Temperatures set to take a plunge this weekend

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - After enduring a fairly mild winter up to this point in the winter season, Old Man Winter will be returning to the Texas Forest Country this weekend.

A dip in the Jet Stream will allow Arctic air to break loose and spill southward through much of the eastern half of the United States.  Even though the bulk of the bitterly cold air will miss us to the east, we will still feel the affects from this cold blast over the next few days.

The cold blast will be accompanied by a gusty north wind today.  Expect wind speeds to be blowing in at 15 to 20 mph, with some higher gusts at times.  These brisk northerly winds will add a wind chill factor to the outdoor conditions.  When you combine the winds with temperatures only topping out in the upper 40's, the wind chill (feels like temperature) values will be in the lower 40's, even under mostly sunny skies in the afternoon hours.

As the winds start to relax and the cold air settles in, we will see a good freeze set up across the Piney Woods later on tonight.  Many areas will drop into the middle 20's, with our cooler than normal spots possibly dipping down into the lower 20's for a few hours during the early morning hours on Sunday.

The last time we had overnight lows drop into the middle 20's was back in mid-January, where we had a few nights with lows in the 23-25° range.

With a hard freeze expected on Saturday night, make sure you remember the 3 P's of protection:  pets, pipes, and plants.  After all, it has been quite a while since we have had to think about taking these precautions.

To get a more in-depth look at your forecast, you can head to our StormTracker Weather Center.

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