As Trimble Tech High School prepared for its first playoff football game in 25 years, coach Dwayne Henry said his Bulldogs would not be bothered by the chilling temperatures.
“The weather is not a factor,” Henry said before Thursday night’s bi-district game against top-ranked Aledo at Chisholm Trail High School in Fort Worth. “This is a good day for us. We will just keep moving.”
Trimble Tech’s band was not deterred, either.
“It’s a unique night,” said Earnest Colvin, the band director. “… Rather than taking the night off, we insisted we had to be there.”
Temperatures were in the 30s during the game and were expected to drop to the low 20s overnight, which would mark the third consecutive day of freezing temperatures in Dallas-Fort Worth.
And coming Sunday is a slight chance of snow — with the official start of winter still a month away.
The cold snap arrived Monday, courtesy of El Niño, a weather pattern that allowed cold air from Canada and the Arctic to move south.
“That layer of cold air has remained in place,” said Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “It hasn’t gone away.”
While conditions may improve a bit Saturday, Arctic Blast No. 2 will come Sunday.
“That will be a reinforcement of cold air,” Fano said.
That front could produce a mix of light rain and snow Sunday, Fano said.
“If we see that, it will be very light,” said Fano, who does not expect roads to be affected by the possible precipitation.
While the frigid temperatures are unusual for mid-November, they are not unheard-of.
Last year’s first freeze was on Nov. 13, when it was 29 degrees at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, and light snow dusted the region Nov. 22.
“People think, ‘Oh, it is so early,’ ” Fano said. “This is not unprecedented.”
Pipes at risk
The cold front has caused a spike in work for heating-system companies.
On Wednesday, Houk Air Conditioning in Arlington received 120 calls from folks who needed to fix or start their heating systems, said Richard Springer, a service manager with the company.
“Our volume jumps tremendously,” Springer said. “This cold front really hit quick — sooner than normal.”
Springer said customers tend to worry when heaters don’t work.
“The elderly panic,” Springer said. “We put them on a priority list.”
Plumbers are bracing for a barrage of calls about burst pipes.
Klee Berry, a plumber with Sanders Plumbing in Fort Worth, said the freezing conditions almost always lead to more calls when it warms up. “It’s when the pipes thaw out that you find the leak,” Berry said.
Homeowners can try to prevent damage by letting indoor faucets drip and leaving cabinet doors open near sinks so the pipes can get heat, Berry said.
Bryon Nelson, owner of Fisher & Boone Plumbing and Heating in Fort Worth, said people should have carbon monoxide detectors as they turn their heaters on for the first time.
He said it’s a bad idea to use unconventional methods to stay warm.
“A lot of people like to turn on their ovens and leave the door open,” Nelson said. “That’s a no-no.”
A house fire Wednesday night in southwest Fort Worth may have been started by a heater, fire officials said.
A resident and her dog escaped the home in the 6600 block of Firestone Road. The blaze, reported about 10 p.m., was fueled by heavy winds, spread quickly and destroyed the home, officials said.
Take care of gardens
Potted plants and flowers should be covered or brought inside.
Steve Chaney, home horticulturist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Tarrant County, said container gardens, often filled with herbs and vegetables, also must be protected.
“Those all need to be brought inside, either into the garage or a shed,” Chaney said.
Before you bring any potted plants inside, he said, you should pour in water until it runs out the bottom to flush out insect eggs. He said that many insects have already laid their eggs and that bringing plants into a humid environment can unleash bugs in your house.
“Then the eggs think, ‘Hey, springtime!’ And they all hatch,” Chaney said.
Outside, fall gardens filled with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage will likely survive, Chaney said.
He said people need to ensure their fall gardens have moisture in the ground. Covering the root area with leaves, mulch or frost cloth also protects the plants.
Morning low temperatures
The cold facts
• From November 2013 through Thursday, North Texas has had 57 days below freezing.
• The earliest recorded freeze in North Texas was on Oct. 22, 1898. The average first freeze is on Nov. 22.
• Meteorological winter (based on temperature cycles) is December through February, and astronomical winter (based on Earth’s position relative to the sun) is Dec. 21 through March 19.
Source: National Weather Service