The Storm Prediction Center has placed a Marginal Risk of severe weather across portions of west central and western north Texas this afternoon and evening ahead of the cold front. Confidence in any severe weather development is a bit unclear and will largely depend on the amount of surface heating and instability reached by later this afternoon, which at this time looks to be minimal based on the amount of cloud cover and widespread rain across the region. However, sufficient moisture and wind shear will be in place for a few strong to severe storms to develop with enough instability. While the tornado threat is very low, there is a chance of a few brief tornadoes to develop. Folks in or traveling through the region need to stay weather-aware this afternoon and have a way to receive warning notifications should any be issued. As always, you can track the storms live via our interactive radar at http://texasstormchasers.com/radar/ .
Ice Storm Warning for all of the Texas Panhandle beginning late tonight and lasting through Saturday. A major winter storm will bring significant accumulations of ice to much of the Texas Panhandle. The northwest Texas Panhandle may end up with more sleet/snow. Substantial accumulations are possible which will make road conditions treacherous. Some ice accumulations over 0.50″ are possible which would result in an enhanced risk of power outages, tree damage, and some infrastructure damage due to strong north winds.
Updated at 5:48 AM: A Ice Storm Warning is in place for the South Plains and Rolling Plains in West Texas. Like the Panhandle a major ice storm is possible across parts of the region with ice accumulations of 0.25″ to 0.50″+ possible. Travel conditions will be extremely hazardous. Power outages, tree damage, and some infrastructure damage will be possible where ice accumulations exceed half an inch.
Less significant accumulations of ice are possible across parts of the Big Country into Northwest Texas on Friday and Friday Night. The risk for significant ice is lower for now but any ice that develops could make bridges and overpasses slick and hazardous. Check back for forecast updates because if the colder air moves more quickly than there is the potential for a more substantial winter weather event.
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for much of North Texas, Northeast Texas, and Texoma. Temperatures will be too warm for winter precipitation but moisture content in the atmosphere will be much greater. Several rounds of precipitation are expected with the first heavy batch arriving later this afternoon. A second round will occur Friday morning and a third Friday Night into Saturday Morning. 3 to 7 inches of rain will be possible with localized amounts up to 10 inches. Not all of that will fall at once since this event will be spread out over three days. Nevertheless soil conditions remain saturated from past events and the threat for flash flooding will be high. Do not drive into flood waters and don’t let your kids play in them either. Temperatures will be much colder on Friday and Saturday making for miserable conditions.
Let me start out by wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Even though we’re going to be dealing with a variety of major weather issues over the coming days I’m thankful that we’ve ended our multi-year drought. I’m thankful that we didn’t have any loss of life with last week’s tornado outbreak in the Panhandle. Finally I’m thankful that so many have come to trust our weather blog as their daily source for weather information. Never did I imagine that we would have the audience we do today. Paige and I will be making a bit of a road trip later on to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family.
There will be no issues with winter weather until late tonight across the Panhandle. The winter weather threat will shift south as temperatures fall below freezing on Friday across the South Plains, Rolling Plains, and perhaps some of Northwest Texas. As pointed out in the warning summary there is the potential for a major ice storm in parts of the Panhandle, South Plains, and Northwest Texas. The threat also looks to include the western half of Oklahoma – perhaps as far east as Oklahoma City. Road conditions will be hazardous and travel is strongly discouraged on Friday and Saturday in the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, and in Western Oklahoma. We’ll have to closely watch the progress of the cold front. If the front is a little faster or a little stronger than expected we may have to pull the freezing line further southeast. We don’t expect any winter weather in North Texas or the D/FW Metroplex (including Interstate 35) – we’ve had several questions about that.
