HOUSTON — Southeast Texas is preparing for the possibility of another round of sleet, snow, and ice as an Arctic cold front pushes through starting late Monday.
Wintry weather typically only hits Houston every few years, but this could be the second time the city’s bridges and overpasses have iced over in less than a week. On Friday morning, about 200 accidents were reported across town.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The alert covers the following counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller and Washington.
There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday for Austin, Colorado, Jackson, Matagorda and Wharton counties. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from 3 a.m. Tuesday until midnight Wednesday for Austin, Colorado, Jackson, Matagorda and Wharton counties.
Early Monday we were in the 50s and 60s across town, and it won’t get any warmer than that. By this afternoon we’ll be in the 40s and then into the 30s overnight.
On Tuesday there’s a 60 percent chance for precipitation.
“It will start around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Tuesday and will begin as frozen precipitation as opposed to rain,” KHOU Meteorologist Brooks Garner said. “The roads will be initially OK Tuesday for most of the morning, but will start to deteriorate by midmorning and they could become treacherous by lunch.”
Of course we have to remember the forecast is always changeable—the bottom line is to plan ahead for Tuesday, he said.
“Prepare for sleet, icing, and up to 1 inch of snow, maybe two inches in spots north of Harris County,” he said. “But I don’t think this will be as much of a snow issue as an ice issue. This is really going to affect travel.”
The difference with this system compared to Friday’s is that it is going to be a little bit cooler and last longer. Early Tuesday morning we’ll bottom out around 28 degrees, and in the afternoon we’ll only reach 32 degrees.
“With freezing rain it really doesn’t take much, you only need an hour or two to mess things up. The thing with Tuesday is that it is not going to warm up past freezing all day long, so what falls and forms as ice on the roadway is not going anywhere,” Garner said.
He said Wednesday morning will be dry, but it will be even colder – about 24 degrees. In the afternoon we’ll reach nearly 40 degrees.
After Thursday morning, things will start to warm up again under partly cloudy skies.