Exceptional cold spell underway with bitter wind chills below zero

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - NewsChannel 11 Meteorologist Cary Allen and the Lubbock National Weather Service have been going through Lubbock weather records to see when last it was this cold. With this cold spell so far the low at the Lubbock International Airport (LIA) has been 7 degrees. As cold as it is, we actually hit 5 degrees last winter, on December 25, 2009, following a pre-Christmas snow. Prior to that, LIA had not recorded a single digit temperature since the 4 degree low on December 8, 2005. And before that, 3 degrees on December 24, 2004.

Temperatures occasionally do drop to single digits in Lubbock. A sub-zero temperature is possible in Lubbock this week.

The last time Lubbock dropped below zero was in 1989. It was one below zero on December 23, 1989 and it hit minus 2 degrees on December 22, 1989. That was two decades -- 21 years -- ago.

The National Weather Service asks you to take cold-weather precautions seriously the next few days as temperatures will remain below freezing until Friday afternoon.

Bitter cold continues through Thursday morning with some light snow today and this evening. Little if any accumulations are expected this afternoon or evening, but winds will continue to produce blowing snow which may occasionally reduce visibilities to less than a mile in some locations. Wind chills will be dangerous. North winds will continue to average 20 to 25 mph with higher gusts through the afternoon, with wind chill values from -5 to -15 degrees. Highs remain in the teens and single digits.

Tonight lows drop below zero west and north of Lubbock, with low single digits in the Lubbock area. Plus, more snow is likely overnight and Tuesday morning, with another 1 to 2 inches of accumulation. Wind chills will be back in the -10 to -20 degree range overnight.

Wednesday snow showers likely in the morning, with a chance of light snow and flurries in the afternoon. Very cold with a high in the mid teens and wind chills of 5 below to 15 below zero.

Thursday a few early morning flurries are possible, with Lubbock's coldest low in years -- near zero, possibly below zero. Partly cloudy in the afternoon with a high in the mid 20s.

Friday mostly sunny with a low near 9 degrees and a high in the low to mid 40s.

Check for school delays and closings on kcbd.com and on KCBD NewsChannel 11.

Bundle up!! Stay warm, and stay dry.

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