Breckenridge Texan

Area preparing for arctic blast to drop temperatures

Area preparing for arctic blast to drop temperatures
December 30
08:28 2017

At 8:30 this morning, Saturday, Dec. 30, the temperature in Breckenridge and Stephens County is ab out 42 degrees, and that could be the warmest it gets all day. In fact, according to the weather forecasts, this could be the warmest it gets for three or four days.

According to the National Weather Service, an arctic front is headed our way and is expected to drop temperatures here to as low as 13 degrees Sunday night. The new year is predicted to dawn at about 18 or 19 degrees.

Additionally, we could get some light rain or drizzle that, with the falling temperatures, might turn into freezing drizzle or snow flurries after midnight and into early Sunday. The precipitation is expected to end mid- to late-Sunday.

If the forecasters are correct, we won’t see the sun or above-freezing temperatures again until Wednesday, Jan. 3, when the high is predicted to be at 43 degrees. Nighttime temperatures are expected to be well below freezing through the end of next week.

Not only will the air temperatures be cold, but with winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour and gusts of up to 20 mph, the wind chill (feels like temperature) could be 9 degrees or lower during the coldest times. According to the NWS, “wind chill” is a measure of how cold people feel due to the combined effect of wind and cold temperatures; the Wind chill Index is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin. Both cold temperatures and wind remove heat from the body; as the wind speed increases during cold conditions, a body loses heat more quickly. Eventually, the internal body temperature also falls and hypothermia can develop. Animals also feel the effects of wind chill; but inanimate objects, such as vehicles and buildings, do not. They will only cool to the actual air temperature, although much faster during windy conditions.

So, what all that means is that to be safe, you’ll probably want to stay inside as much as possible during the upcoming days and nights. Keep your pets indoors to prevent frostbite or other cold-related injuries.

If you can, check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or ill, to make sure that they have some type of safe source of heat during this cold snap.

The National Weather Service has issued a “Hazardous Weather Outlook” and “Special Weather Statement” that includes Breckenridge. According to the NWS, light icing on elevated surfaces, such as bridges,   overpasses and some surface streets may lead to hazardous travel conditions. The warning states that normal travel should remain possible, however drivers should be prepared to practice safe winter driving techniques – especially when crossing bridges and overpasses.

In preparation for the winter weather, crews with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Brownwood District, which includes Breckenridge, are pretreating and monitoring state roadways in the district’s nine counties.

TxDOT asks motorists to be on the lookout throughout the holiday weekend for slower-moving TxDOT vehicles involved in the pretreatment process as a brine solution is applied to roadways.

The brine, a solution of water and salt, has been used extensively in recent years as an effective pretreatment for roadways prior to freezing precipitation. The brine is applied using spray nozzles attached to tanks mounted on the back of TxDOT trucks, forming a milky appearance on the roadway. The brine helps to prevent the bonding of frozen precipitation to the pavement, aiding in the removal of snow and ice.

Although significant snow or ice accumulations are not expected with this weather system, TxDOT crews will be i monitoring and treating affected roadways as needed with deicing materials such as sand or salt.

Travelers who are planning ahead may check roadway conditions at prior to travel New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day.

TxDOT reminds drivers that posted speed limits may not necessarily be safe speeds during inclement weather, even on treated roadways. All motorists are advised to reduce speeds and increase following distances on roads that have been impacted by precipitation. Extra caution is advised on bridges and overpasses, as these structures are usually the first to freeze over.

TxDOT roadway conditions statewide are available at or by calling 1-800-452-9292. The Brownwood District Twitter feed (@TxDOTBWD) will be updated as road conditions change. Other TxDOT Twitter feeds and the TxDOT Facebook page are also valuable resources for travel conditions across the state.

More winter weather travel information is available on the TxDOT website.



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