It's been a downright gloomy and cold day in Houston with temperatures hovering mostly in the 30s and wind chills in the 20s. Fortunately, we have not had much in the way of precipitation. That could change during the early evening hours Thursday as a line of rain and sleet moves southeast across the area.
The concern is when the freezing line — when the temperatures get below zero as the sun sets — reaches Houston, will it still be raining? As of now, it appears that may happen just to the west and north of downtown, but only for a brief period if at all.
After that, things will dry out considerably and we'll just be left with the cold.
Anywhere north and west of the Houston metro area will be having icing issues that won't disappear through Friday afternoon at the earliest. Areas farther north and west might need until Saturday to get above freezing. Fortunately, that will not be an issue in Houston. At most, we expect there could be some icy issues on overpasses and bridges, but only during the nighttime hours Thursday and even those will be minimal.
"We expect light freezing rain to start as early as 6 o'clock tonight, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo at an afternoon press conference. "The roads are warm from all the cars going through them but eventually that light freezing rain might cause a layer of ice, particularly in our elevated highways and on our bridges." She said anyone in need of shelter should call 211 and they will be directed to the appropriate place.
"I ask that folks not go out overnight unless you truly need to and here's why. Ice can be invisible in our highways," Hidalgo said. "We don't want to see a pileup; we don't want to see accidents because of ice. And then tomorrow wait until that ice melts."
How cold will it get? Thursday night roughly inside the Beltway and east of Highway 6/FM 1960, we are looking at lows in the upper 20s to near 30. North and west will get colder the farther away you get. And areas near the coast will be right around freezing.
So, that means you need to bring your pets inside and take care of your more vulnerable plants. Pipes should not be a problem this go round and the electrical grid (fingers crossed on both hands) continues to remain steady.
It will likely get below freezing again Friday night into Saturday, probably about the same as Thursday night but minus any precipitation. By Saturday, we should have some lovely (if a bit on the chilly side) weekend days and evenings.