With tomorrow's blast of arctic air headed our way, a few questions are on almost everyone's minds. Why the cold weather? How long will it hang around? Will we see any snow? What do I need to do?
First, why is this potentially record-breaking cold even headed our way? The jet stream, which usually bottles up the cold, arctic air in Canada and the northern US, will be dipping very far south. Mid-level winds will drive the cold front into the Brazos Valley, and that polar air will move right in behind it.
Unfortunately, this cold snap is going to be with us for awhile. The front will move through late Wednesday night, and we'll feel colder temperatures Thursday morning. Then it's just going to get colder throughout the day. Temperatures will fall into the 20s in the afternoon, and into the teens overnight. With this system, it's not just the cold to worry about. Winds will be gusty, and that means very low wind chills: single digits possible across much of the Brazos Valley. Temperatures may not make it above freezing on Friday, and lows Friday night will once again dip into the teens. There won't be much of an improvement on Saturday, with highs only in the mid and upper 30s and lows near 20. Warmer air finally returns on Sunday, with highs back near 50.
A few of us may pick up some flurries along and ahead of the front Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but once the front passes, very dry air will filter in behind it. The snow will be brief, and don't expect accumulation either.
So what do you need to do to get ready for the cold? Remember your 4 P's: Plants, Pets, Pipes and People. Cover sensitive plants or move them inside. Pets if possible should be brought indoors. Otherwise, make sure they have adequate shelter and access to clean, non-frozen water. Insulate pipes, and keep your thermostat above 55. Don't forget to bundle up yourself, if you're venturing outdoors. Dress in layers, and remember scarves, gloves and hats!