Major weather changes arrive today. Make sure you’re prepared for the cold weather to arrive.
Wind Advisory, Hard Freeze Warnings, and Wind Chill Warnings are in effect.
Hopefully you prepared your homes yesterday because here comes the Arctic cold front!!! We’re expecting a prolonged period of freezing temperatures to start later today and continue into Christmas Eve. Everyone can expect to see temperatures drop below freezing before 3pm Thursday and then stay sub-freezing until 1 or 2 PM Saturday. That means temperatures WILL NOT warm above freezing all day Friday and the period of above freezing temperatures Saturday will be very brief, only for a few hours, and only warm into the mid 30s. Once the sun sets Christmas Eve, temperatures drop right back down into the teens and low 20s for Santa’s arrival. Christmas Day will bring us a nice gift - a warming trend! It’s not going to be “warm” by any means but we will get above freezing - into the low to mid 40s!
The main problem we will be dealing with on top of the cold, Arctic air are exceptionally strong north winds. The door to the Arctic will be wide open behind the front and those strong north winds will usher in frigid air! Winds around 20-30 mph with gusts between 35 and 50 mph possible along and behind the front. When you combine the extremely cold air and the powerful winds - Our wind chill values will be in the teens starting 3PM Thursday and maybe even as cold as -5° waking up Friday. Friday morning will be the coldest and most dangerous morning for Central Texas.
Due to these extremely cold and windy conditions moving in, the National Weather Service has issued a Hard Freeze Warning and Wind Chill Warning for most of Central Texas.
-A HARD FREEZE WARNING remains in effect from 6PM Thursday - 9AM Friday. This warning is in place for actual air temperatures dropping as low as 5°.
-A WIND CHILL WARNING remains in effect from 6AM Thursday - Noon Friday. This warning is in place for feels-like temperatures dropping as low as -5°.
Please do not take these warnings lightly. These expected wind chill values could easily result in hypothermia if you’re not dressed properly outdoors. Remember your furry friends - They need a warm shelter in this extreme cold as well. Check on your elderly loved ones or neighbors.
There’s also a WIND ADVISORY in effect from 6AM - 8PM Thursday for strong north/northwest winds behind the Arctic front. Winds will blow around 20-30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph possible. These winds are strong enough to blow around loose outdoor objects. Winds will begin to diminish, but still stay breezy around 10-20 mph into Friday morning.
Now to get into all the details on when this front arrives and what it’ll bring to Central Texas:
The front will move south through Central Texas during the mid-to-late morning hours and before 3PM we’re all below freezing. Our northern areas will be below freezing by 11 AM - 1PM for our central counties - and into the early afternoon for our southern areas. The front will be south of our area around lunchtime and temperatures will continue to plummet into Friday morning.
Very strong north winds - gusting between 30 and 50 MPH - will be with the area as the front moves in today. You’ll be able to tell just when the front moves in - Winds will pick up out of the north and you’ll see a quick drop in the temperatures. Weather conditions will be changing quickly behind the front - Make sure you have warm, layered clothing ready to go.
Outside this Thursday morning skies are clear and temperatures are in the upper 30s and mid 40s - Which is the warmest we’ll be today. For the afternoon everyone can expect to have freezing temperatures. Those strong north winds will make it feel extremely cold outside. By 7 Thursday evening, feels-like temperatures will be below 10°.
Friday starts out between 10° to 15° - With wind chill values in the around 2° to -5°. The afternoon stays below freezing and only warms into the mid to upper 20s for the afternoon. Winds will be more calm Friday than what we had Thursday, but will still be breezy. This will keep wind chill values in the mid to upper teens for the afternoon.
Thankfully we will NOT see any wintry precipitation with this cold blast. If you have any holiday travel outside of Texas, and are especially heading north/northwest/northeast, prepare for major travel delays. This winter storm is bringing dangerously cold temperatures over a large portion of the U.S. and the cold weather comes with blizzard like conditions.
For a full breakdown on this cold blast – be sure to read this article that focuses solely on the cold.
The good news - There is light at the end of this very cold tunnel. We’ll have two more near or sub-freezing mornings on Monday and Tuesday. Warmer afternoon temperatures will slowly return as well. Still chilly in the mid 50s Monday and Tuesday. A more significant warm up arrives by mid-to-end of the week with highs back into the 60s Wednesday and 70s as we head into the final days of 2022. We may also see some rain return into the final days of the year.
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