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Polar Vortex: Austin brrraces for days of record-setting cold, with lows near zero
(Pexels)

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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Saturday

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.

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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:

Arctic Austin: How to protect yourself and your home in freezing weather

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