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Buckle in, Austin, because the coming week is going to be a cold one. With seven consecutive nights slated to come with below-freezing temperatures and winter weather the likes of which Austin hasn't seen in decades, it is time to prepare for the freeze.
Here is what to expect over the course of the week.
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The current forecast predicts that Saturday will be relatively less severe and cloudy, with a high of 35 degrees and a low of 28 degrees. With the chill, expect a small chance of rain and ice on highways, though Saturday is geared to be the warmest until Thursday.
If you haven't done so already, Saturday is the day to weather-proof your home, plants and pets. It may also be wise to stock up on a few days' worth of food so you don't have to travel in icy, dangerous conditions. Don't panic—weather will subside in less than a week—but it is better to be safe than sorry.
With a high temperature of 34 degrees and a low of 12 degrees, this Valentine's Day will be the coldest Cupid has brought in 70 years in Austin—since Feb. 14, 1951. If you have Valentine's Day plans, it might be worth adjusting them. The day will bring a 50% chance of freezing rain and sleet. And into the evening, there will be a 70% chance of snow—3 to 5 inches of it and an amount Austin hasn't had since 1985—making it the second rare snow of the season.
Avoid roads, expect power outages and slushy sidewalks. Starting Sunday, the weather probably won't get above freezing for more than 72 hours.
After a year of unprecedented events, Austin is making room for one more: record cold temperatures. A 28 degree high and 1 degree low will make Monday the coldest night Austinites have experienced in over 50 years. In 1949 it hit -2 degrees in the city.
Austin is set to prove winter is still here with a 40% chance of snow in the morning, bringing a winter wonderland two days in a row—an anomaly in Texas. The National Weather Service is advising Austinites to stay home—off the roads—and travel is not advised.
From day to night, Tuesday will stay below freezing all day. The forecast predicts a high temperature of 28 degrees and a low of 20 degrees, which will likely seem warm compared to Monday. The evening will carry a 60% chance of freezing rain, providing a great opportunity to gather your loved ones with some hot cocoa.
On the way out of the polar vortex, Wednesday will bring just one more day of snow and sleet. A high of 33 degrees and a low of 21 degrees, Wednesday morning has a 60% chance of freezing rain leading into a 30% chance of snow up to one inch.
After a long, hard, freezing cold week, Thursday is expected to be the last day of below-freezing temperatures. Thursday is looking like it will be a sunny one—with a high of 40 degrees and a low of 22 degrees—hopefully ice will have cleared off the roads, making it safe to travel again.
Winter is coming, Austin.
More on the cold weather:
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In a match marred by injuries and key player absences, Austin FC lost 2-0 in Los Angeles for the second time on Saturday to West Division titan LA Galaxy.
Austin FC goalkeeper Brad Stuver was tasked with the near-insurmountable task of holding back the LA Galaxy's Chicharito, who is now the league's top scorer this season, and he nearly succeeded.
The club saw its first major threat from the formidable Chicharito when a penalty was drawn on Jhohan Romana. In his usual game-saving fashion, Stuver leapt to the right to kept the scoreboard empty and block what many thought would be the league leader's first goal of the match.
With a Hector Jimenez injury midway through play, a Jon Gallagher absence due to injury and a man down as Captain Alex Ring sat the bench, however, the team was unable to get a win in their second trip to Los Angeles.
Austin FC was slated to play against the odds after Ring was benched due to a second yellow card last week. To cover the wound, the club put standout rookie Daniel Pereira in his stead and placed Danny Hoesen back at the crown of the lineup after fellow striker Gallagher stayed home.
Hector Jimenez got his first start with the club at right back in the stead of Nick Lima, but the run was short-lived. The 32-year-old suffered an injury after attempting to save the first LA Galaxy goal, but Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget still scored the match opener after popping a shot over Stuver to make the match 1-0.
Austin FC plateaued through much of the first half, and the forces of the universe were in the Galaxy's favor as they encroached on Austin's defense.
The club found new stamina, as they usually do, when a set of subs were brought in to up the club's tempo, and ten minutes of the match were entirely Kekuta Manneh's. Manneh, the club's only player with Austin ties, subbed in the 60th minute of play and immediately made an attempt on goal. The winger would make three more attempts, one of which just missed the top right corner of goal, before LA made its next advances on Austin's defense.
Head coach Josh Wolff said he hoped for a goal for Manneh, who doesn't often get to hit the pitch.
"His contributions were obvious, and I would have liked to see him get a goal there," Wolff said.
It looked like Austin might tie it up during the "Kekuta Era," but Chicharito played true to his stats. Stuver went head-to-head with Chicharrito once again and lost as he scored his seventh goal in five matches in the 77th minute of play.
⚽️ x 7️⃣@CH14_ scores his league-leading seventh of the season! #LAvATX pic.twitter.com/28zLnOmKWb
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 15, 2021
Matt Besler said he was up for a challenge as the club's central defender and he's unsurprised at Chicharito's success. Besler also said and he respects Chicharito on and off the pitch becuase of his openness about mental illness.
"I was looking forward to the challenge," Besler said. "His recognition of where the space is world class, and it's no surprise that he's scored goals everywhere that he's gone. I respect him as a player and I also respect him off the field."
Another attempt on goal was made by the Galaxy's Kevin Cabral, who sunk one in past Stuver just minutes later, but the goal was called offsides. Still, the match came to an anticlimactic end as Austin FC was unable to get one in goal and lost 2-0.
Besler, who has seen the ebbs and flows of his Sporting Kansas City, his club of 12 years, said that it takes patience to be a successful team. Still, he's impressed that Austin FC has made as much ground as they have in their expansion year.
"I understand that it's going to be a process, and we are in our fifth game of our existence, but the fact that we're at where we are at isa good sign," Besler said. "Towards the last third of the season, that's when hopefully we can peak and look a lot like our final product."
Austin FC will have a chance to snap their two-match losing streak as they head to Nashville SC for their sixth-straight road match at 8 p.m.on Sunday.
Nearly half of Travis County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated, as of Friday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. And an even greater portion likely have immunity.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott estimates that around 70% of local residents have some form of immunity to COVID-19, either because they have recovered from the disease or are vaccinated. This is approaching the threshold for herd immunity.
"We're starting to approach that 70% mark of combined disease and vaccination, so we may start to see some significant changes when it comes to disease trends," he told council members and county commissioners on Tuesday.
Escott arrived at this percentage by assuming that there is no overlap between those who have had COVID and those who have been vaccinated. "While there's certainly some overlap … there does not seem to be a lot of overlap between those two," he said.
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a disease that it is unlikely for someone who contracts the disease to spread it. With no one to infect, the disease dies out.
Public health experts have said herd immunity for COVID will require around 80% of the population to be immune based on its relative infectiousness.
Although natural immunity contributes to herd immunity and is partially responsible for the sharp downturn in the number of new COVID infections in recent months, vaccination is the gold standard among experts because of the increased security it offers.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler celebrated the new CDC guidance as proof of vaccines' efficacy. "Since more people will not be wearing masks, it makes it even more important to get vaccinated," he said in a statement Friday.
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