Local meteorologists take advantage of the shift in weather to collect data and warn for colder conditions on the way. Near freezing temperatures may bring ice to the roadways. TX DOT crews are ahead of schedule, ready to de-ice local bridges and overpasses.
The National Weather Service in both Houston and the Fort Worth Dallas area depend on data collected from the weather balloons launched by the Texas A&M Meteorology department.
Dr. Don Conlee, Instructional Associate Professor at Texas A&M along with a handful of students released a weather balloon into the sky Thursday afternoon which provided researchers a vertical profile of the atmosphere.
“We’re getting pressure, we’re getting temperature, we’re getting relative humidity and altogether those three things help us figure out what’s coming our way,” said Sarah Spivey, a Meteorology Junior at Texas A&M.
It's not just students learning who are learning from the exercise. Conlee said the National Weather Service depends on this information, as the areas the university surveys overlap with both Houston and Dallas Forth Worth territory.
"Normal,' we hardly are at this time of year because we're either warm or below normal," Conlee smiled.
Conlee attributes the colder temperatures to the arctic air coming in from Canada and the warmer temperatures, similar to what we saw Wednesday, from the Gulf of Mexico.
A drastic change in temperature is expected again next week.
"We certainly have that possibility for some freezing rain and we'll have to be watching that on the elevated roadways and that'll be the main threat," Conlee warned.
Due to the threat, TX DOT is already prepared with their trucks loaded up, ready to apply traction and de-icing materials to bridges and overpasses in the next few days.
"Our crews are up and ready for our ten counties," said Bob Colwell, TX DOT Spokesperson. "Tonight we will start working 12 hour shifts around the clock; that'll probably go all the way until Monday," he said.
Traffic officials are asking everyone to slow down and to be especially careful in the northern counties, where ice is expected to accumulate over the next few days.
"We just want folks to remember to pay attention, to allow a little extra distance between cars, to slow down even though it might say 75 miles per hour on the roadway, that is for ideal driving conditions," said Colwell.
TX DOT will continue to monitor the roadways, especially towards the north.
If you'd like more information about winter driving tips, click on the link below.