Health & Environment

Texas A&M Expert Says Upcoming Weather Will Be A Record-Setter

An extremely dangerous winter storm is poised to strike Texas, and people should take precautions now.
By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications February 12, 2021

view of sbisa dining hall with frozen fountain
The Texas A&M campus in College Station on Monday, Feb. 15.

Jacob Svetz/Texas A&M Marketing & Communications

 

Much of Texas will be facing a winter storm in the next few days that will be one for the record books, according to a Texas A&M University weather expert.

John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and Regents Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, said most Texans will see the coldest weather to hit the state in decades, with parts of Texas recording a foot or more of snow while dozens of record low temperatures will be set.

“Six-inch snow totals may be common across northern, central and eastern parts of the state by Monday morning,” he said. “The snow will be followed by bitterly strong winds and record-setting cold temperatures. It will not be just another cold day.

“Just about every weather station will see its daily minimum temperature record broken on Monday morning, Tuesday morning, or both.”

At some places, the records will not just be broken, but annihilated, he said.

“If the forecast pans out, places like Lubbock, Midland and Wichita Falls will be more than 10 degrees colder than their previous daily record,” he said.

He added that this will be the coldest air mass to sweep across the state since December 1989.

“For more than half the state, from the Panhandle to Houston, the mercury will drop to levels not seen in over 30 years. Texans have seen their share of extreme weather in the past few years, but this will be a new one for many people,” he said.

The combination of snow, ice and bitterly cold temperatures could prove deadly for people stranded by the storm. Nielsen-Gammon urges Texans to take the necessary preparations that can make the difference between life and death.

He said that some experts have argued that extreme cold is another consequence of global warming, but he doesn’t think that’s the case.

“Our analysis of the coldest winter days in Texas also shows a substantial warming trend,” he said. “Maybe that’s why we had to wait 32 years for a cold-air outbreak as severe as the 1989 one.

“And that 1989 outbreak was far from the coldest on record,” Nielsen-Gammon continued.  “At this point, it looks like temperatures will stay at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the all-time records in most parts of the state.”

That’s a tiny bit of good news, and there’s also the fact that Monday is Presidents Day, meaning that some people wouldn’t have to get out for work anyway.

Nielsen-Gammon’s final advice: “Stay safe, and don’t take unnecessary chances. George Washington has enough gray hairs already.”

Media contact: John Nielsen-Gammon, 979-862-2248 or n-g@tamu.edu

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