Jason Heitschmidt was all smiles Friday at Waterchase Golf Club.
With temperatures rising into the mid-60s, accompanied by sunny skies, Heitschmidt expects his course in east Fort Worth to be thick with golfers for the first time in a while.
“We’re grinning from ear to ear,” said Heitschmidt, general manager at Waterchase. “… The nice weather is finally here.”
Golfers, gardeners, bicyclists and anyone else who aches for a weekend outdoors will find temperatures quite different from what North Texas has experienced most of this winter season.
There have been 49 days of temperatures at freezing since our first freeze on Nov. 13, which ties for the ninth most overall and the most in 30 years, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
Those numbers aren’t expected to grow anytime soon.
Saturday morning’s low is forecast to be in the mid-to-high 30s, but highs should be steady in the 60s and 70s for the next 10 days, said Dan Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
“We’re looking good,” Shoemaker said, checking a 10-day forecast. “There’s no precipitation and no major cold for the next 10 days.”
Beyond that is hard to predict, but Shoemaker did note that “our last average freeze is in March.”
‘Lot of pent-up demand’
Heitschmidt said the cold snap has definitely kept the golfers away.
“You might get a couple of crazies who’ll play when it’s 34, but folks tend to steer away from us on those cold days,” he said.
He said that since Jan. 1, Waterchase has recorded 15 days with 10 or fewer golfers on the course, compared to five last year.
“And lots of those days have been zeroes,” Heitschmidt said. “That’s more zeroes on the board in a long time.”
He said he expected more than 100 golfers to play on Friday and that the weekend will be busy as well.
“There’s a lot of pent-up demand that we’ll see,” he said.
‘There will be trimming’
Gardeners will also appreciate the change in conditions and begin working in their yards and flower beds.
“This is the traditional time to trim back roses,” said Laura Miller,a Texas AgriLife commercial horticulture extension agent for Tarrant County.
Miller said people typically remember to trim the rose bushes because it coincides with Valentine’s Day.
She said it’s still too early to tell which plants and flowers will emerge as survivors from the cold and severe weather, so be careful when clearing out dead plants.
“We’ve had a lot of cold damage — there will be trimming,” she said, adding that fruit trees will need to be pruned at the end of the month.
Miller said Bermuda grass yards were rendered completely dormant by the freezing temperatures, so people can safely treat weeds with a glyphosate product (herbicide).
“I do hope we don’t have any more horrible cold weather,” Miller said.
Mountain Cedar in the air
While the warm weather is a blessing for most, southerly winds could once again stir up Mountain Cedar pollen in North Texas.
Mountain Cedar trees, also known as Ashe juniper, explode with pollen from December through mid-March, making life miserable for allergy sufferers.
The North Texas cedar pollen counts tend to soar when the wind is blowing from the south or southwest, bringing pollen in from the Hill Country.
“It is hopefully not going to be as heavy as it was a couple weeks ago, but this wind is going to stir it up,” said Dr. Normand Tremblay of Fort Worth Allergy and Asthma Associates.
The deep freeze
Most number of seasonal freezing days in North Texas through Feb. 13.
62 - 1977-78
61 - 1963-64
59 - 1959-60
58 - 1964-65
56 - 1898-99
53 - 1911-12
51 - 1983-84, 1976-77
49 - 2013-14*, 1978-79
* Through Feb. 13
Source: National Weather Service