As we’ve been advertising for days, a major arctic outbreak is preparing to invade the United States. This cold air will begin moving south into the northern plains by Friday and begin pushing into the Texas Panhandle and Northwest Texas during the morning hours on Sunday. Warm temperatures look to continue across Texas through the first half of the weekend. Let’s start off by showing analyzing the current surface temperatures across North America.
Temperatures across Texas varied a bit today as a weak cold front moved across the state. In fact, we had a brief tornado issue in South Texas, but the storm remained over rural areas and moved offshore at 6 PM. Temperatures are cooler north of the front, but the real cold air is still confined in Canada and Alaska. Temperatures in western Canada and Alaska are between 20 and 30 degrees below zero with wind chills even colder. Since cold air is heavier than warm air, it is only a matter of time before that cold air moves south into the United States. This will be our first major cold outbreak this winter and will certainly make it feel like winter across parts of the United States.
Now lets get into the timing aspect for Texas. We’re still several days out so keep in mind the timing could change quite a bit over the coming days. That uncertainty also applies for rain chances. Those are much m ore complicated. These coming graphics are from the Global Forecast System Weather Model.
The cold front should already be approaching the Interstate 20/30 corridor by dinnertime on Sunday. The blue colors indicate temperatures that are at or below 32°F. I note that those freezing temperatures are already in the Texas Panhandle by Sunday evening. Temperatures quickly fall into the 50s and 40s in Northwest and North Texas as the cold front passes through. Winds will become gusty out of the north with a wind chill factor around 10 degrees below the actual air temperature.
By the morning hours on Monday, the cold front should have pushed south to areas like Austin, College Station, and Shreveport. Temperatures north of the front will be in the 30s and 40s with even lower temperatures in the Texas Panhandle. Wind chill factors will be in the 20s and 30s with strong north winds along and behind the cold front. The front will continue to push south during the day on Monday with temperatures struggling to rise during the daytime hours. For folks in the cold air, it’s going to be a cold, winter-like day.
The GFS Weather Model seems to stall out or slow down the cold front during the day on Monday. That could occur, but these fronts have a tendency to move farther south than indicated because cold air is denser (heavier) than warm air. Even if the cold front slows down on Monday, it will push through the remainder of Texas and be near Brownsville by Tuesday morning. We’ll be able to refine temperatures for next week as we get closer to the weekend.
Lets talk about something I’m sure interests everyone even more than the temperatures. What is the chance of rain across Texas? There certainly will be a chance of rain this weekend in portions of Texas as this cold front moves in. Right now, it looks like the best rain chances will be along and east of Interstate 35, but that is how it looks right now. That may not be how it looks tomorrow. The weather models have been changing things up a bit each day. Considering we’re still five days out, that is perfectly normal and our forecasts will likely have to be adjusted over the coming days. For now, I’ll leave you with this graphic showing how much rain may fall this weekend. Keep in mind this is from a weather model, so don’t think this is how it will look when things are said and done.
Stay Tuned! We’ll have additional updates on the upcoming cold outbreak on Wednesday.