Ahead of the cold front temperatures are quite warm for late November. This morning temperatures are in the 60s across much of Texas except the northern Panhandle where the cold front is beginning to arrive. These warm temperatures will continue with gusty south winds today and tonight. As the cold front arrives at a given location you can expect winds to become gusty out of the north along with a quick 20 degree temperature drop. That will occur later today across the Texas Panhandle, tonight across West Texas, Northwest Texas, and locations north of Interstate 20, and into Friday for folks in the Hill Country and Central Texas. The front has been moving a little more quickly so these arrival times are subject to change.
The first round of heavy precipitation is expected to develop this afternoon across the Big Country into Northwest Texas. This area of heavier rain and storms will move east into North Texas by mid-afternoon and into Northeast Texas this evening. Short-term weather models have indicated a little more instablity this afternoon in a small section of North Texas generally from D/FW north to the Red River. We’ll have to keep an eye on a low severe weather risk this afternoon in that small region. In all likelihood the severe weather threat won’t materialize – but if it does we may see one or two storms become severe with localized damaging wind gusts and perhaps a brief tornado. Any severe weather threat would diminish after sunset. A Flash Flood Watch begins at 6 PM for North Texas and continues into Saturday.
With the blog already longer than I wanted we’ll end it here. We’ll likely be on the quiet side through the afternoon hours as we spend time with our families. We’ll post updates as needed if we see any major forecast changes. We’ll have another detailed update tonight or sooner if necessary. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Winter Storm Watch for the Panhandle & Flooding Expected in North Texas Thursday Night -Saturday
A major storm system will bring a variety of weather hazards to Texas beginning Thursday and tapering off by Saturday. The impacts could last into next week. A Winter Storm Watch is now in effect for the Texas Panhandle beginning Thursday Night and ending on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to fall below freezing late Thursday or early Friday. Once temperatures fall below freezing we anticipate a changeover from rain to freezing rain. A bit of snow may mix in across the northwest Texas Panhandle. By far the primary precipitation mode should be freezing rain. Based on anticipated moisture levels and current forecasts some locations may pick up between a quarter to half inch of ice accumulation. Remember that it only takes a glaze to turn roads into skating rinks. Once you start talking about ice accumulations above half an inch you have to start talking about localized power outages and tree damage. For a winter weather event we’re still pretty far away and we do anticipate forecast changes as we get closer. Hazardous travel conditions are likely across the Texas Panhandle, Western Oklahoma, and adjacent portions of Kansas on Friday into Saturday.
Farther east where temperatures will remain above freezing we’ll be dealing with liquid rain and a whole lot of it. Rain accumulation forecasts continue to increase with the highest rain totals located over the Big Country, North Texas, and Northeast Texas. Widespread 5 to 7 inch rain totals are expected with isolated amounts up to 10 inches. Soils remain saturated from previous precipitation events and the recent hard freeze has caused most vegetation to become dormant for the winter. Flash flooding and river flooding all look like threats we’re going to deal with beginning late Thursday into Friday. The rains will move out on Saturday but we’ll be dealing with flood problems well into next week. Lower rain totals are expected across the Concho Valley, South-Central Texas, the Brazos Valley, and East Texas with 2 to 4 inches of rain possible. Localized flooding will still be a threat even in those areas. Overall I do expect a busy period of weather beginning on Thursday (maybe later in the day) with the peak on Friday and the first half of Saturday. Temperatures will be above freezing – but its still going to be cold. Wind chill values will be in the 20s with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. If we by chance get folks caught out in flooding hypothermia could be a real threat.
