The prolonged and historic Arctic blast broke numerous records in Central Texas. On Tuesday morning, the coldest temperatures since 1989 were reported in Central Texas and the Brazos Valley. As of Thursday morning, over a weeks worth of continuous below freezing temperatures were reported, breaking the previous stretch from 1983.
Back to back snow and ice storms wreaked havoc on residents, which left some without power for days. Road conditions have been poor since last week, and now some communities are asking their residents to boil water.
Temperatures will remain below freezing through Friday morning, but the thaw will begin in the afternoon.
What's left of the Arctic blast
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Burnet, Williamson, Madison, Burleson, Brazos, Washington and Grimes Counties until 6 p.m. tonight. Freezing drizzle is expected through the early afternoon for these areas and may lead to an additional glazing of ice accumulation.
Highs today will make it into the middle to upper 20s. A few lower 30s are possible, but the entire area should remain below breezing. Clouds are expected to hang around until tonight. Clear skies Friday morning could result in another cold morning with temperatures falling into the teens and wind chills in the single digits. Be sure to keep those pipes protected.
History made in Central Texas
On Tuesday, Waco Regional Airport, the site for climate records in Central Texas, had a low temperature of -1 degrees. This is the lowest temperature to occur since December 23, 1989.
A temperature of 5 degrees or lower has only occurred nine times, with the most recent on February 15, 2021. Temperatures below zero have only happened three times in recorded history. The all-time lowest temperature is -5 degrees, which occurred on January 31, 1949.
As of Thursday morning, over a weeks worth of continuous hours below freezing - and counting - broke the previous stretch of 150 hours set in December 1983. Until temperatures rebound above freezing Friday afternoon, more than 200 hours of below freezing temperatures are possible. A high reaching the climatological normal has not occurred since February 8.
Area-wide thaw begins Friday afternoon
The Arctic blast will take a few days to completely move out, but temperatures are expected to climb above freezing Friday afternoon. Sunshine should allow for road conditions to quickly improve. Slick spots are expected through Saturday morning as temperatures will again fall into the 20s. The weekend should bring highs into the 50s and 60s.
Hazardous travel, impacts to infrastructure to continue
Driving conditions will remain difficult today as temperatures remain below freezing. Only travel if necessary.
On Friday, Governor Greg Abbot issued a disaster declaration for all 254 counties in response to the upcoming winter weather.
Check out local and statewide power outages at poweroutage.us/area/state/texas.
Boil water advisories have been issued for some communities, check out the updated list here.
Several highways and roads remain closed across Central Texas. You can find live updates on road conditions at drivetexas.org.
This article will be updated over the course of this event.