A dangerous winter storm will move into the region starting late this afternoon lasting into Monday with crippling travel impacts.
Extraordinary cold for Monday and Tuesday
Second winter storm possible over portions of the area Tuesday night-Thursday morning
Freezing line has progressed southeast overnight and extends from near Conroe to Cypress to Katy to Victoria. Light freezing rain and freezing drizzle has developed over parts of the area NW of the freezing line this morning and this is resulting in patchy ice forming on some bridges and overpasses across northwest Harris County and more widespread issues to the north and west. Travel to the north and west of Harris County is becoming dangerous and is ill advised.
Periods of light precipitation will be possible today with temperatures rising remaining below freezing generally NW of a Huntsville to Conroe to Hempstead to Wharton line and mid to upper 30’s south of that line.
A powerful upper level storm system will move across Texas tonight into Monday resulting in a significant and high impact winter storm. Strong arctic front will arrive this evening resulting in quickly falling temperatures along the development of widespread precipitation. Expect freezing rain to develop by late afternoon and early evening across much of the area and then transition to sleet and snow across much of the area late tonight into Monday. High resolution models continue to come in with a bit more snow over the area.
Precipitation will onset late this afternoon and early this evening for most areas
1/10 to 1/4 of an inch across most areas, especially the US 59 corridor
- 4-6 inches: Houston and Trinity Counties
- 3-4 inches: College Station to Huntsville
- 2-3 inches: north of a line from Cleveland to Conroe to Hempstead to Columbus
- 1-2 inches: north of a line from Liberty to Houston to Sugar Land to Wharton
- Less than an inch: south of a line from Winnie to League City to Bay City
Ice and snow falling with temperatures falling into the low 20’s and upper 10’s Monday morning will result in near impossible travel on all surfaces…this includes surface streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. Anyone attempting to travel has a high potential of becoming stranded…and the simple message is where you area Sunday evening is where you are going to be Tuesday.
Ice accumulations are right on the border between isolated and sporadic power outages and more significant widespread outages. Even with the marginal ice accumulations for widespread power disruption, winds of 15-25mph may be the key factor that pushes tree limbs and power lines past their breaking point. Residents should be prepared for power outages.
A most memorable cold air outbreak will accompany the winter precipitation. Temperatures will fall below freezing Sunday evening for many areas and remain below freezing into Tuesday and Wednesday…it is possible that areas from College Station to Huntsville do not get above freezing until Friday. The long duration of the sub-freezing temperatures along with the brutal intensity of the cold air mass is going to create extensive damage across the region to vegetation and infrastructure.
Expect most areas to fall into the 10’s and low 20’s on Monday (coast in the upper 20’s) and then continue to fall Monday night and bottom out with lows in the upper 1’s and low 10’s north of I-10 and upper 10’s and low 20’s near the beaches. College Station to Huntsville looking like lower to middle 1’s. Wind chills Monday night will fall into the -10’s and -1’s across much of the area.
This is life threatening cold and persons should limit outside exposure to short periods of time to avoid frostbite and hypothermia.
Lastly, given the intensity and duration of the cold, portions of lakes and ponds, stock ponds, and other small water bodies, etc. may freeze over with a layer of ice…DO NOT attempt to walk on any frozen water body as the ice will not be thick enough to support a person.
- Protect all and any 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.
- Persons should plan to limit outdoor exposure Monday and Tuesday as wind chills will be dangerously cold for our region. Prolonged exposure could result in frostbite and hypothermia.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/14/2021 based on information provided by Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist
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