Active Weather Scenario Thanksgiving into the Weekend – The Overview
Wednesday is expected to be a decent travel day for most of Texas. It may get wet by the second half of the day in parts of Texas but we’re not expecting severe weather, heavy rain, or winter weather issues on Wednesday. By Thursday that will change as the potential for heavier rain increases. Rain chances will continue into Friday and Saturday, potentially Sunday depending on how things evolve. The heaviest rain totals for the upcoming event are anticipated to be from the Big Country and Northwest Texas east along the Red River through Texoma into North Texas and Northeast Texas. Some flooding issues can be expected but like the rest of the forecast we’ll have to wait on specifics until we’re closer. Likewise temperatures could fall below freezing in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains allowing for a switchover to freezing rain or sleet by Friday. Accumulation forecasts are extremely difficult five days in advance and even more uncertainty is thrown into the mix thanks to different model solutions. Moisture levels may be further enhanced to near/above record levels thanks to a very rare late season Pacific hurricane expected to develop soon. There is the potential for accumulating ice in parts of the Panhandle by Friday into Saturday – with associated travel disruptions possible. At this time temperatures are expected to remain above freezing across the remainder of Texas – so just a cold rain. This upcoming system is very dynamic and forecast adjustments are guaranteed. The only certain thing when forecasting weather in Texas (especially in the winter) is that nothing is certain. We’ll keep you updated!
Current projections on rain accumulations through the weekend
Chance of precipitation Wednesday
Chance of precipitation Thursday Night
Chance of precipitation Thanksgiving
Chance of precipitation Friday Night
Chance of precipitation Friday
Chance of precipitation Saturday Night
Chance of precipitation Saturday
Warmer and Nice Today with Active Weather for Thanksgiving into the Weekend
Temperatures are starting off quite chilly this morning across Texas. 6 AM temperature observations have freezing temperatures as far south as San Antonio into the Coastal Plains and just north of Houston. It’s on the chilly side in Deep South Texas with 30s – decently cold for that part of the state. We could see temperatures drop another degree but they’ll start climbing soon enough.
Light southerly winds and clear skies will allow temperatures to warm quite nicely by this afternoon. Northeast Texas will make it into the upper 50s as cooler air from Arkansas helps keep things a tad cooler. Southeast Texas, Central Texas, into the Hill Country and points north will climb into the mid 60s by this afternoon. Essentially all of Texas outside of Northeast Texas will climb into the 60s today with southerly winds of 5 to 15 MPH. Clouds may begin increasing by late afternoon in far Southwest Texas.
Tonight will be 10-15 degrees warmer than this morning across southern sections of Texas as clouds increase and we start to see a return flow of moisture. Temperatures will drop off into the 30s across the Panhandle, South Plains, and in Northeast and East Texas. North Texas, Central Texas, the Hill Country, Southeast Texas, and South-Central Texas will drop into the mid and upper 40s. Compare that to the upper 20s to mid 30s being observed this morning. The Rio Grande Valley and South Texas will drop into the 50s to low 60s tonight – also noticeably warmer thanks to increased cloud cover tonight.
Upcoming rain accumulation forecast (which WILL change)
No hazardous weather is anticipated today or on Tuesday – but we will start to see changes by Wednesday as a storm system approaches from our west. We will have an additional blog later this morning to discuss the active weather expected beginning Thursday and continuing through Sunday. Light rain is expected to increase in coverage by Wednesday Night across parts of Texas. Thursday has the potential to be quite wet across the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, Permian Basin, Northwest Texas, Big Country, into North Texas. The overall severe weather threat will be very low. I can’t rule out an isolated strong storm in the Permian Basin – but cloud cover will greatly limit the atmosphere’s destabilization and any severe weather threat. By Thursday Night into Friday temperatures may cool enough to support a changeover to freezing rain across parts of the Texas Panhandle. Continued winter weather chances could occur on Friday, Saturday, and perhaps even Sunday across parts of the Texas Panhandle and South Plains. At this time temperatures are expected to remain above freezing across the rest of Texas. Record-high moisture levels for late November combined with the possibility of two storm systems Thursday through Sunday may create a flooding issue across the eastern half of Texas. Several inches of rain will be possible in this timeframe. Locations that have received a hard freeze over the past couple of days will have their vegetation going dormant. That means the ground will have slightly less of an ability to soak up water. I’ll have more specific details in the blog later this morning – but Thursday through Saturday has the potential to feature very active weather in parts of Texas. Stay tuned!