Hard Freeze

Houston’s Getting an Arctic Blast—What to Know about Hard Freeze

An arctic cold front is headed toward Harris County, with lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s.

By Shelby Stewart

Houston will experience single digit temperatures in the coming days. 

Winter has finally arrived in Houston, and temperatures will drop below freezing by week's end. Temperatures will remain manageable until Thursday, when the arctic cold front arrives. For some, that means the temperature could drop more than 20 degrees in an hour—so be sure to bundle up. The bitterly cold weather will likely last through the Christmas holiday. While the upcoming arctic blast may bring back memories of the 2020 winter storm, according to ABC meteorologist Travis Herzog, this hard freeze may present a different set of problems. Here's how Houstonians need to prepare. 

When will the cold front hit? 

Meteorologists project that the cold front will hit late on Thursday, and temperatures will drop below freezing at night. On Friday, temperatures are expected to be in the single digits. 

How long will it last?

Forecasts show that the weather will drop on Thursday and won't be above freezing again until Saturday afternoon. 

Will we get snow?

There is a chance that Houston does see a thin amount of precipitation. However, it is unlikely that snow will happen. The possibilities are slim, but reports say there are two opportunities for this. According to Herzog, there will be "a changeover from rain to snow on the backside of the front when it first blows in, which will happen north of Houston.” The second opportunity, will be on Christmas Day. 

What should I do with my pets and plants?

If you have pets who spend the majority of their time outside, now is the time to make accommodations for them before the week's end. If pets are left outdoors, the drop in temperature could be fatal. Potted plants should also be brought indoors. To prevent ice crystals, drape a cloth over outside plants

How can I protect my pipes?

Water pipes will need to be protected in these freezing temperatures. It's recommended that pipes are wrapped in rags, foam, or other insulating material with duct tape. In older homes especially, it is essential to maintain water circulation by leaving one faucet lightly running. Another foolproof way to protect the pipes is simply by turning off the water in your home and draining the pipes. 

How can I stay warm?

Staying indoors is key. Turn on your heater ahead of the arctic blast to ensure it's functioning correctly. Additional blankets and garments will be helpful. 

What about the power grid?

ERCOT should fare much better this go-round as long as the cold front passes through mostly dry. Officials at ERCOT are monitoring the weather and said in a statement that the grid expects sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand at this time." However, Houstonians should still expect scattered outages due to wind gusts. 

What are some safety precautions? 

Ensure your carbon monoxide detectors are plugged into an outlet or have fresh batteries. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can be released by a furnace that is not functioning properly.

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