Thursday, January 14, 2010


The most severe Arctic cold front in several years, perhaps in over a decade, dropped temperatures in Starr County into the low 20’s on Saturday morning and the middle 20’s on Sunday morning.

KRGV-Channel 5 reported that a low temperature of 21 degrees for Rio Grande City was reported on Saturday morning. Channel 5 also indicated that Rio Grande City reported a low temperature of 25 degrees on Sunday morning.

The Arctic blast first blew into Starr County during the mid-morning hours on Thursday, Jan. 7, dropping temperatures from the 60’s into the low 40’s by the late evening hours. After Friday’s low fell into the middle 30’s, high temperatures that day did not climb out of the high 30’s. Gusty northerly winds early Friday morning caused the chill factor to be significantly lower than the actual temperature.

The Rio Grande City Fire Department recorded the following high and low temperatures: Thursday, Jan. 7- high 55, low 34; Friday, Jan. 8- high 55, low 21; Saturday, Jan. 9- high 52, low 21; Sunday, Jan. 10- high 58, low 24.

NRCS District Conservationist Arturo Ibarra told The Rio Grande Herald on Monday afternoon, “The first freeze we had in December had already frozen the grass. The grass that was coming back was set back (by last week’s hard freeze), but most of it was still in a dormant stage. I don’t see it being anywhere close to the 1983 or 1989 freezes.”

Ibarra added, “It’s too soon to tell about the citrus. I don’t think the trees sustained any damage.”

A Rio Grande City Fire Department official indicated that there were no serious disruptions such as power outages or utility line breakages in the immediate Rio Grande City area during the Arctic outbreak.

It is possible that Saturday morning’s low temperatures were the coldest seen in Starr County in roughly two decades.

Prior to the front’s arrival on Thursday, temperatures were cooler than normal. The RGC Fire Department recorded the following temperature readings: Monday, Jan. 4- high 59, low 41; Tuesday, Jan. 5- high 55, low 41; Wednesday, Jan. 6- high 69, low 48.

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