AUSTIN (KXAN) — In anticipation of this week’s Arctic cold front, we dug through the archives to see how this week’s freeze matches up to historic freezes of Austin’s past.
December 2022 forecast
A strong Arctic cold front is expected to arrive early to midday Thursday bringing frigid temperatures and strong winds. Expect temperatures to drop to the 30s Thursday afternoon, and hover at or below freezing for the following ~48 hours (likely closer to ~72 hours in the Hill Country and rural valleys). Wind chills will reach dangerous levels Thursday night into Friday morning.
A record storm by multiple accounts, the February 2021 winter storm is likely to stay unmatched for some time. A dip in the jet stream allowed a chunk of the polar vortex to sink south, keeping northerly winds in place for over a week and temperatures below freezing for 6 straight days. Five storm systems impacted the area bringing over a half a foot of snow, ice and frigid cold to Central Texas.
February 2011’s winter weather outbreak was a “cold front + low pressure system” combo. An Arctic air mass sank in from the north Tuesday, February 1st. The next day, a storm system kicking east of out of New Mexico brought freezing rain and snow to Central Texas. Over 500 traffic accidents resulted with nearly all highways and interstates shut down in San Antonio.
To read more about the snow event in February 2011, click here.
Although similar in length of time, the 1989 winter weather event was accompanied by light snow and extreme wind chills.
If you’d like to read more about past weather events in Central Texas, find more in our KXAN Weather Diary.