Good morning and happy Saturday! The light rain from overnight will move east and out of the state by later this afternoon. A weak cold front has moved in behind the rain and is currently stretched in a north/south fashion between DFW, College Station and down towards Corpus Christi. Winds behind the front are shifting from the west northwest and gusty in areas along and west of the I-35. The only significant weather concerns today will be the elevated wildfire concerns across the Rio Grande Valley & South Texas regions today. Very low humidity levels behind the front and gusty winds this afternoon will lead to near critical fire conditions across nearly all of the south Texas region. Red Flag Warnings are in place south of a line from Victoria over to Cotulla. As the front moves through the region this morning, winds will pick up from the northwest and gust into the 30mph range with a few areas seeing 40mph gusts by later this afternoon. Please be careful with anything that could cause a spark or flame.
Despite the weak front, temps today will continue to be mild and mostly seasonal across the state. Highs will jump into the mid 50s across the panhandle, low 50s across north central and northeast Texas…we’ll see low 60s across parts of west Texas this afternoon, and for south Texas, very mild upper 60s to low 70s are expected.
Lows tonight will also be close to seasonal with mid 20s across the panhandle. Unseasonably cool temps will be found across the remainder of the state with low to mid 30s expected as far south as the coast tonight. Good news is that highs tomorrow will jump right back up into the 50s and 60s, and mixed with plenty of sunshine, will make for a very pleasant Super Bowl Sunday!
Chilly Tonight – Mild and Dry Through Friday – Light Rain Chances Return by Early Saturday
High pressure will settle in over the state for the next couple of days on the heels of today’s front. Clear skies overnight will give way to temperatures dropping down into the upper teens across the panhandle, upper 20s across north and northeast Texas, with mid to upper 30s across southeast and coastal Texas. Aside from some light snow across the northern panhandle this evening and overnight, conditions will remain chilly but calm with winds generally under 10mph.
We expect to see a nice warmup tomorrow with temperatures reaching the low 50s across the panhandle, mid 50s across north and west central Texas, and upper 50s to mid 60s further south along the coast. Still a few degrees cooler than average for central and south Texas, but definitely pleasant with plenty of sunshine!
We will keep this quiet weather pattern until we head into late Friday night and early Saturday when we expect to see our next upper level low and weak cold front arrive which will generate rain chances across the mainly the eastern half of the state. The cold front that pushed through last night and this afternoon will have scoured out most of the moisture before this next system arrives, which leaves very little moisture for it to work with. As such, we’ll see only minimal chances of rain beginning late Friday and continuing on and off into Sunday, with the best chances looking to be east of the I-45 corridor.
A Look Ahead: After the weekend’s upper level system departs to the east by early Sunday, our state will be positioned between a deep trough of low pressure to our east and a strong upper level ridge to our west. Northwest flow in the upper levels across the state will allow a strong cold front to strike a glancing blow across the eastern half of the state with the coldest air shunted well east across the Mississippi valley region. It also looks like we’ll be locked in a predominantly dry weather pattern through next week. By mid-month, the long range forecast models are hinting at a bit of a pattern chance which may increase rain chances for the state, but it’s still too far out to be certain at this time.
Temperatures will be much cooler today and tonight across Texas as a secondary surge of cold air has arrived. High temperatures this afternoon will remain in the 30s across the Texas Panhandle. 40s can be expected across Northwest Texas, the South/Rolling Plains, Permian Basin, Davis Mountains, into the Concho Valley, Big Country, and North Texas. Skies will likely remain mostly cloudy across the Panhandle and parts of West Texas before clearing later tonight. We won’t see temperatures nearly as cool across Southeast Texas, South-Central Texas, or South Texas today with upper 50s to mid 60s. Compared to the past few days those temperatures will still be a good 15 to 25 degrees cooler. There will be an elevated fire danger across Southwest and South Texas this afternoon.
