When does Houston typically experience its first Fall freeze?

By Eric Braate - Weather Executive Producer

HOUSTON - As we anticipate our potential first freeze in parts of Houston Wednesday morning, you may think that it's a little early in the season for such cold temperatures.  If you do, you'll want to think again.

Houston's earliest freeze on record happened on October 20, 1989, at Intercontinental Airport.  That being the case, an October freeze would be considered very unusual.  However, by the time November rolls around freezing temperatures become progressively more common.

While November freezes may not be unusual, hard freezes in November certainly are.  In a hard freeze, temperatures tumble into the teens or low 20s up to 12 hours or more.  Pipes and many types of vegetation are at risk when this happens.  

November freezes in Houston are almost always soft freezes.  In a soft freeze, temperatures fall no more than a few degrees below freezing for a short period, usually less than six hours or so.  In most cases a soft freeze might be harmful only to the most delicate plants in your flower garden.  A simple thin sheath of plastic draped over your at-risk plants should keep them safe.

The coldest November temperatures on record are 19 degrees at Intercontinental airport, 24 degrees at Hobby airport, and 26 degrees in Galveston.  These are far from the single digit temperatures we've recorded in Houston during the heart of winter, in January and February.

Our anticipated freeze Wednesday morning will certainly not break any records.  In fact, many places around Metro Houston might not even reach 32 degrees!  Areas most at risk for a freeze are north and west of Metro Houston.  Temperatures there could fall to between 28 and 32 degrees for two to six hours before sunrise.
 

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