An Arctic front arrives later today, freeze likely Tuesday night

A strong Arctic front will reach Houston later today, likely during the late afternoon hours, and usher in a freeze for much of the metro area. Most of Houston has yet to record a freeze this season—the low at Bush Intercontinental Airport so far has been 36 degrees. While this will definitely be earlier than normal for a freeze, the region has seen earlier freezes. The table below shows the average date, and earliest date, for official monitoring stations in the Houston region:

(National Weather Service)

Monday

Conditions today will be warm ahead of the front, with central and southern parts of the region likely climbing into the mid- to upper-70s. As the front sweeps through Houston this afternoon—probably between around 3pm and sunset from northwest to southeast—temperatures will immediately drop 10 to 20 degrees, and we’ll just go downward from there.

HRRR model forecast for temperatures at 6pm CT Monday. (Weather Bell)

A fast-moving band of light to moderate showers should accompany the front, and then light rain could persist throughout the evening and into early Tuesday morning. There is a slight chance that, if precipitation lasts into Tuesday morning in outlying areas, some of this light rain could turn into sleet or snow flurries. However, most likely the precipitation will end before the coldest air arrives. In the wake of the front, expect blustery conditions, with winds gusting up to 35mph, and a gale warning in effect for coastal waters.

Tuesday

Rains end Tuesday morning, and we should see some clearing skies. But don’t expect too much warming as northerly winds bring cold, dry air into the region. Temperatures will probably start out just above freezing for most of Houston, and highs are unlikely to climb much above the mid-40s. With mostly clear skies, and dying winds, Tuesday night will bring ideal cooling conditions for the region. Here’s our current thinking on lows for Tuesday night in the Houston region. These remain subject to at least slight change.

Low temperature for Wednesday morning. (Weather Bell)

Wednesday

This day should be sunny and cold, with highs in the low 50s. Overnight lows should moderate some, into the 40s for most.

Thursday

Chances for light to moderate rain increase from Wednesday night through Thursday night as a storm system pushes across Texas from west to east. Right now dynamics do not favor strong rainfall, so I’m not expecting accumulations much above a tenth or two of an inch. Temperatures should continue to warm up a bit.

Next weekend

As this pacific front pushes through toward the end of the work week, we should expect nice fall conditions for next weekend. I’m not ready to lock them in yet, but I’d expect something on the order of partly to (mostly?) sunny skies, with highs in the 60s, and lows in the 40s for Friday through Sunday.

22 thoughts on “An Arctic front arrives later today, freeze likely Tuesday night

  1. Joey Ware

    How long do we expect to be below freezing? This doesn’t sound like a pipe bursting event but I thought I would ask just to be sure.

  2. Christy Hartman

    So when do I cover my plants? Could you present the info in terms of how cold it will be for certain actions?

  3. Arianda

    NWS has said there will be a freeze warning and “likely” a hard freeze warning, so yes, protect plants and pipes. I checked the times anticipated and it’s expected between 11-7 (below 32).

  4. Jason

    wow this is miserable back in the old days you could get through the entire winter and stay above 35, and never that cold in November.

    1. Glitterpunk

      Back in which olden days? The average first freeze in that chart is Dec 3rd. And I can remember icicles on the eaves of the house every winter, so….

      1. Jason

        When I first moved to Houston, I remember being sad that winter didn’t seem like winter. Entire winters would pass without any freezing temperatures. This is why Houston was designed with houses on blocks and pipes out in the open—didn’t have to worry about freezing pipes back then.

  5. Michael Payne

    just remember, for last November 13th the chance for snow flurries/sleet just randomly popped up on a weather model mid-afternoon just before it happened the next morning, don’t be surprised if something comes up at the last moment

  6. Matthew

    Is there something I am missing about pipes freezing in Texas? I just moved here from wv and we would not even think about pipes freezing until sub zero temperatures.

    1. Amy N

      Most residential buildings in Houston are more vulnerable to freeze than in the North. Our pipes are generally in the attic, where temperatures get much colder. Exterior piping is not usually insulated either. So, wrap a bit of foam insulation around those hose bibs. But with temps forecast to only be in the low 30’s, I won’t bother with much at my house.

  7. Christian

    @Matthew: Yeah, I don’t know why people are talking like their pipes will freeze at around 32F–no way that’s going to happen. That said, our pipes in the Houston area tend to be much less protected than farther north, so you can sometimes have them freeze when it’s in the 20s here if your pipes are not insulated and are exposed to the elements (i.e. pier and beam house).

  8. Kyle R

    When i checked last night the front was in Kansas, now it’s in Dallas and supposed to be here by the end of the workday, this thing is hauling! It’s no wonder the temperature’s going to drop 30 degrees in just a few hours.

  9. Wayne Krennerich

    Regarding pipes and temps: Houston is geographically huge. Those on the SE side may barely see 32/31 while those on the NW side will see 29/28 according to the chart. As a resident of Cypress area, my sprinkler system will be shut down today so the bell doesn’t freeze and blow off, outdoor hose bibs wrapped. I am waiting until Tuesday to decide if I need to pick my Meyer lemons off the tree. According to the Garden Line guru, Randy Lemmon, they can survive 29 for a couple of hours. I would prefer they stay on the tree a few more weeks. Looks like I have about 14 dozen and that is a lot to juice at one time.

    1. AB

      My former house had a meyer lemon tree. I do miss it. During freezes I would wrap with christmas lights and cover with a sheet. Not sure if it really worked but my tree was always okay.

    1. Blackhawks Fan

      Time to panic – Bring your pipes inside, wrap the elderly in foam, stock two weeks of rations, start your generators, cancel school for a week, and fill your cars with gas….. it’s going to be a brutal 30 degrees out there.

      Reminds me of an old Michael Berry video…..

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