We’ll see the bottom fall out tonight as very cold air settles into Texas. The Davis Mountains and the Texas Panhandle will fall into the low to middle 10s tonight. 20s are expected across the South/Rolling Plains, Permian Basin, COncho Valley, Big Country, Northwest Texas, North Texas, Northeast Texas, and Central Texas. Temperatures will fall into the 30s across the remainder of the state – including Southeast Texas, South Texas, and the Coastal Plains. Clear skies and relatively light winds will provide ample support for radiational cooling. Don’t be surprised to see temperatures vary over a short distance by morning.
Dry weather will continue on Thursday and Friday across Texas. There may be a few light showers on Saturday from the Concho Valley into Central Texas. None of that looks significant at this time. Another round of cooler weather appears possible next week but we remain in a blocking pattern. Unfortunately it appears a prolonged period of dry weather could continue well into February across Texas. There are indications we may see a pattern change by the third week of February. Until then we can expect below-average precipitation with the occasional cold front.
Your Overnight & Tuesday Forecast – Rain/Snow Mix for the Panhandle – Showers east of I-35
There’s actually quite a bit to talk about, so we’ll break the blog up into topics with the first item being snow/rain chances for the panhandles tonight and the chance for a few showers and storms along the cold front later tonight from around Dallas eastward. Light rain is showing up across the central and eastern panhandle and far northwest Texas and is expected to continue over the next several hours before moving into western and southwestern Oklahoma. As the upper level low we’ve been talking about for the past couple of days begins to lift off to the northeast overnight, there is a chance for light wintry precipitation across the OK and northern Texas panhandles through early tomorrow morning as a secondary (Canadian) cold front arrives behind the current Pacific front. Rain/snow amounts are expected to be very light across the northern panhandle tonight and into tomorrow with no significant travel impacts expected except for the far western corner of the OK Panhandle. For the eastern half of the state, we expect to see a small line of showers develop along the leading edge of the Pacific front as it heads closer to the I-35 corridor and interacts with better moisture. Best timing for the line to begin developing would be between 9pm and Midnight near the I-35 corridor, then continue east overnight into Tuesday morning as scattered showers. Storms that have recently developed just west of Wichita Falls will continue heading northeast this evening will continue heading northeast into Oklahoma with gusty winds and some small hail possible. No severe weather is expected otherwise, but don’t be too surprised if you hear a clap or two of thunder before sunrise tomorrow.
Next topic for discussion will be the chance for dense fog tomorrow along the upper coast and inland counties across southeast Texas by tomorrow morning. The NWS office in Houston/Galveston has issued a Dense Fog Advisory for the coastal counties between Matagorda Bay and Sabine in effect through 6am tomorrow. This should clear out from west to east early tomorrow as the cold front arrives, but until then, it will be pretty soupy with decreasing visibilities for those right along the coast. Check driving conditions before you leave for work or school tomorrow and allow extra time for your commute if it’s looking like pea soup outside when you leave.
As for the cold fronts…yes, there’s actually two fronts…a north/south oriented Pacific front which was the driving force behind the wall of dust which traversed west central Texas earlier this afternoon. This front will continue its eastward progression overnight into tomorrow, but will not have too much of an impact on temperatures for us tonight. Its greatest impact will be the gusty west winds it brings with it. Gusts this afternoon across west Texas have reached greater than 50mph across a large swath of the region…with some locations exceeding 60mph. Thankfully, these gusty winds will temper a bit overnight and not be quite that strong as the front passes through central Texas and into east Texas buy tomorrow morning. It will be the Canadian front that arrives tomorrow, after the Pacific front, which will have the greatest impact on surface temps for the next couple of days. Lows tonight will drop down into the mid to upper 20s across the western panhandle and portions of far west Texas. For the eastern panhandle, eastern Trans Pecos and Permian Basin region, we’ll be looking at lows just above freezing overnight. For north central down into central and southwest Texas, lows tonight will drop into the mid to the 40s. Ahead of the front overnight, we’ll see some balmy 60 degree readings.
Highs tomorrow, chilly across the northern half of the state, but still quite warm across the southern half with highs once again reaching the 70s and even some low 80s across deep south Texas before the cooler and drier Canadian air has a chance to filter south. After that, a surface high builds in across the state and remains in place for several days keeping us cool and a bit below seasonal averages through the rest of the work week. Looks like we remain quite dry as well with our next chance for rain not showing up until the weekend. More on that in our forecast blogs tomorrow!
