Houston is about to experience the kind of cold weather we rarely see. A significant dose of Arctic air will filter into the region by Monday dropping temperatures well below freezing and offering a real chance of freezing precipitation. Here's when and how you need to prepare.
Temperatures dropped after a cold front passed on Wednesday, but this is just a precursor to the deep freeze that is coming. Temperatures across Texas fell into the 30s and 40s with dreary gray weather accompanying the front. That will continue for the next couple days before a reinforcement of cold air arrives over the weekend.
For areas north and west of Houston, the serious cold weather will show up by Saturday. Low temperatures across the Hill Country and parts north and west will drop into the 20s. By Sunday, highs will barely make it above freezing for much of the state including Houston.
Sunday is when the real fun begins, if that fun includes staying home with the heater on. Frozen precipitation including snow, sleet and ice will spread south and east on Sunday before reaching Houston overnight and into Monday. Forecasts as of Wednesday were calling for lows in the upper 20s Sunday night into Monday with potential freezing weather all day on Monday accompanied by sleet, snow and freezing rain.
Monday's highs may not even get above freezing and up to three inches of snow and sleet could fall throughout the day. Temperatures could plunge into the teens on Monday night. Certain models have even suggested we could reach single digits overnight on Monday, though that is still a bit of a long shot.
The main thing you'll need to worry about are plants, pets and pipes. Outdoor pipes could easily burst during a freeze below 20 degrees, so they need to be wrapped and protected. Pets should absolutely NOT be left outside in any temperatures below freezing. And plants, well, anything below 20 is going to spell disaster for many Houston-area landscapes. Potted plants need to come inside and plants in the ground, at minimum, need to be covered.
For the moment, the forecast is still a bit up in the air, but we will keep you posted as things develop. For now, expect cold and drizzly conditions through the weekend followed by bitter cold for a couple of days before things begin to normalize later in the week.