The southwestern Texas Panhandle and northwest South Plains experienced a hard freeze Saturday morning.
A strong cold front and associated polar airmass brought gusty north winds and winter-like cold. As skies cleared and winds diminished Friday evening, temperatures plummeted overnight.
Most communities in this region were below freezing for several hours prior to sunrise. The West Texas Mesonet site near Muleshoe fell to a frigid 21 degrees at 6 a.m. The cold temperatures likely caused significant damage to unprotected vegetation.
Further south, areas along the escarpment and I-27 corridor recorded their first freezes so far this season. Thermometers in western Hale county and northern Hockley county also bottomed out between 27 and 30 degrees. Across Lubbock county, the Preston Smith International airport recorded its first freeze of fall prior to sunrise. The Texas Tech campus also fell to 31 degrees. Reese Center was slightly colder, with a morning low temperature of 30 degrees.
Generally, areas across the southern South Plains and adjacent Rolling Plains escaped an official freeze. However, readings were in the lower 30's for an extended period of time, and patchy frost was reported.
Another cold front could bring a freeze to the Northern South Plains and frost further south by Tuesday morning. Stay tuned to the latest forecasts.
A reminder - if your plants suffered damage after this morning's freeze, trim the dead vegetation, water the root system well, and cover the base of the plant with mulch. This should help minimize the overall damage to the vegetation.
Because the airport recorded on-site freezing temperatures this morning, KCBD's First Freeze Contest has ended. The winner will be contacted next week.