CHILL STILL: Cold snap over but brief, final dose of freezing temps tonight

3 p.m. update: We might want to quit the cold, but the cold can’t quite quit us.

The National Weather Service says Central Texas has to face one more night of freezing temperatures, as chilly northern winds and dry air remain in the region.

But the weather service wants to assure us that “this will be the last night of widespread freezing temperatures” – for a little while, anyway.

Hill Country and low-lying areas along the Interstate 35 corridor could see temperatures in the lower 20s, forecasters said.

Temperatures are expected to rebound above freezing around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. Thursday.  

10:20 a.m. update: Temperatures in Austin are above freezing for the first time since Dec. 31, as temperatures at the city’s main weather station at Camp Mabry reached 33 degrees at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Not only is the city seeing the most sunshine in days, temperatures also are expected to climb about 20 degrees higher, reaching a mild 52 degrees, the National Weather Service says.

Unfortunately, another hard freeze is possible in Central Texas Thursday morning as low temperatures could sink to the upper teens in the Hill Country and sink to upper 20s in the Austin metro area.

Wednesday forecast for Austin: The hard freeze warning that has gripped Central Texas since New Year’s Eve is set to end at 10 a.m. Before the warning expires, though, Wednesday morning temperatures throughout the region have sunk to the high teens and lower 20s.

Here’s a quick look at some of the temperatures as of 6 a.m. across Central Texas gathered by the Lower Colorado River Authority:

  • 23 degrees: Camp Mabry in Austin
  • 21 degrees: Pflugerville in northeastern Travis County
  • 21 degrees: Bastrop in Bastrop County
  • 20 degrees: Florence in northern Williamson County
  • 19 degrees: Round Rock in Williamson County
  • 18 degrees: Elgin in western Bastrop County
  • 17 degrees: Buda in eastern Hays County
  • 17 degrees: San Marcos in Hays County
  • 15 degrees: Cow Creek at Lago Vista in western Travis County
  • 15 degrees: Cedar Creek in western Bastrop County
  • 13 degrees: Big Sandy Creek at Jonestown
  • 14 degrees: Near Marble Falls

Since the cold snap began New Year’s Eve, Austin’s main weather stations at Camp Mabry and Austin-Bergstrom International AIrport have seen a couple of daily records matched or broken.

On Tuesday, Mabry’s 32 degrees tied the previous daily record for the coldest high temperature, while the same reading at the airport set a new record for the coldest high there. A low of 24 at the airport also tied the record for minimum temperatures on Jan. 2.

Early Wednesday, the weather service said temperatures at the airport had sunk to 15 degrees, breaking the previous daily cold record of 17 set in 2002.

The good news is that the National Weather Service forecast for Wednesday calls for sunshine and temperatures in Austin to climb to around 52 degrees.

The bad news is that temperatures are expected to sink back to below freezing at night. The weather service says the evening low in Austin is likely to drop to 27 degrees, or about 15 degrees colder than normal for this time of year.

But Wednesday marks the beginning of the end of the season’s harshest cold snap. By Thursday, temperatures should stay above freezing as daytime temperatures peak again near 50, forecasters say.

The weather service’s extended forecast, though, indicates that temperatures will rebound into seasonable levels by the weekend:

Thursday: Increasing clouds but temperatures climb to near 49. Mostly cloudy at night with a low temperature around 32.

Friday: Sunny with a high near 55. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 38. Warmer south winds of around 5 mph may help buoy temperatures.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a high near 59 as temperatures reach more seasonable ranges. Warm winds blowing in from the south-southeast may bring a 20 percent chance of rain and clouds, but the increased humidity with help keep temperatures above 50 at night.

Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers under mostly cloudy skies with a high near 68, several degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. At night, the forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of showers with a low around 48.

Monday: Mostly sunny with a high near 64. Mostly clear at night with a low around 42.

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