Although Houston is known for its heat and humidity, the city can periodically experience winter weather and below-freezing (under 32° fahrenheit) temperatures. Icy conditions and wind chills are just a few of the concerns that can occur during winter months.
Freeze Warning vs. Watch
Freeze Warning: Take Action! The NWS will issue a freeze warning if there are significant, widespread freezing temperatures expected. This temperature will kill some types of commercial crops and residential plants.
Freeze Watch: Be Prepared: NWS issues a freeze watch when there is a potential for significant, widespread freezing temperatures within the next 24-36 hours.
Frost Advisory: Be Aware: A frost advisory means areas of frost are expected or occurring, posing a threat to sensitive vegetation.
Check out the NOAA graphic below to learn the difference between a winter storm watch, advisory, and warning.
Preparing for Winter Weather
- If going outside, wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing and water repellent outer garments.
- Wear mittens (which are warmer than gloves), a hat and scarf to reduce heat loss.
- Prepare vehicles by having a mechanic check the antifreeze level, brakes, heater, defroster, tires and windshield wipers to ensure everything is in good shape.
- Remember that ice forms first on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas. Avoid driving on icy roads, if possible. Those who must be on the road should drive slowly, increase distance needed for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
- Bring pets inside.
- Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency per person and pets. Make sure to have extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats in case the power goes out.