Rain, winter weather moving out of Houston area

By Eric Braate - Weather Executive Producer, Jill Courtney

HOUSTON - Winter continues its firm grip on southeast Texas Tuesday afternoon.  All winter weather advisories have expired, but lingering light rain along the coast and temperatures only slightly above freezing in the Houston area will make for a messy, wintry finish to the day.

Temperatures overnight will hover slightly above freezing in the Houston area.  North of the city, low temperatures will once again dip below freezing.  In Conroe, Huntsville, Cleveland, and Livingston temperatures will drop to between 28 and 32 degrees.  With no rain anticipated overnight, roadways should be in much better shape for the Wednesday morning commute.

Wednesday will be cloudy and chilly throughout southeast Texas, although not as cold as Tuesday.  High temperatures will rise to the mid 50s with a light northeast wind.

The sun will return by Thursday, but temperatures will remain below normal, with highs only reaching the 50s to mid-60s through Friday.  Houston's average high temperature for the first week of March is 70 degrees, which we should finally reach by Saturday.

Saturday is also our next chance for rain, at 20 percent.  Rain chances go up to 50 percent by Sunday, but no freezing rain or sleet is expected.  Temperatures will remain well above freezing through the weekend and into next week.

CenterPoint Energy is reporting more than 7,100 customers are without power as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

METRO says all HOV/HOT lanes will open for the Tuesday morning commute except 59 North HOV. Park & Ride bus service will be running but expect delays as buses will avoid overpasses and bridges. Local buses will run with possible delays depending on area of town and weather conditions.  Buses will avoid overpasses and bridges and some detours may occur. METRORail will be running at least every 12 minutes from Fannin South to Northline TC/HCC station. METROLift will be running, but we ask patrons to limit request to essential trips and expect delays.

Houston activated the Office of Emergency Management at 1 a.m. Tuesday to monitor the weather.

With the sleet and light rain expected to push through our area, emergency operations officials are particularly concerned about the roads. Northern areas are expected to bare the brunt of this winter storm, which is why state, county and city leaders have already done some prep work.

Crews from the City's Public Works & Engineering Department have been pre-treating bridges and overpasses since Monday.  They are monitoring weather conditions, and are prepared to begin the process of spreading "chat rock" over areas where ice is reported. 

Houston residents who see ice on City roadways should contact Houston 311 to report it.

Nearly 100 bridges across our area have already been treated.

Harris and Montgomery County OEM will keep skeleton crew on to monitor conditions throughout the night.

Animals at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will be kept inside. None of the events have been canceled.

Extra election clerks are on standby for Tuesday's primary election.

School officials are still waiting to see whether classes will be delayed or canceled.

HISD tweeted at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, "Yes, school is OPEN today. It is cold and wet, but officials are reporting no icy road conditions on our roadways."

For a list of school closings and delays, click here.

Cold 'Marches' into Southeast Texas

More snow and ice across the country meant a domino effect of airport nightmares here in Houston.

A late season Arctic front pushing through the country, delivering a wintry mix of weather affecting air travel. Flights between Dallas to Houston were cancelled.

For those who live here, the storm system brought us a sub-freezing morning with wind chills in the teens.

"Texas weather changes every second," said Beth Moore, a worker setting up at the Houston Rodeo.

A strong cold front Sunday afternoon dropped our temperatures fast into the night.

"It changed so quickly. I mean yesterday, the day before yesterday, we had short sleeves and short pants," laughed Paula, a tourist visiting from Italy.

Monday morning bottomed out at 28 degrees in Houston, just 7 degrees shy of our record low of 21 degrees.

Historically, March isn't immune to freezing weather. Record lows are mainly in the 20s for the first half of the month. Freezing temperatures can even last into April.

"The latest we have seen freezing temperatures along the Gulf Coast here is usually around early April, and it is very rare to get that. It's fairly more typical late February, early March," said Bill Read, with the Local 2 Severe Weather Team.

A record low of 31 degrees was set on April 10, 1973.

While some aren't ready for winter weather to be over, others can't wait to celebrate summer.

"I am not ready. I am not ready for it to end," said Tyrone, a Reliant Arena worker.

"I am ready for winter to end. Looking forward to summer. Shorts, bikini... ready," said Lisa Mellen, as she was prepping her cattle for the rodeo.

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