After this morning’s extreme cold, freezing rain returns tonight


Temperatures are bottoming out at 10 to 15 degrees across much of the metro area in what will be the region’s coldest night in more than three decades. The city’s official low temperature, measured at Bush Intercontinental Airport, looks to be 12 degrees.

Making matters worse today, power outages persist across the state, with more than 4.1 million customers without power. Many of these power outages are concentrated in and around the Houston area. Weather conditions will begin to slowly improve today, but there are no reliable estimates for when widespread power will be restored. We discussed why in a post on Monday.

Tuesday

Clearing skies and winds shifting to come from the east later today will help warm temperatures somewhat. Most areas south of Interstate 10 should reach above freezing later today, but road conditions are iffy this morning. Some streets dried out with Monday’s sunshine, but roads and bridges that remained wet iced over again on Monday night. Sunshine later this morning should help with most roadways later today.

However, precipitation will return this evening and overnight as moisture moves in from the Gulf of Mexico. Most likely the precipitation will begin around midnight, but we can’t rule out it starting earlier. For Houston, it should begin as rain, but could transition to freezing rain over night. North of a line from Matagorda to Houston to Winnie, we can probably expect temperatures to freeze tonight. Galveston and Brazoria counties, for the most part, are unlikely to rain transition to freezing rain as they will remain above 32 degrees.

Bottom line: Travel Wednesday evening and overnight in Houston and could be very problematic due to icy roads. For Montgomery County and points north accumulating freezing could be exceedingly dangerous, and pose problems for power lines.

Wednesday

By mid-morning Wednesday, or shortly thereafter, temperatures should rise above freezing across nearly all of the metro area, and this should melt ice. Highs in Houston will reach about 40 degrees, if not a touch warmer. Some additional sleet or light snow is possible Wednesday night, but this seems unlikely to be too problematic. Areas south of Interstate 10 are unlikely to freeze.

Thursday

The precipitation should end by late Wednesday night, setting the stage for a dry and cold Thursday, with highs near 40 degrees. Expect one more very cold night on Thursday night, with lows in the 20s. Fortunately, it will be dry,

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

As high pressure comes to dominate our weather, expect sunny skies on Friday, with highs in the 40s, with temperatures reaching the 60s by the weekend. At last, our winter blast will be at an end. Not soon enough.

Photos: OpenStreet map