Cool Front with Much Lower Humidity Arrives on Friday
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 06:36
Good Wednesday morning and congratulations on making it through September. In case you haven’t look at a Calendar today is the last day of September. The month went by so quickly and was fairly quiet weather-wise with above-average temperatures. October will start out hot and humid but a cold front will bring changes by Friday. After starting out the week with active weather in Southeast Texas we’ll enjoy a quiet weather day. High temperatures will be above average to end September with upper 90s across South Texas. I’ll personally be pretty annoyed if someone hits 100 degrees in South Texas today because I WANT FALL WEATHER! Anyway the Hill Country, Central Texas, Southeast Texas, East Texas, North Texas, Northwest Texas, the Big Country, Concho Valley, and the Hill Country will all top out in the upper 80s to mid 90s today. West Texas, the Texas Panhandle, and the Permian Basin will be in the 80s today.
For tonight low temperatures will be warm across the state with lower 70s in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, and along the coast. Upper 60s will be the name of the game for Southeast Texas, Central Texas, and Southwest Texas. Mid 60s will be common tonight across Northwest Texas, North Texas, into the Concho Valley. Upper 50s to Low 60s will be the winners of tonight’s fall game across the Panhandle, West Texas, Permian Basin, Big Country, and Northeast Texas.
Changes begin to arrive on Thursday as a northerly flow helps usher in much drier air into the northern parts of Texas. High temperatures will be in the 70s across hte Texas Panhandle and only the lower 80s across Texoma, through the D/FW Metroplex, and into Northeast Texas. By Friday temperatures will be noticeably more comfortable across the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, North Texas, Central Texas, Northeast Texas, East Texas, and Southeast Texas. Even across South Texas where temperatures will still be hot dewpoint values will drop into the 40s and 50s. These may not be true fall temperatures but say goodbye to the humidity for a few days. Low temperatures will be comfortable across most of Texas thanks to the lower dewpoint temperatures. Another cold front may push south into parts of Texas on Saturday but that scenario remains uncertain.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Joaquin is located about 240 miles east of the Central Bahamas this morning. Maximum sustained winds of 70 MPH were indicated in the 4 AM CDT advisory. However the Hurricane Hunters arrived about 30 minutes ago and have found a significantly more organized system. I expect a special advisory will be issued to bring Joaquin up to Hurricane status around 7 AM. Based on the pressure drop noted it is possible an episode of rapid intensification has occurred overnight. Weather model guidance is all over the map with the potential track of this system. However is may pose a direct threat to the eastern seaboard of the United States and possibly the Mid-Atlantic. If you’re heading out that way or have family/friends let them know to keep a very close eye on forecast updates. At this time it looks like a Sunday-Tuesday timeframe if the system was to make landfall.
Pattern Change Later This Week with Cooler Temperatures & Rain Chances
Sunday, 06 September 2015 08:52
Meteorological fall began on the first of September and I’m pleased to say Mother Nature is going to act a bit like it later this week. After being in a zonal/dull weather pattern the jetstream is going to start dipping back south into the Northern Plains and Eastern United States. We’ll be on the edge of it all but a northwest flow aloft will set up. That northwest flow is going to push a cold front into Texas beginning on Tuesday Night/Wednesday. It will continue to push south over the coming days into more of Texas. A more continental airmass will follow in behind the front helping to push the sticky tropical air mass back a bit.
The Climate Prediction Center highlights the pattern change well in their 6 to 10 day outlook. While this outlook is actually for next weekend it does appear that we will stay in a relatively active weather pattern as we head into the middle of September. Some of the weather models bring a second cold front into Texas towards next weekend. As our first cold front pushes south on Wednesday and Thursday we should see scattered thunderstorms develop in proximity to it. Some folks may pick up an inch of rain but I don’t think we’ll see a big soaker for our mid-week system. A few weather models do indicate a more rainy setup for the end of the week but confidence is quite low in any particular solution. Weather models are all over the place with their solutions so forecast adjustments are certainly probable.
