Freezing rain potential prompts travel concerns for parts of the Brazos Valley
Main travel issues will be on bridges, overpasses, and elevated surfaces
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The National Weather Service has issued Winter Weather Advisories, Winter Storm Watches, and Winter Storm Warnings across the state of Texas beginning Monday through Wednesday. The shallow, cold air mass that moved through Texas on Sunday will interact with moisture over the first half of the week prompting concerns for freezing rain and ice accumulations as far south as portions of the Brazos Valley.
MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE:
Temperatures have been generally holding steady across the Brazos Valley since sunset -- a trend that is expected to continue into Tuesday morning. Those in a line from Centerville to OSR at the Brazos/Robertson County line (or just south of it) to Caldwell to Giddings will likely wake up to slick spots on bridges and overpasses, at the least. South of that line, which includes Bryan-College Station, is expected to hold a degree or two above freezing through the night. Still a good idea to check road conditions and school closings first thing in the morning.
Another trend that is being monitored tonight is the potential for a more impactful round of freezing rain late Tuesday afternoon and evening through the night to early Wednesday morning. Some of the latest data suggests a heavier rainfall that would have the potential to freeze on surfaces across the Northern and Central Brazos Valley. If this were to pan out, travel impacts would be likely on Brazos Valley roads and a growing concern for the potential of tree limbs and power lines to be weighed down by ice would need to be considered. In this scenario, ice accumulations between 0.25″ and 0.50″ could be common, with isolated higher totals.
For the time being, the National Weather Service has the highest impacts to daily life noted along and north of the Highway 79 corridor. Updated data through the night and early Wednesday morning will be evaluated to adjust anticipated ice accumulation totals. For now, nothing to react to but something to monitor for early Tuesday morning travels and plans.
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:
The National Weather Service in Houston has upgraded Burleson county to a Winter Storm Warning as well as added Madison and Houston counties to the Winter Weather Advisory. The time for these advisories has also been extended until noon on Wednesday.
Winter Storm Warning: This warning is in place until Wednesday at 12pm for Milam, Robertson, Leon, Lee, and Burleson counties.
- Main Concerns: Periods of rain occasionally mixing into freezing rain at times are expected. Ice accumulation up to 0.2″ is possible with the highest totals situated near and northwest of Caldwell. This could impact travel on roadways, particularly on bridges, overpasses, and any elevated surface but some slick spots at ground level cannot be ruled out.
Winter Weather Advisory: This is in effect until Wednesday at 12pm for Brazos, Houston, Madison, and Washington counties.
- Main Concerns: Most precipitation that falls in these areas will be liquid rain, but a light glaze of ice will be possible. Ice concerns will be mainly contained to bridges, overpasses, and elevated surfaces as ground temperatures may stay above freezing.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE:
The National Weather Service has upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning for Lee, Milam, Robertson, and Leon counties. A Winter Weather Advisory has been put in place for Washington, Burleson, and Brazos County. While for now, these warnings only include seven area counties, it is likely that others will be added later on today. The biggest travel concerns begin as early as this evening and overnight.
Winter Storm Warning: This lasts until Wednesday morning at 6am for Milam, Robertson, and Leon counties and until 12pm for Lee county.
- Local Impacts - Ice accumulations from 0.1″ to 0.5″ of ice are possible, mainly on elevated surfaces and roadways. The higher totals of accumulation are expected to the north and west of the Brazos Valley, with local totals closer to 0.1″-0.25″. Roadways will become slick at times and tree limbs could begin to sag, leading to possible localized power outages.
Winter Weather Advisory: This is in effect until Tuesday morning at 6am for Brazos, Burleson, and Washington counties.
- Local Impacts - Most precipitation that falls in these areas will be liquid rain, but a light glaze of ice will be possible. Ice concerns will be mainly contained to bridges, overpasses, and elevated surfaces as ground temperatures may stay above freezing. This will not be as disruptive to your day as areas that are included in the Winter Storm Warning but still could cause travel concerns.
Where the freezing line sets up will continue to play a *huge* role in what we see fall from the sky over the next few days. Continue to stay tuned on air, online, and on the KBTX PinPoint Weather App to get the latest information.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Milam county. A Winter Weather Advisory has been put into place for Lee County. Both of these essentially mean that freezing rain is possible as the latest cold front brings temperatures to the steady 30s for the next 48 hours or more. Warm temperatures higher up in the atmosphere, and freezing temperatures at the surface could lead to minor ice accumulation, particularly on elevated roadways. Locally, most of the Brazos Valley will experience just cold rain. No other Brazos Valley counties are included in the watch at this time.
- Duration: Monday Noon - Wednesday 9 a.m.
- Local Impacts: Possibility of ice accumulation, mainly on elevated surfaces (i.e., bridges). Greatest impacts are expected north and west of the Brazos Valley, however, some roadways could become slick or glazed with ice through mid-week.
The National Weather Service has said that minor travel impacts are expected south of Waco. However, recent data suggest that light freezing rain is possible as far south as Milam and Lee Counties Monday. That potential could extend further to include Robertson, Leon Counties Tuesday, maybe even further south into parts of Burleson, Brazos, and Madison Counties. Everything that falls from the sky through mid-week is expected to do so as liquid rain. What needs to be monitored is where thermometers could drop to or just below 32°. Where that happens, that liquid will have the chance to freeze on contact -- particularly on elevated roadways and surfaces.
The following image shows where the greatest ice accumulation is expected. Notice that the Brazos Valley is modeled to show little-to-no accumulation...but this could change as new data is calculated. The main time to monitor for any travel impacts locally falls between late Monday evening and Wednesday morning.
This is a forecast where a degree or two change on the thermometer will cause a big difference in impacts for the Brazos Valley. It is important to keep up with the forecast this week and monitor changes, particularly across the Highway 79 corridor and in Milam, Robertson, and Leon Counties.
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