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2011-02-03

Artic blast arrives in Hill Country

By Paul Yura National Weather Service Special to

Enjoy the rest of last of 70-degree days because we won't see them again for more than a week.
For those who didn't notice, an artic cold front came through the area with a vengeance during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Feb. 1, bringing widespread wind gusts that reached 45-60 mph. The gusts weren't as high in the afternoon, but sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph - along with gusts to about 40 mph - kept wind chill readings in the teens and 20s for most of the area. Actual air temps ranged from the lower 30s north to the lower 40s over the far south.
Thankfully, rain has ended. A wind advisory remained in effect all day.
Luckily, the strong north winds and dry air moving in from the north helped evaporate water on the roads, keeping them clear as the temperatures dropped below freezing Tuesday evening. From there, only the question "How cold will it get?" remained.
The coldest temperatures of the season took place on the mornings of Wednesday and Thursday with temps sliding into the "teens." Additionally, some single digits were not out of the question in the Hill County if the clouds clear and we get adequate radiational cooling.
The wind will still be a factor - with night and morning wind chill readings approaching 0ยบ degrees both Wednesday and Thursday mornings in the Hill County and single digits elsewhere.
A wind chill advisory is issued when widespread wind chill readings dip below zero. So wind chill advisories may be issued for portions of our area.
Definitely our biggest issue the next 72 hours will be the frigid cold - with high temperatures only in the 30s on Wednesday and Thursday. Since hard freezes are likely everywhere, now is the time to protect the "3 Ps" - pets, pipes and plants.
On Thursday night an upper level low pressure area will cross Texas. With cold air in place, this will point to a chance for winter precipitation in the form of snow. However, this is not shaping up to be a classic snowstorm; we are forecasting light amounts and low chances of snow, about a 30 to 40 percent chance. Best chances of measurable snow - generally less than one inch - would be mainly east of Interstate 35. Any snow that does fall Thursday night and early Friday will likely stick because of the cold ground temperatures mid-week. Remember though, at this point there is still a lot of uncertainty with this part of the forecast. Visit www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx for latest updates, preparedness information, watches, warnings and graphics.
In the meantime, stay warm.