will be formed below any sleet or snow.

Travel starting Sunday evening will become nearly impossible, says Lindner. Anyone attempting to travel should be prepared to become stranded on roadways.

Record-Breaking Cold Monday-Tuesday

Record breaking cold is likely. Temperatures will fall below freezing Sunday afternoon and likely remain below freezing into Wednesday. Models now indicate 8/9 instead of 11/13 for all areas north of I-10. Waller and Montgomery counties northward could see temperatures near 1 degree.

The cold will result in devastating impacts to infrastructure and vegetation.

Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner

Wind chills Monday afternoon into Tuesday will fall near zero over the entire area. Limit time outdoors and make sure you cover exposed skin. 

Preparations to Mitigate Against Property Damage

  • Protect exposed pipes
  • Shut off and drain sprinkler systems.
  • Open cabinet doors and closet doors to get as much heat against outside facing wall pipes as possible starting Sunday night.
  • In some cases the best course of action may be to shut off water to a structure and drain pipes overnight when water usage is low to avoid pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Heavily cover and protect any tropical vegetation, citrus, or vulnerable plants. Given the intensity and depth of the freezing conditions this will likely be a killing freeze for much of the tropical landscape of this region. 
  • Pets and livestock should have proper shelter, feed, and water. Normal water supplies will likely freeze over including stock ponds and lakes.
  • Limit outdoor exposure Monday and Tuesday as wind chills will be dangerously cold for our region. Prolonged exposure could result in frostbite and hypothermia.  
  • Keep a blanket in your car and make sure you have an ice scraper for your windows.

Detailed Forecast for Harris County

The winter storm warning will span several days.

Today: Cloudy with a 30% chance of afternoon and evening light rain and drizzle. High in the upper 30’s. N wind 10-15mph

Sunday: Cloudy with a 40% chance of light rain or drizzle early then a chance of freezing rain and sleet by evening. Temperatures steady in the mid 30’s. N wind 15-20mph. Wind chills in the 10’s and 20’s.

Monday: Cloudy with a 100% chance of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Ice accumulation of up to 1/4th an inch and snow accumulation of 1-2 inches. Temperatures steady in the mid 20’s. N wind 15-25mph. Wind chills in the 10’s.

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a low in the low to mid 10’s and high near 30. N wind 5-10mph. Wind chills 1’s.

Wednesday: Cloudy with a 60% chance of precipitation. Low in the mid 20’s and high in the mid 30’s. NE wind 10-15mph.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/13/2021 based on forecast by Jeff Lindner

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