Freezing fog has become an issue once again this morning across the eastern half of the Texas Panhandle extending south through the South Plains and into the Permian Basin. Some of the fog is dense and is reducing visibility below a one-half mile. Temperatures are below freezing so the fog has likely deposited a thin layer of ice on exposed objects. Take bridges slow and give yourself plenty of space between other vehicles. As we all know – typically you’re a good driver, but its the other drivers you’ve got to worry about out on the roads.
You’ve had to be living under a rock if you’re not aware of our upcoming arctic cold front. We continue to anticipate this front arriving in the Texas Panhandle late Saturday and quickly pushing south through most of Texas on New Year’s Eve (Sunday). Temperatures behind the front will drop off significantly and bring dangerously cold wind chills by Sunday evening.
Another interesting aspect to the New Years Eve forecast is the potential for light winter precipitation. This portion of the forecast is low-confidence and will undoubtedly change. I wouldn’t be surprised if the post-frontal airmass ends up drier than anticipated. Should that occur we wouldn’t see any winter weather problems. However, there is the potential for very light freezing rain or light snow across portions of Northwest Texas, West Texas, Texoma, and North Texas on Sunday as the freezing line moves south. Those south of the freezing line would be dealing with drizzle, but at least it wouldn’t be causing travel headaches. We’re confident the freezing line will be near San Antonio to Houston by midnight Monday, but how far south we see drizzle to freezing drizzle remains uncertain. This is not expected to be a winter storm, but any freezing drizzle with temperatures below 30 degrees could cause problems on bridges. Please check back on Saturday and we should have a better idea of any potential impacts – if any – that may develop due to a light winter mix.
Regardless of any winter mischief on New Year’s Eve – it will be very cold for the first few days of 2018. High temperatures will struggle to get above freezing across the northern half of Texas on Monday, and low temperatures both Monday and Tuesday mornings will be quite cold. Wind chill values will tend to be five to fifteen degrees below the actual air temperature. While our northern neighbors may be laughing at our ‘cold’, seeing as they’re dealing with wind chills of 50 below, we will be dealing with dangerously cold wind chill values on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Remember to keep any space heaters or candles well away from fabrics that could combust. Bring your pets indoors, check on those pipes, and remember your plants and elderly neighbors!