Freeze descending on DFW area Wednesday morning

North Texas residents were expected to be greeted Wednesday morning with the earliest freeze in 17 years.

Temperatures across the region are expected to drop below freezing for about seven hours, and some areas northwest of Tarrant County could see a hard freeze.

“This is one of those times the temperatures are going to be fairly uniform across the area with the winds staying up,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Dunn. “If you get up to Bowie, Graham and Jacksboro, it will be cold enough to see a hard freeze.”

The last time there was an earlier freeze at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was on Nov. 11, 1997, when it dropped to 31. Last year, the first freeze came on Nov. 13 when it dropped to 29. The average first freeze is Nov. 22.

The freeze will probably take out most of your summertime plants.

“If it gets down to 30 degrees, it will probably be enough to kill off your annuals,” said Jim Lawson, a general manager with The Plant Shed. “I wouldn’t try to save them. Even if you cover them, they probably won’t take the cold.”

Lawson said trees and shrubs should be fine.

The cold front arrived overnight Tuesday, dropping temperatures from Monday’s high of 79 degrees to 40 degrees at 10 a .m. Tuesday.

And while it was much colder in other parts of the United States — in Billings, Mont., in was 4 degrees on Tuesday morning — with wind gusts as high as 30 mph, wind chills in North Texas dipped into the upper 20s.

Expect more of the same Wednesday, when the low is forecasted to be 27.

“It’s going to feel cold,” Dunn said. “The wind is going to be around for a while. We really don’t see the winds going away until Thursday or Friday.”

This blast of cold air, which was sent southward by a post-tropical cyclone racing northward toward Alaska, isn’t leaving anytime soon. Temperatures are expected to remain below normal into next week.

There’s also a slight chance of rain this weekend but Dunn doesn’t believe it will be cold enough to cause any ice or snow.

“Right now, we’ve got it as a cold rain,” Dunn said. “I think it’s going to be tough to get any winter precipitation. The system that will bring rain will actually be a little warmer. It really doesn’t look like there will be anything anywhere close to North Texas. Maybe in central and northern Oklahoma but the chances are pretty small.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram