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Schools, roads should be fine despite threat of Houston freeze

November 13, 2018

Get ready to chill, Houston.

An extra layer of warm attire will make the week a cozier one as much of the Gulf Coast flirts with the sub-freezing temperatures, but commuters and students will not feel the impact of a winter blast.

The roads should remain free of ice and schools will remain open despite the looming cold front that National Weather Service meteorologists say could drag temperatures below 30 degrees in the Houston region, with an even colder wind chill in the 20s, by Wednesday morning.

The lone closure reported by a major school district was Houston ISD postponing its Special Olympics Field Days planned Tuesday through Thursday at Butler Stadium due to the “inclement weather.” The district was already planning to hand out about 300 brand-new winter coats to kids Tuesday morning at N.Q. Henderson Elementary.

Forecasters ordered up a freeze warning stretching from central Texas to the College Station area Monday evening, noting that it would continue through Tuesday morning. The cold front was predicted to reach Houston by Wednesday morning. Coastal regions from Texas to Florida were also bracing for bitter cold temperatures.

Josh Lichter, a meteorologist for the NWS in Houston, said the slap of cold weather could produce a slight chance of sleet, snow flurries or icy roads Monday night, but after that — not so much.

“Temperatures are not expected to get low enough for that to happen. It can’t totally be ruled out that somebody finds a drop (of sleet) on their car,” Lichter said.

Any lingering water on roadways would have evaporated ahead of the freezing temps, according to meteorologists.

Sunny skies and warmer temperatures in the 60s will return by the weekend, according to meteorologists.

Ahead of the cold front, Star of Hope spokesman Scott Arthur said the organization issued a “cold weather alert” requiring its homeless shelters to remain open 24 hours through at least Thursday. There would be no restrictions on intake times and overflow areas would accommodate men at the downtown location.

On Sunday, nearly 100 men slept on the shelter’s floor in overflow spaces as lows outside reached 55 degrees. Hundreds of men already had beds at the shelter, Arthur said.

The shelter’s Love in Action van plans to visit gathering sites for Houston’s homeless Tuesday afternoon to hand out coats and blankets.

The Salvation Army of Greater Houston on Monday night announced its inclement weather protocols for the Harbor Light Center and Red Shield Lodge. The protocol means that whenever the temperature drops below 46 degrees, anyone who seeks refuge at the lodge will not be turned away.

For plant and pet owners, Texas AgriLife officials warned homeowners to water their outdoor plans before the freezing temperatures settle in, while Houston SPCA urged residents to bring their animals inside.

Meanwhile, several thousand miles to the east, forecasters said a new weather threat is brewing in the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center said a tropical wave located about 200 miles east of the Caribbean had an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm this week. The system was expected to pass north of Puerto Rico, Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

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