Winter storm brings icy roads and frigid wind chills Tuesday

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for most of Central Texas until to 6 p.m. today. As much a quarter inch of ice accumulation is possible, with up to 1 inch of snow on top of that later this morning and early this afternoon. Icing reports are streaming in, and travel is highly discouraged.

Temperatures plummeted overnight, and will spend all day in the 20s today with wind chills in the 10s.

Precipitation will be shutting off gradually this afternoon and evening as very dry air blows into the area. Temperatures finally rise above freezing tomorrow afternoon. Significantly armer weather is expected heading into next weekend.

From the National Weather Service regarding the winter storm:

New Information:

  • No major changes to the forecast expected.
  • Wind speeds of 25-30 mph with higher gusts expected.
  • Wind chills in the single digits expected.

Headline:

  • Winter Storm Warning Remains in Effect – Deteriorating Conditions Overnight through Tuesday Morning from North to South
  • Significant Travel Impacts from Icing Expected 

Area of Concern:

  • Freezing Rain and Sleet: All of South-Central Texas. Potential for greatest accumulation will be in the Winter Storm Warning area (see attached map).
  • Sleet and Snow: Hill Country, southern Edwards Plateau, and portions of the Rio Grande (near and north of a Del Rio to Medina to San Marcos to Giddings line).

Threats & Impacts:

Expected Accumulations:

  • Freezing Rain & Sleet: A few hundredths of an inch to 1/10 of an inch of freezing rain and sleet accumulation is expected. Isolated higher amounts possible.
  • Snow: Less than 1/2 inch.

Temperatures and Wind Chills:

  • Air temperature dropping into the mid 20s to low 30s by noon Tuesday for much of the area.
  • 25-35 mph wind gusts will produce Wind Chill values Tuesday in the single digits to mid 20s.
  • Low temperatures Wednesday morning in the upper teens to mid 20s.

Impacts:  Non-essential travel is highly discouraged overnight and Tuesday in the Winter Storm Warning area as many roadway surfaces will become slick and dangerous potentially causing vehicle accidents. Exposed outdoor objects, including trees, utility lines, and vehicles will become ice and/or snow covered.

A hard freeze will have a significant impacts on sensitive plants and pets. Elderly persons or young children could suffer hyperthermia if exposed to long duration of extremely cold temperatures. Exposed water pipes could break.

Timing and Overview:

Tonight Through Tuesday Evening:

The cold front is moving through the area and is currently through Austin and Fredericksburg. Freezing temperatures should lag 4-6 hours behind the frontal passage. Initial wind gusts with the frontal passage could be as high as 40 mph. A transition to patchy light freezing rain and sleet will take place from north to south through the overnight hours and Tuesday morning. A changeover to light snow could occur across portions of the Rio Grande, southern Edwards Plateau and Hill Country, including Austin, before precipitation ends northwest to southeast early Tuesday afternoon.

Freezing Precipitation Beginning:

  • Hill Country/Central Texas/Austin– Midnight to 4 AM
  • Del Rio/San Antonio Metro/I-10 East – 4 AM to 8 AM
  • Eagle Pass/Pleasanton/Cuero– 10 AM to 2 PM

This has the potential to become a significant winter weather event, more than just the traditional bridges and overpasses. 

There is the potential for some ice, sleet, and/or snow to remain on surfaces until early afternoon Wednesday, when temperatures finally rise above freezing.

Confidence:

  • Cold Air:Very High
  • Freezing Rain and Sleet:High
  • Snow:Low to Moderate
  • Travel Impacts:Moderate to High

Austin, Texas Extended Forecast

16
Tue
Freezing Rain/Sleet/Snow
Freezing Rain/Sleet/Snow
29° / 20° F
precip:
70%
17
Wed
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
39° / 19° F
precip:
0%
18
Thu
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
49° / 38° F
precip:
0%
19
Fri
Showers
Showers
60° / 52° F
precip:
20%
20
Sat
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
77° / 55° F
precip:
0%
21
Sun
Scattered Thunderstorms
Scattered Thunderstorms
71° / 41° F
precip:
30%
22
Mon
Sunny
Sunny
67° / 43° F
precip:
0%

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