HOUSTON - The coldest air so far this winter is headed for Texas this week, but the cold snap is not expected to be as bad as the arctic blast the state experienced last year.
A storm traversing the U.S. this week has prompted winter weather alerts to be issued across a nearly 3,000-mile swath of the country, from Texas to New England. In addition to the snow and ice the storm will produce, bitter cold will plunge as far south as the Texas Gulf Coast.
The cold is forecast to arrive in Texas on Wednesday as a cold front sinks into the state. By Thursday morning, the arctic air mass will overtake places like Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco and Austin. By Thursday afternoon, the cold has spilled to places like San Antonio and Houston. By Friday, the frigid air has settled as far south as Corpus Christi.
Temperatures could remain below freezing in North Texas for a period of about 36 hours, including Dallas and Fort Worth. For places farther south, such as Austin and San Antonio, freezing temperatures are expected for a little less than 24 hours. In Houston, temperatures are expected to be below freezing overnight on both Thursday night and Friday night.
Flashbacks to 2021
For many Texans, word of the coming cold has caused flashbacks to the February 2021 winter storm that left millions in the state without electricity and water for days. Most of the state was plunged into freezing weather. At one point, the entire state of Texas was under a Winter Storm Warning. More than 200 people died in the storm.
While this week’s arctic blast will be the coldest air seen in most of the state since last year’s storm, this cold snap will be much shorter in duration and smaller in the area it covers. Temperatures will also be warmer than in 2021.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency responsible for regulating the state’s power grid, told FOX 4 News in Dallas that extra power will be ready to deal with the demand that is expected to rival the 2021 storm.
Those assurances did not stop people in North Texas from preparing for the worst. FOX 4 reported that some people who dealt with burst pipes and damage to their homes are wrapping pipes and setting faucets to drip.
Even after the arctic blast, temperatures will remain in the 40s and 50s across much of Texas through early next week.