Warming Follows through the Weekend
Story So Far After nine days of gray and chill, including a "lion's" welcome to 2018 with a 48 to 60 hour stretch with temperatures below 40, a similar stretch with "feels like" temperatures below 30, and for some ranch locations in Jim Hogg and likely northern Brooks and Zapata, 30 hours at or below the freezing point (32) - relief will soon come - but not after one final frozen late night and early morning on the 4th. For the northern ranchlands, this marked the longest sub-freezing stretch since February 2-5, 2011 Freezing temperatures were most common Tuesday morning, with several locations "touching" 32 in the populated RGV, mainly along IH-2 from Weslaco to Harlingen and SR 107/SR 186 (Elsa-Edcouch to Raymondville). We received reports of glaze icing or light sleet in the following locations at the following times: Hebbronville and Zapata, New Year's morning Harlingen area, January 2nd (Tuesday) morning The Skinny . Surface high pressure with origins near the North Pole will settle over South Texas tonight, with light winds and crystal clear skies setting the stage for a "classic" radiational chill-down. Valley-wide, temperatures will fall to or below freezing for the first time since January 7th, 2017 - just one year ago. This will mark back-to-back years with Valley-wide freezes, following six years with only isolated freezes in pockets of the RGV and the ranchlands. Overall, temperatures are expected to be similar but a shade higher than those on both January 7 and 8, 2017 - but the impact will be similar. A warmup follows, though it will be tempered by more clouds Thursday night through Friday evening. Still, daytime temperatures will recover to around 60 Thursday afternoon and a touch higher Friday afternoon. 70+ degree afternoons should return to most areas for the weekend. What to Watch For Freeze Temperatures will fall to or below freezing between midnight and 4 AM in most areas, soonest in wind-protected locations that are typically colder Lows will bottom out between 27 and 31 area wide, with average durations from 3 to 5 hours (ending by 8 or 9 AM). Wind-protected and low lying locations that typically get colder will do so. This means a local hard freeze - temperatures below 28 for at least two hours - is likely. Low temperatures in these cases will range from 23 to 27 (not shown as these are local scenarios). This will include agriculturally-rich eastern Hidalgo, much of Willacy, and northern Cameron County, as well as wind-protected ranchlands (for livestock) Frost is not expected except in a few "wind hollows" as humidity is expected to remain between 75 and 90 percent. Potential Impacts/Recommended Actions Freeze We're already into the drill since temperatures have reached or flirted with 32 (and gone several degrees below along SR 285 in the Hebbronville-Falfurrias area). That said, with temperatures expected to be below freezing for several hours (up to 8 hours in wind protected areas), if not already done so, tender plants should be brought inside or covered before sunset this evening People, pets, pipes: Tonight's the night for all of these to be closely monitored due to the lower temperatures and length. Space heater safety: The standard rules apply - all heaters should be in working order, and operated in a safe location away from flammable items (3 feet is a minimum). Sea Life People can help with sea turtle rescue, which is likely based on the current water temperature and expected duration (24 to 36 hours) below 50 degrees and analog events in the past, through the week. Look for fish kills as well and report to Texas Parks and Wildlife or other agencies from today through Friday.