Precipitation outlook for the 6-10 timeframe.
The GFS Weather Model highlights the upcoming pattern change well in the temperature forecasts. Don’t take them too literally since they do come straight from one weather model. They do show that we will be heading towards a more temperate climate with a wet pattern also developing. I don’t dare to say we’re done with the summer weather but after three months of quiet weather at least we have something to talk about.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Amarillo. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Austin. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Brownsville. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Dallas. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Houston. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Midland. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for San Angelo. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
GFS Weather Model Temperature Trends for Tyler. This is only model data and NOT a weather forecast.
Flash Drought expands into North & Central Texas; Severe Drought in East Texas
Thursday, 20 August 2015 09:47
Flash drought conditions expanded in both severity and scope over the past week. The newly released drought monitor now places much of Northeast Texas, East Texas, Southeast Texas, North Texas, Central Texas, and the Brazos Valley back in official drought conditions. Severe drought is underway across Northeast Texas southwest into the Brazos Valley. The record rains in May combined with a very dry July has resulted in an overgrowth of surface fuels that are now dormant. Abundant dormant fuel is gasoline to wildfire production and we have seen a marked increase in grass fire calls. Over 100 counties in Texas are under burn bans and more counties are being added daily.
From the National Drought Mitigation Center: Short term dryness has caused expansion of drought across much of Texas and eastern Oklahoma. Warmer-than-normal temperatures have exasperated the situation. In Oklahoma, it was reported that soil moisture levels were approaching lows that we had not seen since August 2012. Drought was expanded in the southeast corner of Oklahoma and introduced in the northern part. Elsewhere, temperatures were 2-4 degrees above normal this past week in much of Texas. Drought conditions were expanded in much of east central Texas while a portion of southern Texas continued its drought free status.
The one bit of good news is this data is from Tuesday. We’ve seen a little bit of rain since that point. Flash flooding is ongoing around Galveston where severe drought conditions exist. I do not expect that to be the case this time next week as several inches of rain has fallen. We anticipate El Nino to bring a fairly wet winter with those impacts starting up later in fall.
Good Rain Chances Tonight; Near Record Lows Possible Tonight for parts of TX!
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 06:08
The southeastern Texas Panhandle and Northwest Texas are seeing rain and a few thunderstorms this morning. At the time of this writing a few storms are also underway around Amarillo and near Lubbock. Activity is moving southeast in association with an outflow boundary and cold front. Gusty winds are possible with this activity.
Rain/Storm Chances Today
Rain/Storm Chances Tonight
Rain/Storm chances on Thursday
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected today across the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, Northwest Texas, North Texas, Northeast Texas, East Texas, Southeast Texas, and Central Texas. More isolated activity is possible in South Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, and West Texas later today. Rain and storm chances will continue tonight with the rainless streak at D/FW, Waco, and most of East Texas expected to come to an end. On Thursday scattered rain and storms will continue to push south and eventually clear most of Texas, except the Rio Grande Valley, Thursday Night. Gusty winds and small hail will be possible with the stronger activity.
While fairly normal during the winter months one would not expect to see a 30-35 degree temperature difference in August across Texas. Folks south of the cold front, roughly along and south of Interstate 20, will see high temperatures in the 90s to low 100s today. Folks in the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, and Northwest Texas will remain in the upper 60s to 70s today. Our neighbors in Oklahoma may not get out of the 60s today. For Thursday temperatures will top out in the low to upper 80s north of Interstate 10. Low to mid 90s can be expected south of Interstate 10 into the Rio Grande Valley – a good 5 to 10 degrees cooler than today.
I’ve saved the best part of this forecast for last. Now I’ll go ahead and say for those in South Texas, Southeast Texas, and Deep South Texas you’re going to be warm and humid tonight since the front will not have reached you yet. However if you’re north of the front tonight is going to be a treat. Amarillo should get down to 52 degrees tonight with dewpoints in the 40s. Mid to upper 50s are expected tonight across West Texas and Northwest Texas. Low to mid 60s will dominate the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, Big Country, North, and NOrtheast Texas. Upper 60s to lower 70s can be expected across Central and East Texas into the Big Country as well. Remember this is mid August in Texas folks. The fact we’re talking about low temperatures in the 50s is fairly rare. Wichita Falls will be close to setting a record low temperature tonight. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few upper 40s tonight in the Texas Panhandle – incredible for August.
El Niño: What it means for Texas this Winter
Sunday, 16 August 2015 19:58
Sea Surface Temperatures on August 15, 2015.
The Climate Prediction Center released their monthly El Nino discussion this past week. They continue to forecast a greater than 90 percent chance of an El Nino this winter. They’re also now expecting El Nino to stick around into the spring of 2016. I’ll spare you the technical details of how these forecasts are created. Observations from the Pacific Ocean continue to indicate a significant and strengthening El Nino. You may have seen news articles this past week indicating the upcoming El Nino could be ‘godzilla’ or record-breaking. In all honesty that is something to look back on rather than try to forecast. El Nino should be quite significant this winter regardless of if its a record-breaking event or comes in second place.
We saw a very wet May and June across Texas but July and August (so far) have been the exact opposite. The good news is we should see rain in areas that need it most this week as an unseasonably strong jet stream dips south. El Nino is not expected to cause substantial temperature or precipitation impacts this summer or early fall. However we should see increasing impacts in the late fall and winter months. Along with the current El Nino the Atlantic remains devoid of tropical systems while the Pacific is having a very active year.
Just like everything else in weather each El Nino event can be unique. Historically, El Nino events typically bring increased precipitation and average to below average temperatures. There are exceptions and a select few past events have been anomalies in the sense that we didn’t see above average precip. Temperatures will not always be cold. As we’ve all experienced this summer we can have above-average temperatures. Likewise it’s not going to be wet all winter.
Precipitation anomalies during past El NIno Winters. Attribution: NOAA
Temperature anomalies during past El NIno Winters. Attribution: NOAA
Lets talk about the winter weather aspect of El Nino for Texas. Usually Texas will see at least one winter weather event annually regardless of the ENSO phase. Adequate moisture for precipitation needs to be present along with an air mass cold enough to support freezing rain, sleet, or snow. Being so far south makes that difficult. Usually if we’re cold enough for winter weather the atmosphere is too dry to support precipitation.On the other hand if we have enough moisture to produce winter weather it’s usually too warm. Because of our close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico south winds usually bring warmer air in quickly. It takes the right amount of moisture, a cold airmass, and upper level energy at the perfect point to produce a winter storm. During El Nino winters the SSJ (Subtropical jet) tends to be more active across the southern United States. This same phenomena can bring above-average precipitation to California. Likewise we usually see cold fronts every few days. The winter of 2009-2010 was an El NIno year and that helped produce the Christmas Eve Blizzard on December 24, 2009 across North Texas. Other El Nino winters have been relatively quiet in the winter weather department.Every El Nino is unique so nothing is written in stone.
So in summary – I do believe we could be in for an interesting winter in Texas. Winter weather in the north side of a low with severe weather on the east/southeast side of the low is something to watch for with low pressure systems in the winter. I’m not a meteorologist nor am I a climatologist. Most seasonal outlooks involve a lot of looking at past events, finding an analog, and using that information to create a long-term forecast. Mother Nature will do what it wants regardless of what we think. I don’t put a ton of faith in these long-term outlooks that try and get overly specific. Past El Nino events have produced interesting weather in Texas during the winter months. Likewise a few select strong El Ninos have actually been less impactful than weak El Nino events. Our weather will depend on the position of the subtropical jetstream, quality of moisture in place to support precipitation, and other meteorological factors. We can tell you what we think may happen but until we get within a week we can’t even give you a good rain forecast. Chances are most of Texas will see several to numerous chances for precipitation this winter and the ‘flash drought’ will get squashed. Yet we’ll just have to see what happens. Lets just say my snow shovel will be at the ready.