How much damage will this wintry weather cause?

Weather & Traffic Q&As

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Record-breaking weather is already causing unimaginable damage in our area, and it isn’t letting up anytime soon.

“You’re looking at wind chills that are below zero,” said Paul Yura, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New Braunfels.

“Just get comfortable where you are, because it may be awhile before people can get out there,” Yura said. He’s lived in Austin during the last great freezes in 1983 and 1989. “Those were the killing freezes. A loft of the plants that can typically make it through the winter didn’t make it. Those were game-changing arctic events. We’re sitting on the edge of one of those.”

Yura said the damage this weather could cause will be costly and that our usual cold-weather preparation may not work. “Even the wind chill could do a lot of damage to the vegetation in your area. I honestly don’t know what wrapping it will do when it’s at that temperature.”

And if your pipes burst you could be in real trouble. “It’s going to be quite a while before those are repaired, because there are going to be a lot of them.”

The cold isn’t the only thing to worry about. The coming snow could be unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. “The last snow we had in January was very wet snow. It allows you to make snowballs and snowmen very easily. When you have air that’s this cold, it can get fluffy and blown away.”

This fluffy dry snow means seeing while driving will be an added challenge on top of the ice.

“If you’re not an emergency worker, if you don’t have to go out over the next several days, its best to just stay home, hunker down and don’t even venture off,” Yura said.

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