Weather

Texas Winter Freeze 2022: How Will It Affect Houston?

It's going to be cold in Houston, but not like THIS cold.
It's going to be cold in Houston, but not like THIS cold. Photo by Jack Gorman
PTSD from weather is real. In Texas, it seems to be a routine affliction with the fear of flooding, hurricanes and even severe drought embedded in the memories of all of us. Last year, we added freezing winter weather to that list of night terrors thanks to days of sub-freezing temps mixed in with an apparently creaky old power grid that failed and led to the deaths of hundreds.

So, we understand if you look ahead to the forecast this week, see temperatures in the 20s, and imagine the Cold Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus raining sleet down on your frozen corpse while maniacally laughing and singing with his tiny snowy minions.

It's also a perfectly normal reaction for people who are absolutely NOT used to this kind of weather. We scoff at category one hurricanes and laugh in the face of brutal heat and humidity. But, put some ice on the ground and force us to dig a coat our grandparents gave us out of storage just to brave the tundra and we freak the hell out.

There is good news this week, however.

Yes, it is going to be cold. Really cold by our normal winter standards. But, no, it is not going to be a repeat of last year (for our area), so take a deep breath and stop building that giant bonfire pile in the backyard you were thinking of using to keep your plants from dying.

Wednesday night, a cold front will push through that will offer a rather brisk awakening for Houstonians and other Texans. For Houston, temperatures will be around 40 degrees, but a stiff northerly wind will make it feel much colder. If you will be out walking your dogs in the morning like us, you'll likely be more annoyed than usual, so be prepared.

Temperatures in Houston will hover around 40 for all of Thursday before dropping again Thursday night. Overnight Thursday will be the coldest night of the week with lows falling into the upper 20s. Friday will remain cold and cloudy with highs only topping out in the upper 30s.

If you are going to be in (or, God help you, traveling to) north Texas, it's a different story. While they won't have sub-zero temperatures like last year, they will have lows in the teens with as much as a quarter of an inch of icing. That could certainly create issues for drivers and create the possibility of downed power lines.

Southeast Texas should fare much better though we could get a little light sleet or freezing rain. That could cause some patches of ice to form on area roadways, but it is not expected to cause any significant accumulations.

By the weekend, we'll have clear and cool conditions. It should be quite lovely in fact. So, just take it easy the next couple nights and stay inside WITH your pets please. And maybe bring in some of the more vulnerable potted plants. If you have in-ground flowers that wither in the cold, cover them up as well.

Now, will the power grid hold? Unfortunately, what impacts those to our north can affect us as well. ERCOT and Governor Abbott say we are fine. Pardon us if we don't have a ton of faith in those reassurances, but at least the weather science suggests we will be OK without the worries we've had in the past.

We understand it can be concerning and you may be tempted to rush out to buy generators and all sorts of incendiary devices, but keep in mind that this won't last long and you will likely have power the entire time in Houston. Don't set anything (or anyone) on fire over this. And try not to freak out.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke