Good morning and happy Saturday! Conditions will begin to slowly improve today across the panhandle, rolling plains and far western north Texas as temperatures climb to just above freezing by around noon today. Seeing some reports that many of the major roads across the area have been treated and are becoming passable, but secondary and rural roads will remain icy for several more hours before we begin to see any improvement. Precip will continue across the area today, but is expected to gradually lighten up by early this afternoon through evening and once temps rise above freezing it will fall as just cold rain. Another round of precip is expected overnight, however with temps across the area expected to be warmer than last night, there will be less chance of seeing ice or sleet. By Sunday, travel conditions are expected to significantly improve with only minor travel hiccups remaining…primarily during the early morning hours. Be sure to check http://drivetexas.org/ before traveling today and early tomorrow.
For north Texas, the flood threats will continue through Sunday with an additional 1 to 3 inches expected on top of what has already been seen. Rainfall across the area since Friday has been impressive with some areas north and northeast of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex seeing 7 to 9 inches already. Currently, the DFW metro area is seeing a lull in the rain with scattered rain off to the east/southeast and heavier rain and icy precip across western north Texas. We’ll see this change later tonight with another round of heavy rain expected to arrive after midnight. Between now and then, just scattered light rain is expected on and off during the day. Flash Flood Watches remain in effect across the entire area until Sunday afternoon when most of the rain is expected to move away to the east.
The cold front is expected to finally move through coastal and south Texas this morning after getting hung up just inland over the past 12 hours. As such, highs for today have likely been reached and you folks will see temps gradually dropping during the day. Elsewhere, chilly and dreary with low clouds and the aforementioned rain expected today and through the overnight hours. The good news is that we’ll see a little bit of a warming trend by Monday with more seasonable highs for the remainder of the coming work week.
Late Evening Update: Ice Threat Increases Across Rolling Plains
Heavy rainfall across parts of the rolling plains and southeastern panhandle has transitioned over to freezing rain mixed with sleet over the past couple of hours with ice starting to accumulate heavily on both elevated and road surfaces. Ice accumulations of up to 1/20th of an inch is expected by morning. Numerous accidents have been reported in the past couple of hours along US 83 between Childress, Paducah and Guthrie. Heavy ice accumulations on power lines will likely lead to additional power outages across the area overnight. Again, travel is strongly discouraged across this region of the state overnight and into early tomorrow. If you must get out for work or other critical reasons, be prepared for treacherous road conditions, closures and make sure you have blankets, water and some snacks in case you become stranded. Stay home, stay safe and warm!
Early Evening Update – North TX Flooding Threats and Panhandle Ice Threats Continue
Two distinct weather issues will continue to impact parts of the state overnight and into Saturday. For the panhandle region grappling with a crippling ice storm, there’s been a lull in precipitation today; however, that’s expected to pick back up again overnight into early tomorrow with additional ice accumulations of 1/4 to 1/2 inch likely. Light snow will also be possible, especially for the northern portion of the TX panhandle and up into the Oklahoma panhandle. Temperatures in the panhandle region have been remained in the mid to upper 20s most of the day, and many will see temps drop into the upper teens tonight. Travel remains strongly discouraged across the region tonight. If you have to be out and about due to work, be prepared to face many road closures and take food/water supplies and blankets with you in case you end up stranded somewhere. Winter Storm Warnings and Ice Storm Warnings remain in effect across the region until mid-day Saturday and may be extended beyond that based on precipitation trends at that time.
For north Texas which has been dealing with flooding issues since last night, this threat will continue overnight into Saturday as rain…some heavy…continues to develop and track across the region overnight into tomorrow morning. For most of the afternoon, the heaviest rain has been just off to the northwest and west of the DFW metro area and up along the Red River between Wichita Falls, Gainesville over to Sherman. But this band of heavy rain is is slowly shifting east with another band of heavy rain approaching the southwest side of Ft. Worth and quickly moving to the northeast. Now that it’s dark, it will make driving even more hazardous, especially in the rural areas where it’s hard to see when roadways are under water. If you have to travel anywhere tonight, slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination. Some roads may be closed along your journey, so be sure to check www.drivetexas.org for the latest hazards and closures before you head out. Lows tonight across north central and northeast Texas will remain above freezing, so ice will not be an issue.
Mid-Afternoon Update – North Texas Heavy Rain/Flooding Event
After a little lull in the heavy rainfall this morning across north Texas, mother nature is back at it again with additional batches of heavy rain moving up from the southwest and into the area. We continue to expect multiple rounds of rain…some quite heavy…today, tonight, Saturday and into Sunday before this system finally lifts out of the area by late Sunday. Here’s a look of what we’ve already seen over the past 24 hours, and a peek at what’s to come.
As you can see, we’ve already seen accumulations in excess of 4 to 6 inches across a large swath of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex since yesterday. Local forecasters are calling for an additional 2-3 inches to fall…mainly north of I-20…through Noon on Saturday. Saturday afternoon and into Sunday, we will likely see another 2-3 inches across the DFW metro plus areas along and just south of I-20. Flooding issues will continue along creeks and rivers, even those downstream from where the heaviest rain is currently falling, so do keep that in mind if you’re out and about especially after dark.
Simulated radar through 3am tomorrow morning. Icing overnight will likely not extend as far east as predicted by this particular model; however it will be an issue across the panhandle and parts of far northwest Texas where temps are already below freezing and will stay that way overnight.
As for the cold front, it continues to slowly drift south and is expected to reach the middle and upper coast by late tonight. Temps ahead of the front across parts of south central Texas have reached the low 80s. Once the front moves through however, expect a quick and steady drop down into the 50s.
Wednesday Evening Update – Winter Storm & Heavy Rain/Flooding Event
Just wanted to get the latest updates out on the significant winter storm expected to impact parts of the Texas panhandle and rolling plains beginning late Thursday and continuing into early Saturday. As mentioned in several of our recent blogs, a strong Canadian front will blast through the state early Thursday into Friday. Along and ahead of the cold front, abundant rain and a few strong storms will develop out ahead of an upper level disturbance which is expected to sit and spin over the desert southwest for a few days before ejecting off to the northeast. Enhancing the threat of rain will be a fetch of tropical moisture carried up and over the state from the remnants of Hurricane Sandra once she makes landfall on the southern Baja coast by Saturday. Definitely an unusual late fall setup, and one that will bring many impacts to the panhandle and parts of the rolling plains. Below we have a graphic with the latest Watches and Warnings that have been posted as of this blog update. We’ll discuss the winter mess first, then dive into the flooding threats later in the blog.
The NWS office in Amarillo has issued a Winter Storm Warning and Ice Storm Warning for their forecast area beginning late Thursday and ending by Noon Saturday. For the northwestern tier of counties in the panhandle, rain is expected to transition over to freezing rain and sleet by Thursday evening with ice accumulations of 1/10 to 1/25 inch, and sleet accumulation between 1 to 3 inches. On top of that, snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches is also possible. For the counties included in the Ice Storm Warning, rain is expected to transition over to freezing rain by Thursday night with freezing rain expected to continue on and off through early Saturday. Ice accumulations up to 1/2 inch, with isolated higher amount, are likely. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED THROUGHOUT THE TEXAS PANHANDLE REGION BEGINNING LATE THURSDAY THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY. If you don’t absolutely have to be out, stay put and wait until roads have cleared. Plan on making other arrangements if you anticipate having to travel through this region to your ultimate destination. Please remember that if you get stuck on the ice somewhere, some poor soul will have to come rescue you putting their safety in jeopardy as well.
Widespread rainfall is expected to impact parts of northern Texas beginning Thursday and lasting through Sunday. Even with this being a multi-day event, which typically allows the rain to soak in and lessen the threat for flooding, recent rain has kept our soils fairly damp across northern Texas and it won’t take much to create flooding issues. The bulk of the rain is expected to fall north of the I-20 corridor late Thursday, Friday and through Saturday Accumulations up to 7 inches are likely, especially in the Red River counties just north of the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex. Winter weather is NOT expected for north Texas or the DFW Metro. Our temps across north Texas will be flirting with the freezing level, but the air above us…above the shallow layer of cold air…will be much too warm to support the development of ice or snow. Nevertheless, the rain and potential flooding will present travel challenges, especially Friday night through Saturday. If you have to get out and about, just plan on taking extra time to reach your destination.
We typically do not provide detailed information on road conditions or closures during major events, but TXDot has a wonderful interactive map which they keep updated during these winter weather events. Bookmark their page at http://drivetexas.org/.