(KTAB/KRBC) – We are well into our second month of winter here in the Big Country. Apart from a couple of stronger cold fronts that we have seen this month, we have kept temperatures on the warmer side. This is going to change heading into tonight.  

A strong, arctic cold front has been marching its way south across the country since Monday. As of 2PM Wednesday, this cold front was just above the Concho Valley and Heartland counties and temperatures were already dropping across the Big Country. Gusty winds will accompany the front and will persist through Thursday as well. But the main concern with this front is just how cold temperatures are expected to get. 

Overnight Wednesday and Thursday morning, temperatures will fall into the low 20s and some lower lying areas could fall into the teens. A hard freeze, when temperatures fall below 28 degrees, is expected for our entire area. When temperatures get this cold, it is important to take action beforehand to keep your family safe. A good guideline is to protect the four P’s – people, plants, pets, and pipes.  

The 4 P’s

While the 4 P’s is a good reminder, it is a bit generic and leaves out a few things as well. Your car is also affected by colder weather. When we have such strong fluctuations in temperature, without a doubt that little orange light on the dashboard will come on to warn you about your tire pressure. Car batteries are also impacted when the weather takes a turn like this, so have patience and use caution when starting your vehicle.  

Cold weather safety tips

With the winds staying breezy throughout the morning, wind chill will be something to keep in mind. Around 8 AM Thursday morning we can expect wind chill values to be in the single digits across the Big Country and Heartland. While the wind chill won’t affect your pipes, what it will affect is you. Make sure to send the kids with plenty of layers to school, and make sure you are bundled up as well if you have to be outdoors.  

In addition to cold temperatures, there is a low probability of some light winter precipitation primarily along and south of the I-10 corridor Thursday. This chance of precipitation is highly dependent on how much moisture we keep behind the front with the arctic airmass in place. The chance throughout the Big Country is little to none to see winter precipitation, but if we see any accumulations would not be an issue and the impacts would be very small. Closer down towards the I-10 corridor, we should see snow in the morning, with a combination of rain/snow and some sleet by Thursday afternoon.  

We cannot rule out some slick spots developing, primarily on bridges and overpasses during the morning hours, especially the further south you go. Be sure to use caution driving, as ice can be hard to spot on the roads. Any precipitation will end before Thursday evening.  

While the Big Country is bracing for cold, portions of southeast Texas are watching for the possibility of severe storms from the same front that moved through this afternoon. That same cold front has also prompted a Winter Weather Advisory and Winter Storm Warning for south central and south Texas through Friday.