Freezing rain, sleet moving into Houston region from the west

As expected, a very strong cold front has moved through Houston this morning, and we’re in for a potentially messy day as precipitation falls on and off the day until about sunset. As of 5:45am CT we are already seeing a wintry mix over northwestern Harris County and Montgomery County. More freezing rain and sleet will move into the area later this morning as the freezing line moves from north of Houston, through the city, and down to Galveston by around noon.

Essentially, as the air cools down, the region is likely to see a progression from rain, to freezing rain, to sleet, to snow. This is largely driven by the depth of the warm air, which will decrease throughout the day as cold air moves into the region from the north. Here’s a graphic showing under which conditions each type of wintry precipitation falls.

(National Weather Service)

Our concern for today in Houston, and the reason why schools and some businesses closed, is because of the transition from rain to freezing rain, which has the potential to very quickly ice over roads. Now, let’s take a detailed look at what may transpire later today.

The following images from the HRRR model show how this transition might take place. The bottom line is that, from about 7am to 11am this morning, most of the region’s roadways have the potential to become slick, and remain that way for much of the rest of the day.

7am CT

7am CT. (Weather Bell)

In these maps, green represents rainfall, purple is freezing rain, red is sleet (ice pellets) and blue is snow).

9am CT

9am CT (Weather Bell)

By 9am this morning we can see freezing rain moving into much of the northern and western half of Houston.

11am CT

11am CT (Weather Bell)

Most of the area should be seeing freezing precipitation by 11 am except for the coast, which remains just above freezing.

1pm CT

1pm CT (Weather Bell)

3pm CT

3pm CT (Weather Bell)

The precipitaiton should end from northwest to southeast this afternoon and into the early evening hours. At this time it is not possible to say exactly how bad the roads will be across Houston later this morning, and this afternoon. But there’s the potential for a really bad mess. So stay home, if at all possible.

More later this morning.

29 thoughts on “Freezing rain, sleet moving into Houston region from the west

  1. Robert

    Thank you! Let’s all be careful and cautious today. We’re Houstonians! We don’t know what to do with this! 😉

  2. Tara

    Thank you for keeping us up to date. We will be following, as we are due to drive from NOLA to Houston within the next 24 hours. It does not appear any timing would be better than another.

  3. Concerned Flyer

    We are flying into Hobby Airport at 4:00pm today — will we be able to land? Or leave the airport for our hotel?

    Thanks!
    Concerned Flyer

    1. In Houston

      As of 7:25 am, status at Hobby: 29 cancellations 11 delays. They are advising that you contact your airline for more information on your flight status.

  4. Judith

    I have an organization that has a meeting planned for Wednesday morning at 9:30 A. M. In The Woodlands. Do you think the roads will be safe to drive, or should we cancel it?

      1. Maryellen Roberson

        Why do you think roads will be better tomorrow AM? I am curious as trying to plan for what school districts may do for tomorrow. Forecast says it will stay below freezing all day/night, and overpasses are icy now. Do they plan to salt them overnight to assist in clearing the ice? Or does the updated forecast have us warming up earlier tomorrow? Thank you for your drama free insights!

  5. Stephanie

    What kind of impact could this have on power lines? Unfortunarely, I live where our power lines still fly through the air! I’m a bit worried about losing power and therefore heat during this butter freeze.

      1. James

        According to centerpoint there are 12,000+ customers without power right now. So something is affecting the power grid/lines. Haven’t seen any outages in our area yet, hoping power stays up as I’m not ready to light a bonfire in my house.

  6. Mary Ann

    My idiot company closed at 8:15 this morning after most people were already at work. I had already declared my own personal snow day. I’ll work from home and get more done than being in a noisy office.

    1. Timothy

      DriveTexas.org should be one of your friends. Go to static map to see latest posted conditions. Compare with hour by hour forecast.

  7. Chuck

    It’s a good thing this didn’t hit during the Marathon, right Eric? THAT would have been an excellent reason to stop running!

  8. Darrell HArtman

    Surprised we have any warm air a lot with this cold of air…..How did this occur??? Would have thought we would have snow since precip is lasting so long

    1. Eric Berger

      Don’t have direct measurements of the atmospheric column right now, but as the column of colder air thickens I think we’ll transition to snow later today.

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