WEATHER UPDATE: New Year’s Eve hard freeze to continue into next week

6 p.m. update: The National Weather Service is keeping it’s message simple for the New Year’s holiday weekend: Stay inside, stay warm and stay off the roads.

Forecasters are warning Central Texas about a frigid mass of Arctic air set to arrive in the region on Sunday with a dose of light freezing rain starting after sundown. The freezing air and cold drizzle will hit the Hill Country as early as late Sunday afternoon before affecting parts of the Interstate 35 corridor later in the night and into New Year’s Day.

The Hill Country will experience a hard freeze possibly every day next week through Friday, with temperatures sinking as low as the teens and lower 20s, the weather service says.

Any icy drizzle should be limited to trace amounts on New Year’s Eve, or even a few hundredths of an inch on New Year’s Day, forecasters say.

But the weather service says “widespread travel problems are not expected at this time,” but it urges residents to watch out for weather updates. “Some closed bridges and overpasses are not out of the question.”

Earlier: Take in the last of the still-enjoyable winter weather while you can — temperatures are expected to dip drastically by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, according to the National Weather Service.

Saturday will bring patchy drizzle and patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, it will be cloudy with a high near 58 and calm wind. Saturday night will also bring patchy drizzle and fog and will be cloudy with a low around 40 degrees.

The National Weather Service is alerting Central Texas counties about Sunday’s chill.

“A strong arctic cold front will move through South Central Texas on Sunday,” the weather service says. “Very cold conditions will persist for an extended time behind the front through Wednesday.”

Temperatures are expected to drop into the upper 20s to upper 30s by midnight, but strong wind “will make it feel like the teens to upper 20s as the New Year rings in.” Happy New Year!

The day will bring a 20 percent chance of rain and should be cloudy with a temperature drop to around 36 degrees by 5 p.m. Sunday night will be mostly cloudy with a low around 26 degrees

The chill will continue into New Year’s Day, when it’ll be mostly cloudy with a high near 34. That night will be partly cloudy with a low around 23.

It’ll get worse before it gets better, folks. The coldest temperatures are expected to come Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, when a hard freeze in the teens to low 20s is expected across the Hill Country and low to mid 20s elsewhere.

Areas across the Hill Country could experience freezing temperatures for more than 60 consecutive hours beginning New Year’s Eve. Some places along the I-35 corridor from Austin to San Antonio could see freezing temperatures for 36 consecutive hours starting early New Year’s morning.

The service urged the public to take preparations for the possibility of extended freezing temperatures and instructed those traveling New Year’s Eve to check the latest forecast and road conditions before leaving home.

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