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Dangerous sub-zero temperatures to return to Lubbock area for first time in 30 years

Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 4:14 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - One of the coldest air masses to reach the South Plains in 30 years is set to strike the area over the weekend and keep our temperatures from warming into next week.

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“We haven’t seen temperatures below zero here in Lubbock area since 1989,” Jody James, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist, said. “So we could see temperatures below zero and, more importantly, perhaps wind chills maybe in the range of 15 to 25 below zero. That is a whole other animal than what we’re used to dealing with here.”

Those wind chills, according to James, could be deadly if people are caught outside for even just 30 minutes.

All of us have to be very, very careful in this, especially in this southern latitude,” James said. “We’re not used to this, unless you’ve lived in North Dakota for quite a few years and are used to all these safety precautions. This is unusual and only occurs every few years and in some cases, this could be a 20 or 30-year event in terms of temperature.”

James tells KCBD this frigid air has built up in the “great white north” and has just the right atmospheric conditions to plunge south toward the United States.

“We’ve been seeing a snow cover build up over Canada and in the northern Central Plains for really for a few weeks now,” James said. “When you get that kind of air mass that doesn’t get nudged out of the way and is allowed to grow colder and colder, and then you get a favorable jetstream in a series of upper storms that can push that air down our way, it sort of rolls along like molasses. It hugs the ground and moves into our area from literally sometimes thousands of miles away.”

James urges folks to take precautions, especially if traveling any distance in a vehicle. If for any reason you become stranded, you will want to have supplies and remain in your vehicle until help arrives.

“Hopefully by the middle to the end of next week we’ll be warming up,” James said. “Believe me, after the temperatures we’re gonna see this weekend, 30 or 40 degrees will feel balmy, I promise.”

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