AUSTIN (KXAN) — Though this winter storm will likely bring Central Texans significant icing issues, major travel disruptions and isolated power outages, this storm will not be a repeat of our February 2021 winter storm. The duration and intensity of the freezing cold weather are the key differences. Here’s how these two storms compare:
A record storm by multiple accounts, the February 2021 winter storm is likely to stay unmatched for some time. A dip in the jet stream allowed a chunk of the polar vortex to sink south, keeping northerly winds in place for over a week and temperatures below freezing for 6 straight days. Five storm systems impacted the area bringing over a half a foot of snow, ice and frigid cold to Central Texas. During this period we also experienced the coldest morning since December 1989 with a -1 degree temperature reading in the metro area.
For a look back at KXAN’s coverage of the historic storm, click here. Find the full storm report from the National Weather Service here.
Widespread bursting pipes not expected this time around
This storm will not bring the record breaking Arctic cold that we saw with the last storm. While much of our area will be below freezing for a few days, many still will not fall below the upper 20s or even the low 30s. Because of this, this cold air will not be nearly intense enough to cause widespread bursting pipes like we saw back with the February 2021 storm. While we are not encouraging you to drip faucets and cover pipes here in Austin many areas out in the Hill Country may want to consider doing so (especially exposed pipes). The Hill Country will experience a more intense freeze that lasts for a much longer period of time.
If you’d like to read more about past weather events in Central Texas, find more in our KXAN Weather Diary.