Jack Frost reached out and gave Anderson County a taste of winter Wednesday night and Thursday and is expected to hang on through Friday.

Although winter does not officially start until Dec. 21, an arctic blast brought the mercury down to a sub-freezing 27 degrees Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

The cold temperatures and wintery mix of sleet and rain caused some bridges and car windows to ice over and some Anderson County residents were surprised to find their car doors frozen shut.

“Many of the city bridges did have ice on them, but it was not in the travel lanes,” said Palestine Director of Public Works Ron Sullivan. “We did have the street crew on standby just in case, but the ground temperature kept the roads from icing over.”

Sullivan said the city did have to close the M.L. Cary Bridge on M.L. Cary Drive.

“This bridge is the first to ice over and the last to thaw out,” Sullivan said. “The bridge is so steep it is not practical to sand and it is too dangerous to maintain traffic on so we close it down.”

Temperatures did climb above freezing by mid-to-late afternoon Thursday in many areas of the county, just to plummet back before freezing Thursday evening, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jesse Moore.

“The low for Friday morning is expected to be around 17 degrees,” Moore said Thursday. “Under mostly sunny skies the temperature should warm up to the mid 40s with northeast winds of five to 10 mph.”

This forecast is causing the Palestine water department to brace for the worst and hope for the best.

“The water crews are on standby for Friday night and Saturday,” Sullivan said. “They are expecting busy days.”

Moore said a hard freeze is very hard on pipes and plants and could cause the pipes to burst, and any time the temperature dips into the teens or below it is considered a hard freeze.

Friday night into Saturday morning a low in the upper 20s is expected, Moore said.

For the Lighted Christmas Parade, set to start at 7 p.m. Saturday, the temperature is expected to be in the low 40s to upper 30s, according to Moore.

Although no precipitation is expected for the weekend, there is a chance of rain for next week.

“Tuesday night and Wednesday morning there is a 30 percent chance of rain,” Moore said.

Temperatures are expected to be well above freezing — in the upper 30’s for a low and reaching the mid-50s for a high on Wednesday, he added.

“It will be too warm for a chance of ice or a wintery mix,” Moore said. “We have had our taste of winter weather for a while with a warm up expected for next week.”

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Sherryl-Lynn Williams can be reached via e-mail at swilliams@palestineherald.com