The weather outside is quite frightful this morning in Houston

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today! Unlike 1993’s “Groundhog Day,” this will soon be a distant memory as we warm up heading into next week. But in the meantime, it is our coldest morning since February of 2021. Houston has so far bottomed out at 16°, and the coldest reading I can find as of 6:30 AM is 10° up in New Waverly. I also saw an 11 just outside Tomball. Whatever the case, it’s about 10 to 20 degrees in most places this morning, and it’s cold.

Our coldest morning since February 2021 with temperatures as cold as 10° north of the Houston area, around 13°-19° in most suburbs and much of the city, and near 20° south. (NOAA)

The wind isn’t helping. We continue to see wind gusts up as high as 33 mph in Houston at Hobby Airport and 39 mph in Galveston. The combination of wind and cold makes it feel about as brutal as it can realistically get here in Houston. Wind chills are currently 5° in Galveston, 3° at Bush Airport, 1° at Hobby Airport, and -4° in Conroe.

Anywhere you see white on the map above, wind chills are below zero this morning. Even the warmest locations in the area are seeing wind chills as low as 5 degrees. (Weather Bell)

So before you go out and do that last minute Christmas shopping, please make sure you are adequately dressed. This type of cold can be dangerous, especially for those of us in Texas that are simply not used to temperatures at these levels.

The good news is that roads should be all clear and passable, as we saw no ice or snow with the front yesterday. Travel anywhere across Texas is fine today. If you are flying, please go with a lot of patience. Flights to Chicago are likely to be delayed. Milwaukee’s airport is currently closed. All of these issues will cascade through the system, so flight delays and cancellations are possible anywhere.

Some good news is that ERCOT is in fine shape this morning. As of this writing, Texans are using about 73,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, and the grid has nearly 85,000 MW available. According to their site, things do get a little tighter looking this evening, as wind falls off versus where it was last night and this morning. As of now, we don’t foresee any serious issues, but given that they failed to forecast the amplitude of the energy demand last night and this morning (they missed by several thousand megawatts), it is worth monitoring later today.

Centerpoint is reporting just shy of 20,000 customers without power this morning. This is due to localized outages from tree branches or power lines being impacted by the strong winds in our area. That number should improve through the day as winds ease up.


The good news is that the sun will help make it feel just a little less uncomfortable today. Still, expect high temperatures barely scraping 30 degrees in most places. The freeze continues.

High temperatures this afternoon will limp to near 30 degrees, despite the sun. (Pivotal Weather)

Winds will remain blustery today, with gusts of 20 mph inland and 30 mph at the coast. So wind chills will remain a factor all day today as well.

Tonight & Saturday

Most of our attention has been focused on this morning’s temperatures because they were to be the coldest of this event. But tonight will be pretty rough as well. Thankfully, we will see less wind, but we will still likely have a hard freeze almost everywhere, so keep all protective measures for pipes, plants, people, pets, and livestock in place. Some passing cloud cover may prevent temperatures from dropping as far as they did last night and this morning, but it will still be plenty cold.

Overnight lows tonight into Christmas Eve morning will be about 3 to 5 degrees warmer than this morning, give or take. Still, this will lead to another hard freeze in much of the area. (Pivotal Weather)

Saturday should end up being a slightly nicer day. Expect only a light breeze, more sunshine, and temperatures warming above freezing and deep into the 30s.

Sunday & Monday

Christmas Day will be another chilly one, but we’ll be gradually eating away at the cold. Only outlying areas really have a risk for a significant hard freeze Sunday morning, while most of Houston proper, coastal areas, and some of the denser suburbs will probably “only” get to the mid-20s overnight. We’ll turn things up into the 40s on Christmas afternoon.

We may get a weak reinforcing front on Monday. Still, we’ll likely get above 50 degrees Monday afternoon. We’ll have another chilly night Monday night into Tuesday with 30s in most spots and perhaps a few high 20s in outlying areas.

Rest of next week

Tuesday will see highs in the 50s or low-60s, Wednesday in the 60s or low-70s, and Thursday into the 70s. In fact, we’ll probably see highs in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 50s or 60s straight through New Years weekend. The weather may turn more unsettled late next week as well, but details on that are minimal this far out. We’ll tackle that next week.

37 thoughts on “The weather outside is quite frightful this morning in Houston”

  1. Frightful indeed!
    I don’t remember it getting this cold in 2021, but possibly because I blocked it out…

  2. Well, it’s currently 16.7 F (and dropping) at a PWS a quarter of a mile from my house vs. Weather Bell’s worst case of 19F. So good to see Houston weather continues to exceed expectations…..

  3. Fyi, mke isn’t closed. According to their Twitter, they’re open and periodically clearing the runway. We’re boarding a plane on our way there right now.

    • Noted. The FAA map showed them closed as of the writing. Guessing they got it figured out. Appreciate the update. Safe travels!

    • It depends on your plumbing. If you have exposed outdoor pipes you’ll have to keep them dripping all day since we won’t get above freezing. The rule at my house is 28F, but that also depends on how warm the attic gets in the sun. Err on the side of caution.

  4. For the people who turned off their water and drained their pipes, when is it safe from a temperature perspective to turn things back on?

  5. It’s so cold that my dogs run out, do their business, and scurry back inside. I had to put on 2 hats, 2 coats, and luckily fould some old wool army gloves of my husbands. I am definitely hibernating inside today.