Strong Winds & Critical Fire Danger in Western Half of Texas Today
Good morning and welcome to February! It certainly will not feel like it today with very warm temperatures. A strong cold front will push through the northern half of Texas by tomorrow morning. That front and a developing surface low will bring significant weather impacts to the western half of Texas today. We’re not expecting severe thunderstorms with this front but the impacts will be more typical of a dry-season event. We’ve got a lot to talk about so stick with me. I’ll get through the temperature forecasts for today and tonight. After that I’ll dive into the specific-hazards we’re expecting late this morning through late this afternoon.
Temperatures this afternoon will have a fifty degree spread across Texas. The northern Texas Panhandle will feel the effects of the cold front first today. High temperatures in the Panhandle will range from the upper 40s near Texline to the upper 50s by the time you get to Interstate 40 and Amarillo. High temperatures will peak in the lower 60s across the South Plains and Rolling Plains early this afternoon before falling. Well-above average temperatures in the 70s are expected by this afternoon across the Permian Basin, Northwest Texas, North Texas, Northeast Texas, and East Texas. Flat out hot temperatures in the mid to upper 80s will occur this afternoon as downslope winds increase ahead of the cold front across the Concho Valley, Hill Country, and South-Central Texas. The Rio Grande Valley will set new record highs today as temperatures soar into the low and mid 90s. Yes – I just said 90s! It is way too early in the year to be talking about that kind of heat. Today will be the last day we’ll be seeing those readings for a while.
Showers will be possible across North Texas and Northeast Texas this evening through about 5 AM Tuesday. Any rain accumulations will be very light and no severe weather is expected. Another round of fog and warm overnight temperatures will be common across the Rio Grande Valley, Coastal Plains, Southeast Texas, and East Texas tonight. Those locations will be south and east the cold front by sunrise Tuesday. The Hill Country, Central Texas, North Texas, and Texoma will drop off into the mid and upper 40s tonight as a cold front moves through overnight. The Permian Basin, Northwest Texas, South Plains, and Rolling Plains will drop off into the 30s. Finally the Panhandle will drop off into the 20s tonight as cold air advection continues behind the cold front.
A cold front will push east across the Texas Panhandle, South Plains, Rolling Plains, the Permian Basin, and western sections of the Big Country and Concho Valley by this afternoon. Winds will become southwesterly/westerly after the frontal passage. A pressure gradient will build by late morning as a storm system takes shape. That low will eject northeast out of Texas by this evening helping to lessen the pressure gradient. Winds will become very strong by early afternoon across Far West Texas, the Permian Basin, Rolling Plains, South Plains, and the southern half of the Panhandle. Wind gusts up to 70 MPH are possible across the Plains and lower elevations. There is concern that the Guadalupe Mountains could see wind gusts approach 100 MPH during the peak of the event this afternoon. These high winds will also impact much of Southeastern New Mexico. Widespread blowing dust will move across the western half of Texas this afternoon. Reductions in visibility are possible and some locations could see a full-fledged dust storm. If this was a year ago I would be very concerned about a dust-bowl era event. Fortunately we’ve rid ourselves of the drought and thus while we expect blowing dust today – it shouldn’t be ridiculously dense. We’ll see winds start to diminish by dinner time – but they’ll remain noticeable tonight. South winds will become gusty up to around 30 MPH across the eastern half of Texas today and tonight.
Very warm temperatures, low humidity values, and strong winds will once again result in critical fire weather danger across many areas we’ve already talked about above. In addition the fire danger will be very high to critical across Northwest Texas, the Big Country, the Concho Valley, the Hill Country, and western portions of North Central Texas. Any fires that develop could spread rapidly – perhaps explosively in locations where we have the very high winds. Relative humidity values will drop in the 5-20 percent range by early afternoon. Temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s with southwest winds. Outdoor use of flame – including welding – is strongly discouraged today. It only takes one spark to start a field fire and any of those we get today will likely spread rapidly.