With 40s Thursday, 50s Friday and 60s on Saturday, a warming trend came through Austin the last few days of 2017. But right before the new year-- a strong Arctic cold front moves in, making for a cold start to 2018.
Expect the rest of Thursday to be cloudy and chilly with highs in the mid to upper 40s.
Some sunshine is expected for Friday and it will warm highs into the mid-50s.
Peeks of sun and a southerly wind will get high temperatures into the low 60s for Saturday.
A strong cold front arrives Sunday morning, with falling temperatures and patchy light rain.
Temperatures will fall into the 30s for Sunday evening, allowing for a chance of freezing rain, especially for areas north and west of Austin. That's where temperatures will be below freezing.
Most of the moisture will move south as we ring in the new year at midnight, but with temperatures in the 20s, any leftover precipitation could be freezing rain producing icy spots through Monday morning. We'll especially be watching the bridges and overpasses.
The reason we are forecasting freezing rain, and not snow or sleet, is because of a warm layer of air above the surface.
Precipitation will fall as a liquid as it leaves the clouds because temperatures will be above freezing. As the rain reaches the surface, where temperatures will be below freezing, the water freezes. This is why it's called freezing rain.
To have snow, your entire profile of the atmosphere must be at or below freezing. No snow for us, due to warmer winds from the west above the surface, pushing in some warmer air aloft.
For the first afternoon of the new year, expect cold and partly cloudy conditions. A breezy north wind will produce wind chills in the teens at times.
Along with Monday morning, prepare for hard freezes on Tuesday and Wednesday morning as well.
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