Weather Waiver Issued: Ice and Snow Coming to…Houston?

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In this winter that has already brought some crazy cold weather to parts of the United States, there is now a Winter Storm Warning complete with predictions of possible snow and ice for….Houston.  Yup, that coastal city we live in near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas that often sees temperatures hit 110 degrees in the summer.  Now, forecasters and computers in these parts have a history of getting “overly excited” about the possibility of winter precipitation, but it does seem to look likely that at least something will come out of this Winter Storm Warning for some parts of Houston and surrounding areas (especially to the north of Houston) beginning late tonight and into early Friday.

Because of this United has issued a weather waiver for January 23rd and 24th for the following airports:

  • Houston, TX (IAH)
  • Austin, TX (AUS)
  • San Antonio, TX (SAT)​

What this weather waiver means:

  • Fees for same-day flight changes are waived within 24 hours of original departure.
  • For all other changes, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply.

This storm may not be enough to cause any major disruption, but it doesn’t take much for things to get a big bogged down around here as folks have virtually no experience driving in icy/snowy conditions, and we don’t have near the infrastructure to deal with winter storms as parts of the country that get them on a regular basis.  Basically we all just sit inside for a day or so until it all passes.

What does this have to do with travel?  Well, potentially a fair amount if you planned on transiting a Houston airport late tonight or especially early Friday morning.  For those not up-to-date on their Houston geography, Hobby Airport is further to the south and is really pretty close to the coast where the temperatures generally stay a bit warmer.  IAH is located in the northern part of the city where temperatures tend to get a few degrees colder.  If we actually do get some wintery mix that extends far enough south to impact one of the airports, then expect at least some delays.

We do have de-icing equipment here, but I’m sure we don’t have the volume of equipment that you would see at an airport that deals with this on a regular basis.  Even if the conditions at the airports are pretty good, the crews have to be able to drive from their houses to the airport in order to make the planes fly.  That process may take longer than normal in the morning if the road conditions in the surrounding areas aren’t great.

If you have the ability to route your flights in a way that avoids IAH late tonight, or especially early tomorrow, that would be the safest course of action.  Otherwise, just hope the forecasters were overly ambitions when they got the school kids’ hopes up that there might be some wintery stuff by the time the sun rises on Friday morning.

To give you an idea of how rare this sort of thing is in Houston, many of the pre-schools in the area (including ours) have an annual “Snow Day” where they pay some ca$h to buy snow for the kids to play in.  I’m sure those kids are crossing their fingers for a real snow/ice day tomorrow.



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  1. Houston. Yup, that coastal city we live in near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas that often sees temperatures hit 110 degrees in the summer.

    I don’t think so

    • Ha ha, well pretty close to it. Certainly heat indexes get that high. Point being, we are way better with heat here than we are with wintery stuff. That said, no one likes August in Houston!

  2. I’d love to be able to watch y’all deal with even a little bit of snow… an Ohioan who has seen the snowiest January in history so far this month. I’m ready to kiss winter goodbye. Driving advise for snowy or icy roads…..slow down…you need at least four times the braking distance. Do not even think about using cruise control…it can cause you to lose control of your car in snowy, icy or rainy weather. All wheel or four wheel drive vehicles will handle better but still slow down and have plenty of braking distance. Best advise is hibernate like a bear until the roads are clear this is especially true in areas that don’t normally have snow.

  3. Wendy, totally agree the best course of action around here is just hibernate until it all passes!

    For anyone else, my friend’s AM flight on United out of IAH tomorrow has already cancelled, so be proactive!

  4. I’m rejoicing at the news!
    The weather waiver on all IAH flights Jan 23/24 has allowed me to move back for FREE a super cheap mileage run economy flight booked for Friday eve to LAX. Now I’m flying Dreamliner on Saturday PM. Even better – my Premier 1K complimentary upgrade to United First just appeared on my email.

    This already adds to my already booked/ already upgraded return to IAH on the same 787 Saturday evening – using up my last free Global Upgrade certificate before it expires at month end.

    So for a mere $217 rtn, I’m with open bar, good meals (relative term!) and 7-8 hours round trip aboard a sleek new Dreamliner 787.

    It’s a great tribute trip for me to say adieu to 1K status, as I’m being downgraded to Plat for 2014.

    Life can be so cruel at times – but not for me this weekend. Cheers!

  5. I am here too – working from home with the kids since all of the schools are closed. Little C sure is getting big – I have a 5 year old and it is amazing how quickly they go from being toddler to tall little girls. Have you seen Frozen with her? We got the Anna dress with boots that mine loves to wear around the house. Saving the Elsa dress for trip to WDW over Spring Break. Soon you too will be a slave to the school schedule :).

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