Coldest air since January coming to Austin-area

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Editor's note: A previous version of this article mislabeled prolonged exposure to cold temperatures at "hyperthermia," not "hypothermia." The article has been corrected throughout.

AUSTIN -- Temperatures will fall below 32 degrees over the area Thursday night. By sunrise Friday, expect temperatures in the 20s in many locations.

Moisture will move south of the area overnight, allowing for snow chances in South Texas to increase, but decrease for Central Texas.

KVUE viewers were reporting flurries throughout the afternoon Thursday:

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Because the last two days have been wet, any standing water on roadways could freeze overnight.

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"Any locations that have lingering wet spots on roadways. Particularly on area bridges, overpasses, and secondary roadways. Several locations tonight may experience a hard freeze tonight, primarily on the Plateau, Hill Country and along the I-35 corridor to New Braunfels," said the National Weather Service

The coldest temperatures tonight are expected in the Hill Country, where temperatures could dip to the low to mid 20s. This is what the National Weather Service is calling a hard freeze.

"A hard freeze will have a significant impact on sensitive plants and pets. Elderly persons or young children could suffer hypothermia if exposed to long duration of extremely cold temperatures ...," said the National Weather Service.

The City of Austin has activated is "Cold Weather Shelter Plan." Single adults who need shelter are asked to meet at the ARCH at 5:15 p.m. Thursday for the shelter lottery process. And families who need shelter can go to the Salvation Army on East 8th Street. They're asking people to arrive by 7 p.m.

Austin Water asks that people do the following things before freezing weather:

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6" metal lid.

During sub-freezing weather, people should do the following:

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

High temperatures will rebound into the low 50s for Friday afternoon.