Abilene forwent a white Christmas in favor of temperatures better suited to Spring, but this weekend it appears that our luck has run out.
Starting Friday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), a cold front will bring temperatures in the teens and single digits with a projected low of zero degrees Fahrenheit Saturday evening.
This cold will ring in the New Year with Dickinson County and the rest of the region, lingering through Sunday.
According to the NWS, the wind chill Saturday night could reach -15 degrees.
During this time, there is also a possibility of snow.
According to Dickinson County Emergency Management Director Chancy Smith, people who plan to travel for the New Year’s holiday should plan ahead and communicate with any friends or family they plan to visit.
He does not discourage people from traveling.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that bad,” Smith said. “They just need to think ahead a little bit if they are going to travel.”
Because the temperatures are going to be extremely cold, people don’t want to be caught outside if their vehicles break down while they’re traveling.
“Make sure people know when you’re traveling, when you’re going to arrive somewhere so they can expect you,” Smith said. “Make sure your phones are charged and then have a go-bag in your vehicle with some blankets and some stuff like that — some snacks and high-energy stuff that can keep you sustained for a little while if you have to wait alongside the road for assistance and stuff. But just making that pre-determined contact — that someone’s expecting you to be there. Don’t just leave and surprise somebody because that’s really critical to not be left out there. Because it is going to be in the single digits this weekend.”
He said the roads are not expected to be bad.
As a general bit of advice, Smith suggests that if people have to ask how bad the roads are, they should just avoid traveling altogether if possible.
But he said that may not be an issue this weekend.
“I hope it’s just cold,” Smith said. “We know cold. We can stay in.”
The major problem this weekend will be bitter cold temperatures that could cause frostbite.
When a vehicle breaks down and the heater consequently stops functioning, the warmth leaves a vehicle very quickly. In the sort of weather expected to hit the region Friday this is dangerous, according to Smith.
For his own part, Smith plans to talk with local fire chiefs and prepare a game plan in preparation for this weekend’s cold.
“If it is that cold and someone breaks down on the side of the road, we’ll get with the deputies to make sure that people are checked on,” he said. “They’ll do a drive up and down the interstate every hour to make sure there’s no one just sitting out there. Nowadays, most everybody has a cellphone, but some people don’t pay attention to it and it’s dead or something. You sure don’t want someone sitting out there for very long without their vehicle running.”
This is Dickinson County’s first taste of winter weather this year.
Not only has it not snowed yet, temperatures have been unusually high throughout the month.
“It hasn’t been freezing yet,” Smith said. “It’s dipped down — we had some frosts and stuff. But here we’re through December and we haven’t had any snow on the ground. It hasn’t been freezing — it hasn’t been 30 degrees for a consecutive day. So yeah, very untypical.”