Hard Freeze, Wind Chill warnings going in effect
Bastrop County is bracing for the coldest snap of the winter season thus far.
Residents should brace for freezing temperatures all day Friday, Dec. 23, as well as the preceding and subsequent nights. As such, the National Weather Service has issued a Hard Freeze Warning for the county from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, through noon Christmas Eve on Saturday, Dec. 23. A Wind Chill Warning is also in effect Thursday evening through Friday morning.
"An arctic airmass will move into our area through the day today, bringing a prolonged period of freezing temperatures," said the NWS Austin/San Antonio Office. "Lows Friday morning will be in the 10-24 degree range with wind chill values even lower. Highs Friday will remain at or below freezing for a large portion of the area. A Hard Freeze Warning is in effect for all of south central Texas."
The artcic front should arrive in the area by midday Thursday. A Wind Advisory is in effect from noon until midnight.
"Breezy winds behind the front today are expected with speeds in the 20-30 mph range and gusts in excess of 35 mph," said NWS Austin/San Antonio staff. "This will create wind chills ranging from -7 to 13 degrees."
Aside from high wind and dangerously cold temperatures, the only good news for residents is no precipitation is accompanying the cold front. Sunny skies are expected through at least Tuesday, Dec. 27.
In the meantime, lows forecast for the next four nights are 12, 18, 20, 27 and 30 degrees. Tuesday could be the first night above freezing temperatures with the current low predicted at 41 degrees.
Friday is expected to stay in the 20s during the day. Christmas Eve should reach 35 degrees, with Christmas Day warming up to 44 degrees. Monday's and Tuesday's highs are forecast in the 50s. Temperatures could return close to 70 degrees by Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Bastrop County Office of Emergnecy Management advises residents to "remember the 4 P's. Protect people, pets, pipes, and plants."
The following safe home heating precautions are also offered:
• Avoid using hibachis, propane heaters, bbq grills, and/or any heat source with an open flame indoors.
• Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn including people, pets, and flammable materials.
• Test your smoke detectors and replace batteries if needed.