HOUSTON (KIAH) — A winter storm watch is in effect for places like Austin, San Antonio and Corpus Christi as a powerful cold front could bring a mix of freezing rain, sleet and/or snow that may result in light accumulations.

For Houston, we’ll need to watch for some very light sleet or freezing rain as soon as Thursday afternoon, with the chance continuing until sunrise on Friday. More on that a bit further down. First, let’s focus on our storm potential as the cold front arrives.

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Wednesday: a very warm day is in store with highs in the mid to upper 70s. A few showers and storms will likely start to pop up in the afternoon, but the bulk of the rain is expected between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. along the cold front.

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A few storms may briefly turn severe with potential for hail and/or strong winds. A few tornadoes can’t be ruled out, but those odds are slightly higher farther northeast of Houston in the level 2 out of 5 risk zone highlighted in yellow below.

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Once the storms pass, temps take a big tumble overnight. We’ll start Thursday morning in the 40s, with temps likely holding in the low 40s to near 40 degrees throughout the day.

The next batch of precip moves in during the day Thursday. It will be light, but it could be cold enough for some parts of Southeast Texas to see a light wintry mix as early as the second half of Thursday afternoon.

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As it looks now, widespread icy road conditions look doubtful, but it might not be a bad idea to avoid driving if possible Thursday night, especially on elevated roads.

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We know Thursday night to Friday morning will get cold enough to support a wintry mix, but will the moisture be in place? This model image above from 4 a.m. suggests the majority of the precip will exit south of Houston before sunrise Friday.

From there, it’s dry for a few days, but it’ll be a long stretch of cool weather. The coldest occurs Saturday morning, that’s when I’m calling for a low of 30 in Houston. It wouldn’t hurt to protect exposed pipes and hose spigots.

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