AUSTIN (KXAN) — The time has arrived.
Last month, we warned you that long range climate models were signaling the possibility that an Arctic outbreak would invade the U.S.
Last week, we informed you that Arctic airmass was coming and could bring some of the coldest air of the season. Now, we’re forecasting that frigid air to arrive by Thursday, though it has already gotten cooler with the passing of our first front.
For now, confidence is rising for an extended period of cold weather. This cold air is taking its time getting to Central Texas, though. The first front has arrived earlier than anticipated this morning, but it is not the front from the Arctic Circle. That colder front blows in Thursday, then more surges of even colder air will blow in this weekend.
Daytime highs today may range from the 50s to the low 70s depending on how long it takes for the front to reach your area.
Wednesday looks to be chilly, with highs in the 50s. But the real cold looks to push in overnight Wednesday and early Thursday. There will be more energy with this second front, which is why the chance for showers and thunderstorms increases during this time frame. Rainfall amounts look to be around 0.10″ to ~1.00″, with higher amounts the farther east you are.
Rainfall looks to come to an end right as temperatures look to drop below freezing. Be on the lookout for any residual wet spots on roads to potentially freeze over Thursday night, especially on elevated roads, overpasses and bridges.
Then it gets downright cold.
The Arctic airmass will keep ushering in cold air through the weekend and into next week. Our coldest weather model indicates lows in the single digits in the Hill Country and highs only in the 20s Sunday into Monday. If the coldest forecast verifies, we could see the most frigid readings since the December 1989 Arctic outbreak.
It’s possible that starting on Saturday night, temperatures could drop below freezing in Austin and STAY below freezing until Monday (perhaps even into Tuesday).
Right now, you will want to make sure you are taking steps to protect your pets, plants and pipes. Also make sure your elderly neighbors or others in need have adequate heating.
There is also a slight chance of wintry precipitation developing after the cold air arrives. Models differ, but generally hint at the possibility of a wintry mix and snow during the Saturday-Monday timeframe.
Looking beyond the next seven days, the Climate Prediction Center is keeping the cold air in Central Texas through the middle and latter parts of next week. Some precipitation appears possible during the early and middle parts of next week, which may fall as cold rain, sleet, freezing rain or snow. At this time, it is too soon for specifics on the this Arctic outbreak and potential winter storm.