Arctic Freeze Coming to North Texas

An arctic blast is expected to pass through the Dallas area starting Thursday and last through Christmas Eve.

The winter weather is likely to make it hard to travel around the country, as a cold front will cross most of the country and bring dangerous wind chill temperatures from the South to the East Coast.

The National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office says that all of North Texas will have a hard freeze Thursday night and Friday morning. Wind gusts that could reach 45 miles per hour could bring wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees below zero Thursday night. Those below-freezing temperatures could last until Saturday. The low on Friday is currently 11 degrees.

“The exact timing of the front is still a bit uncertain,” the NWS said. “No matter what, the highest temperature of the day will probably happen in the morning for most, and temperatures will drop sharply throughout the day.”

Winter Freeze Could Put a Strain on Utilities

Low to middle-income homes could be hit hard by high utility bills next month due to the freeze. The state is looking at Texas utility assistance programs to help low-income households pay off past-due utility bills.

What will happen in the freeze?

The agency also said that there might be snow flurries on Thursday, but that’s the only sign of rain or snow in the forecast. Grant Johnston, a meteorologist for NBC DFW, said that there is also a chance of lake-effect snow in parts of North Texas as the cold air moves over warmer lake waters.

“Most of the area’s lakes have water temperatures in the 50s,” he said. “With air temperatures dropping quickly into the teens and 20s Thursday, this could set the stage for lake-effect snow in parts of the Metroplex.”

Johnson said that a few things, like how much moisture is in the air, will decide whether or not this happens in the area. He says we shouldn’t expect to see as much snow as in the Great Lakes, where lake-effect snow is most common. Most often, it happens south or southeast of a large lake.

The bottom line is that it’s time to get ready for some wicked winter temperatures. The Office of Emergency Management for the city of Dallas suggests doing a number of things to get ready. One of these is making sure you have an alternative heat source, like dry, seasoned firewood if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

And, of course, make sure you have lots of warm clothes and blankets. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before Thursday, and think about buying a fire extinguisher in case something goes wrong with the alternative heat source you’re using.

As we learned from Winter Storm Uri, it’s also a good idea to keep your phone and other devices charged and to think about charging up external batteries in case you lose power. Make sure you have plenty of batteries for flashlights, radios, etc.

Make a plan to keep pets inside when the weather is bad, and if you need to take your furry friend for a walk, make sure you are wrapped up and that your dog is also ready for what’s outside. The American Veterinary Medical Association also says to check your dog’s paw pads after walks to see if they have been hurt by the cold. Also, make a lot of noise before you start your car because stray cats like to curl up around the engine in the winter.

Outside, make sure you have removed any water hoses from exterior spigots and covered them with a foam cover, which you can find at most hardware stores. The American Red Cross says to leave the outside valve open so that water can continue to drain and so that it won’t burst a pipe if it freezes and expands. Also, think about insulating any pipes that are not near a heat source, like those in the garage or attic. This is also a good time to turn off automatic sprinkler systems so that you don’t turn your driveway, street, or sidewalk into a skating rink.

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