Sunday, October 1, 2023

Winter Storm Watch issued for Wednesday night through Thursday

Images courtesy of the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service on Monday afternoon issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of North Texas, including Denton County, for the latter half of this work week.

A strong winter storm system will bring an arctic cold front through the state on Wednesday, and the weather service has forecast high chances of some combination of freezing rain, sleet and/or snow from Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon.

“Rain and cold air is expected to blow in around midday Wednesday,” Meteorologist Brad Barton said Monday afternoon. “Temperatures will dip below freezing around 10 or 11 p.m., and the precipitation will change over to freezing rain overnight. As cold air becomes thicker over the top of us, it’ll change over to sleet and eventually snow.”

The timing and severity of the storm could change over the next two days. Residents should check the forecast for updates.

As of Monday afternoon, the weather service forecast calls for ice accumulating around 0.1 to 0.25 inches in Denton County and less than an inch of snow. Temperatures are not expected to climb above the freezing point until Friday afternoon, and the combination of precipitation and freezing temperatures are expected to cause challenging or dangerous travel conditions through early Friday. The Texas Department of Transportation has already begun pre-treating major thoroughfares in North Texas, and Barton recommended drivers to avoid freeways entirely during the freeze.

While this storm is not expected to be as cold or severe as Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, residents should still take precautions before and during the storm. Residents are urged to avoid driving if possible, and if they have to drive, to prepare their vehicle with a full tank of gas, an extra charger, ice scrapes and blankets. Homeowners can prepare by wrapping outdoor plumbing, filling a bathtub with potable water, dripping their faucets during the freeze and following these safety tips from the town of Flower Mound:

  • If you’re going outside, don’t stay out longer than necessary. Be able to recognize the signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have your chimney inspected for any blockages before you use it to heat your home.
  • Gather at least 72-hours of supplies like food and medications.
  • Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  • Never use items like propane heaters or gas and charcoal grills to heat your house.
  • If you’re using a space heater, make sure it is three feet away from any flammable items, never left unattended, and not left on overnight.
  • Remember to turn off your lawn sprinkler system. It is illegal to run your sprinklers when the temperature is at or below freezing.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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