  6. Got down to 15 degrees at 6:35AM in my back yard near Champions. My pipes survived the evening, but then again I woke up every couple of hours to check ’em and run some water. They should make houses that don’t need babysitting ’round these parts.

    • respectfully, they could make them so that they don’t need to be babysat, but no one wants to pay for it, since it’s expensive and such an edge case (a few days a year). Up in Alaska, houses are built so that all the water pipes come up from the ground near the center of the house, and instead of sitting on slab, most houses have a enclosed crawlspace. All your plumbing is run on interior walls, and you have 3x more insulation in walls and attics.

      • Better insulated walls and attics would help year ’round here. One could make a good argument for doing the plumbing the same here.

        • Agree, Tim! In our 100 year old house, the two freezes have been (2021) unbearable and traumatic without power and (currently) just a bit uncomfortable. But the summers are brutal, everyday, for months. It’s just such an expensive project to add the type of insulation we need, and in a house this old its like opening a can of worms every time you start something new.

        • The BEST insulation is old school Rock Wool. The insulation is literally fire proof (Try putting a lighter it.)
          It also does not mold or mildew. If you have a leak or water gets in the only thing that needs to be looked after is your sheet rock. If you can dry it out with heaters on time you can avoid tearing out the wall.
          Rock Wool from the early 1900s should of never been changed out for ridiculous fiber glass.
          I was lucky enough to find out about it when I was changing out the nasty fiberglass insulation for better insulation for a home recording studio.

          You get the added benefit of
          Fireproofing not to forget privacy from room to room while being toasty or cool.
          Yes it is that good to write a post about it 🙂

      • There really is no reason why plumbing is run in roof spaces and outside walls as they are are around here, meaning we get hot water out of the cold taps throughout the long summers and very cold water out of the hot taps during these cold spells. Time for a change I think.

    • Agreed. Growing up in the Rust Belt, it got down to -23F once, plus one time when up to visit in the 80s. No problems with frozen pipes or power. The furnace was running full-time and I was wearing a jacket in the house, but that’s it.

      Having been through this “stuff” one two many times since moving down here 40 years ago, and having spent countless hours in the attic, I would have gladly paid a few thousand extra for a house that was built with winterization in mind (using 100-yr winters). Well, my next house will likely be a custom built (and well away from Houston), so maybe this is the last time I have to go through this nonsense.

      Homebuilders around here build everything on the cheap, from HVAC systems to windows to doors and floors. In the past 30 years, I think I’ve replaced or upgraded everything but the frame and sheetrock.

  7. My outdoor thermometer is steadily reading 11 degrees just outside of downtown. Just a few blocks north of Buffalo Bayou, so that might be contributing. This old (uninsulated) house is struggling to stay at 60 degrees. So very thankful to have power this time!

    • Same here, older 70-80 year old house, set the thermostat to 61F to reduce electricity usage (mainly concerned about the cost), but the heat comes on roughly every 5 minutes just to maintain that temperature. Of course if I step outside for half a minute, 61 inside feels nice and toasty, for at least a few seconds.

  8. It went down like five degrees lower than what everyone was forecasting, even the computer models. I have noticed that in Houston, it’s always two to five degrees colder than what they predict, and one or two warmer if it’s hot weather. With the rain, if they say it’s going to rain in the summer: prepare for a very low possibility unless you see a cold front moving in. These forecasts are only good to get anticipation and prepare but not to rely on them very much. You have to use your own judgement. I knew it was going to go down to 15 degrees and I knew we were not gonna go above the freezing point on Friday even though everyone kept saying we would at least for an hour. Like I said, it’s always 2 to 5 degrees lower than what they predict!

    • I can relate with that now I know why my pipes busted in the last major freeze a few years ago. I actually thought it was OK to turn my water back on and BOOM! It was not.
      The few small degrees of difference can make you or break you.
      Now that half of society has woken up we know most of what we see on the “Tell-LIE-VISION” is
      “PROGRAMMING” as we sit there and use our
      Everything is hidden in plane sight. There are actually some that still do not know or in reality they just don’t want to know. That is a large part of my family.

  9. I’m in Katy, TX hardly slept a wink giving the disaster experienced in Feb 2021 I was terrified. By God’s grace made it through the night. Still crossing fingers and sending prayers. At my age it’s not good contemplating what could happen with weather changes. Not something I expected living in Texas. Stay warm and keep prayers 🙏

  10. Does anyone know if ERCOT usually exceeds their same-day forecast capacity? Going into tonight, their capacity looks equal to the demand from last night. Do they have a track record of exceeding their forecast capacity?

    Another question. Why would the demand be lower tonight? ERCOT predicts less demand tonight…why?

  11. When I was driving home after sunset last night and admiring the beautiful holiday lights, it occurred to me that a big difference between now and the February 2021 freeze is we are probably using more electricity now, because of the holiday lights, than in Feb ‘21. Same temperatures but more electricity used, which could account for spikes in the evenings. I doubt everyone will forego plugging in their lights, but if a good number do, it might help. I love the holiday lights but I hate being without electricity. So in the spirit of “being the change I want to see,” I’ll keep my lights off for the few days we’re below freezing—it’s a much smaller sacrifice for me than losing electricity totally. Maybe a suggestion by Space City Weather in their next email forecast would carry some weight….

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