11:45 p.m. update: A brief and surprising snowfall has largely dissipated across the Austin area Sunday night, and as a result, the National Weather Service will allow a winter weather advisory to expire at midnight.
However, a hard freeze warning is still in effect through noon Wednesday as frigid temperatures are expected to linger across south Central Texas during the early part of the week, forecasters said.
Overnight temperatures are expected to drop to a low around 23 on Sunday with winds between 10 to 15 mph, the weather service said. The high on New Year’s Day is forecast at 32, or freezing, under mostly cloudy skies, according to meteorologists.
10:00 p.m. update: It’s another white December night in Central Texas — the second one this month — with snowfall reported in the Austin area on New Year’s Eve.
The National Weather Service says a region of light to moderate snowfall has developed across northern Travis County Sunday night and multiple people have reported flurries citywide. As a result, the weather service has issued a winter weather advisory until midnight Sunday, warning that areas could see a light dusting and snow could accumulate on roadways, making them slick.
A winter weather advisory is also in effect for Williamson County until midnight, as snow continues to fall in the area. Advisories for Burnet and Lee counties were allowed to expire.
9:45 p.m. update: Snow has begun to fall in North Austin on New Year’s Eve, the National Weather Service is reporting, with a small band of light snowfall moving through northern Travis County along the Williamson County line
Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose told the weather service that he spotted light snow flurries at his home in northwest Austin beginning at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. “The tops of cars are beginning to turn white,” he said.
More snow flurries were also spotted in Pflugerville, the Travis County emergency management office said.
This is the second time this month Austin has seen seen a surprising winter snowfall.
The weather service has allowed a winter weather advisory for Burnet and Lee counties to expire, however an advisory for Williamson County has been extended until midnight, the start of the new year. Freezing rain can be expected through that time, making driving conditions dangerous, meteorologists said.
8:30 p.m. update: Central Texas is getting a second surprising winter snowfall with flurries spotted across Williamson County Sunday night, according to reports to the National Weather Service.
According to the service, light snow has been reported in Cedar Park, Round Rock, Hutto, Jarrell, Taylor and near Anderson Mill and Pond Springs roads, all in Williamson County, Sunday night.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for Williamson, Burnet and Lee counties until 10 p.m. when freezing rain is possible. The icy conditions caused several wrecks in Williamson County earlier, particularly on Ronald Reagan Boulevard south of Texas 29.
Public safety officials said that section of roadway has reopened after the earlier crashes. Crews have put sand on the roadway, however Leander police are still urging drivers to use caution in the area.
7:00 p.m. update: The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Burnet, Williamson and Lee counties until 10 p.m. Sunday as light freezing drizzle continues to fall in the area.
The freezing rain will cause slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads, bridges and overpasses, making travel difficult, the weather service said.
Several wrecks have already been reported in Williamson County as roads and bridges begin to ice, including two on Ronald Reagan Boulevard south of Texas 29, public safety officials said.
Leander police reported a major crash on Ronald Reagan Boulevard and RM 2243 with possible ejections shortly before 7 p.m., the second crash in the area Sunday evening. The wrecks have prompted authorities to close Ronald Reagan Boulevard between Texas 29 and Crystal Falls Parkway.
6:15 p.m. update: The National Weather Service is receiving reports of freezing rain across south Central Texas on Sunday evening, including sightings in Williamson and Travis counties.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday there were reports of freezing drizzle in Pflugerville and in North Austin near Metric Boulevard and Braker Lane, according to the weather service. Some freezing drizzle was also observed near Anderson Mill Road and U.S. 183 in Williamson County, the service said.
The Williamson County sheriff’s office said all bridges on Ronald Reagan Boulevard north of FM 1431 are covered in ice and multiple wrecks have occurred in the area.
4:20 p.m. update: A hard freeze warning from 9 p.m. to noon Wednesday has been issued for the Austin metro area, including Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Lee, Williamson, Caldwell, Burnet and Blanco counties.
Meanwhile, Austin-Travis County EMS crews are reporting ice on the Mopac Boulevard (Loop 1) ramp at Cesar Chavez Street while responding to a collision.
Overnight temperatures in the upper teens to mid-20s and daytime temperatures in the low to mid-30s may lead to bursted plumbing pipes and hypothermia for those outside for extended periods of time, according to the weather service.
“The ambient wind with the temperatures falling into the 20s will cause surfaces to freeze,” NWS meteorologist Steve Smart said. “Certainly exposed surfaces, metal surfaces, bridges, overpasses, poles.”
The weather service says a freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely.
“It is advisable to take precautions to protect people, plants and pets from the effects of prolonged sub-freezing temperatures,” a statement from the weather service said.
Public safety agencies are recommending residents remember the people, property, pets and plants:
- Keep tabs on older loved ones and young children, both are vulnerable to hypothermia if exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Bring all pets inside and make sure they have a warm place to sleep
- Cover or bring in plants. During periods of sub-freezing temperatures, crops and other sensitive vegetation may die.
- Let faucets drip to keep pipes from freezing
Earlier: Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing in the hours just before the start of the new year, according to the National Weather Service.
Sunday’s high is expected to be 40 degrees, falling to around 35 degrees at 6 p.m. and then down to 32 degrees at 9 p.m. At the stroke of midnight, temperatures should be hovering around 28 degrees, according to the weather service. Wind gusts as strong as 20 mph are possible in the afternoon and into the night.
“Tonight, when people are going to be outside … the winds are going to pick up,” weather service meteorologist Yvette Benavides said. “It’s already going to be cold, but it’s going to feel even colder. I don’t think people are anticipating how cold it’s going to feel. It’s going to feel painful.”
Temperatures could stay below freezing in Austin and other areas in the Interstate 35 corridor for as long as 24 to 36 hours starting Monday morning, according to the weather service. Patchy drizzle is possible.
The weather service warns that freezing rain could fall west of a line from Kerrville to San Antonio to Hallettsville in Lavaca County. Freezing drizzle is possible at night west of a line from Mountain Home in Kerr County to Castroville to Karnes City and north of Pearsall in Frio County to Quemado. Light accumulation of ice is possible on elevated surfaces such as bridges and overpasses, according to the weather service.