A look back at the past times the Arctic came to Texas

Winter weather advisories in Central Texas through noon Thursday (Scott Fisher)

Very cold weather is expected for central Texas over the next few days. While this part of Texas is much better known for its blazing summer heat, these arctic outbreaks have happened before.  

Here’s a look back at the most intense and long-lasting cold snaps in the past 40 years: 

February 2 - 4, 2011:  A powerful arctic outbreak brought intense cold to the region with high temperatures dropping nearly 40° from Feb.1 to Feb. 2. Coldest temp observed: 17° on Feb. 2. This cold snap, though very intense, wasn’t particularly long with only 2 days below freezing. Daily highs for the outbreak: 2/2: 26°; 2/3: 28°; 2/4: 41° 

January 31 - February 4, 1996:  Another powerful arctic outbreak occurred at the end of January 1996. Temperatures dropped from an afternoon high of 77° on Jan. 31 to only 35° on Feb. 1. From there, temperatures only got colder with the coldest observed temp of 19° on Feb. 4. Daily highs for the outbreak: 1/31: 36°; 2/1: 29°; 2/2: 31°; 2/3: 34°; 2/4: 38° 

December 22 - 23, 1989: Another very intense, but short-lived arctic intrusion left its mark on Austin with the 3rd coldest temperature ever recorded in Austin and the 4th coldest daily high temperature ever recorded in the city. Coldest temp observed:  4° Dec. 23. Daily highs for the outbreak: 12/22: 23°; 12/23: 29° 


This cold snap was the coldest part and end of the longest continuous stretch in Austin history with daily freezing temperatures (15 days in a row, Dec.11 - 25)  

February 3 - 7, 1989: This brought another very cold, and long duration arctic cold to central Texas. Over the course of nearly a week temperatures plunged into the teens with the coldest temperature reaching 19° on Feb. 4. This arctic intrusion was also characterized by its long duration with daily highs in the 20s for 3 days straight. Daily highs: 2/3: 39°; 2/4: 24°; 2/5: 24°; 2/6: 26°; 2/7: 42° 

December 19 - 26, 1983: The coldest observed temperature dropped to 10° on Dec. 25. That temperature is tied for the sixth coldest temperature ever and is the coldest temperature ever recorded on Christmas in Austin. The cold snap was another long duration cold outbreak, though was not quite as intense as the 1989 outbreak with daily highs in the upper 20s and low 30s. Daily highs: 12/19: 31°; 12/20: 36°; 12/21: 36°; 12/22: 26°; 12/23: 31° 12/24: 23°; 12/25: 25°; 12/26: 28° 


FOX 7 Austin Meteorologists update the forecast on-air, online, and on social media. You can also receive updates by downloading the FOX 7 Austin WAPP.