© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
San Antonio

Winter weather advisory dropped for South Central Texas, with warmer temperatures to come as skies clear

Frozen leaves.jpg
Will Leverett
/
Frozen leaves on a Hill Country live oak tree last winter

You can read this story in Spanish by clicking here.

This post has been updated.

Latest weather updates


Updated Jan. 21 at 7:30 a.m.

Skies will clear today in the San Antonio area, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will warm into the upper 40s and lower 50s across South Central Texas.

The warming trend will continue into this weekend and by next Tuesday daytime highs will be in the 60s. There is a decent chance of rain late Sunday night and into Monday.

The NWS dropped its winter weather advisory early Friday morning as dry air helped evaporate much of the precipitation. Temperatures dropped to near or below freezing in the early morning but are expected to warm as the day continues.

Most local schools are set to reopen Friday after closing the previous day due to the weather.

While some freezing rain and sleet was reported in the San Antonio area on Thursday, no major accumulation was reported.

Some snow flurries were reported in the Hill Country, but again without snow accumulation

Updated Jan. 21 at 12:00 a.m.

A winter storm warning is in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday until noon on Friday for several counties south of San Antonio, along the border and towards the Coastal Bend. In those areas, ice up to a tenth of an inch may accumulate. Snow up to an inch is possible in some spots.

Some of the cities included are Alice, Beeville, Corpus Christi, Cotulla, George West, Kingsville, Laredo, Mathis, Refugio, Rockport, San Diego, and Three Rivers.

Though there have been no reports of snow or hail, a light rain and sleet mix has been reported in downtown San Antonio.

As of early Friday morning, CPS Energy reported no power generation issues. A handful of CPS Energy customers did experience some outages Thursday evening but no reason was given. The San Antonio water system reported no issues early Friday morning.

Due to continued low temperatures, San Antonio and Bexar County have extended the hours of their respective warming centers. The centers will be open through noon Friday but could remain open longer if conditions worsen. For more information and locations, scroll to the bottom of this post.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said COVID-19 testing at the Alamodome, Community Labs and Curative locations will open at 10:00 am Friday, about two hours later than scheduled due to weather conditions.

Updated Jan. 20 at 3:35 p.m.

The National Weather Service has received a report rain was sticking to vehicles, signs and guardrails in the Boerne area this afternoon, but not on roadways.

Some sleet was reported around Spring Branch, Canyon Lake and Smithson Valley, but again no major accumulations. Freezing rain was accumulating on some surfaces at Leaky, but not on the ground.

Some snow flurries were spotted near Enchanted Rock outside of Fredericksburg.

Motorists should exercise caution at bridges and overpasses.

It just takes one-hundredth of one inch of frozen precipitation to make an elevated roadway dangerous, according to NWS. The bigger threat today will be air temperatures in the 30s and wind chills in the 20s which could lead to frost bite for outdoor workers.


Preparation

Officials with the city, county, utilities and TxDOT held a joint news conference Thursday to address preparations for the winter storm, including warming centers, roadway treatment and water and electricity supply concerns.

"We did learn from our friends last year, and I think one of the key areas for all of us was communication, communication to the public communication internally within our organizations. But also it has given us the opportunity to to really put in practice all the conversations that we've had, the meetings that we had and the changes that we have made internally," said Deputy City Manager María Villagómez.

Both SAWS and CPS say they are prepared for the weather in the next few days and were not concerned about outages. A spokesperson from VIA said city buses may experience some delays if roadway icing becomes an issue. VIA will transport anyone for free to one of city’s warming centers.

Police chief William McManus said the city is ready to implement the ice plan if the road conditions deteriorate.

Texas Department of Transportation crews have treated a long stretch of I-10 from Northwest San Antonio through the western side of the Hill Country.

Anyone spending a lot of time outdoors through Friday morning should dress in layers and wear insulating hats, gloves, and boots to protect themselves from frost bite.

Bring in pets and wrap or cover exposed faucets due to the hard freeze coming.

David Rodriguez of the Texas Agrilife Extension Service said container plants that cannot be moved indoors should be watered and covered with an old blanket or insulator from a hardware store.

Rodriguez said even with those steps, its possible your plants could be damaged, but that's still better than dead altogether.

"We have to have the mind set that we're trying to go through survivability. Yes, maybe the plant will lose some leaves or have some die back," Rodriguez said.

Watering container plants before a freeze seems counterintuitive, but it helps insulate their roots.

Paul Yura of the National Weather Service said the actual temperature will not be below freezing for hours on end like it was during last February's winter blitz, but the wind chill will get that low due to wind gusts up to 30 mph.

Wind chills will make it feel like its in the teens in San Antonio on Thursday morning. Yura recommended digging out your knit caps and gloves; the wind chill will easily cut through one layer of clothing.

"Dress in layers, you know, the extremities, the feet and the head are very, very important and the hands are very important to cover up because that is where a lot of the heat loss will be is in the extremities," he said.

Forecasters said the threat of a wintry mix for San Antonio had diminished as of Wednesday, but area bridges and overpasses remain a concern due to possible icing from any precipitation that does fall.

Conditions will be more brutal in the Hill Country where the wind chill could dip even lower. Fredericksburg and Kerrville are not expected to see daytime highs rise much above freezing on Thursday.


Warming centers


Warming centers in San Antonio and Bexar County have extended their hours through noon Friday.

City of San Antonio

The City of San Antonio and Bexar County will open warming centers during the freeze for persons who need a place to stay.

The city’s four sites will be at city-owned community centers and will open starting at noon on Thursday and will remain open overnight. These are the locations:

  • Garza Community Center - 1450 Mira Vista
  • Hamilton Community Center - 10700 Nacogdoches
  • Denver Heights Community Center - 300 Porter
  • Harlandale Community Center - 7227 Briar Place

Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez says residents who need transportation to a site can call 311. “We have worked with VIA to coordinate transportation directly to the sites and also if necessary to issue taxi vouchers,” she said.

Pets are also welcome at city operated warming centers. Animal Care Services will be providing kenneling and support for pets.

Bexar County

Bexar County has partnered with several emergency services districts and the cities of China Grove and Leon Valley to provide warming centers. The shelter will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • ESD 2 – 2096 Talley Rd, San Antonio, TX 78251
  • ESD 3 – 23103 Bulverde Rd, San Antonio, TX 78260
  • ESD 8 – 20825 Babcock Rd, San Antonio, TX 78255
  • China Grove – 2456 FM1516 S, China Grove, TX 78263
  • Leon Valley Convention Center – 6427 Evers Rd, San Antonio, TX 78238
  • Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office – 9810 Southton Road, San Antonio, TX 78223

Locations for unsheltered individuals

The City of San Antonio’s Human Services Department is working with several nonprofit partners to contact unsheltered homeless individuals. Those nonprofits have opened temporary shelters at the following locations and will be open overnight:

  • Haven for Hope
  • Church Under the Bridge
  • Corazon Ministries
  • Life Restore Church
  • City Church San Antonio

Kathleen Creedon and Dan Katz contributed to this report.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.