Widespread bands of snow continue to pound the northern portions of west Texas from the northern Permian Basin up into the rolling plains, southern and central panhandle. Sleet and freezing rain has also been reported across a wide swath of western north Texas and also down across the western hill country region with accumulations ranging from light to over 1/4 inches. As the low pressure system continues to move northeast overnight, winter precip will continue to move northeast with it and expand further east across north central Texas by late tonight. Temperatures across western north Texas are currently hovering close to and just above freezing, but once they dip below freezing overnight, we expect to see a changeover to all snow with accumulations ranging 4 to 8 inches for areas west of Wichita Falls, and 1 to 4 inches expected further east. It’s likely that counties immediately west of Dallas Ft. Worth metro will see some accumulating winter precipitation overnight, but it will not be as crippling as what we’ve seen across the southern panhandle. The DFW metroplex itself will likely see some mix of winter precip overnight as well, but with temperatures not expected to drop down below freezing, no significant impacts to roadways tomorrow morning are expected at this time.
Further south across parts of the Big Country and northern Edwards Plateau region, temps will also drop to the freezing mark but the threat of winter precipitation is expected to remain on the lighter side with just a few inches of slushy accumulation on the roadways by morning. No impacts from winter weather are expected for the Austin or San Antonio metro areas.
For the panhandle and rolling plains…both the blowing winds and heavy snowfall will begin to decrease by early Monday morning as the low pressure system continues to move northeast overnight. All of the snow should come to an end and be shifting east by mid-morning tomorrow, if not sooner. Clouds will also begin to scatter out and even with temperatures expected to remain below freezing across the area tomorrow, the sun’s radiant energy will begin to help melt the snow. It will still take multiple days for the region to dig out of underneath the feet of drifts, but at least the cleanup can begin.
Lastly, here’s a look at what the radar might look like overnight to about 10am tomorrow…plus our overnight lows for tonight and forecast highs for Monday. Temperature trends this week are expected to remain at or below average for much of the week.
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.
For this evening, we expect ongoing showers and thunderstorms to gradually diminish as we lose daytime heating. Best chances for isolated to spotty residual rain activity will be along the coast/coastal plains up into east and southeast Texas. As our next cold front approaches from the north overnight, we will also see an uptick in chances for rain/thunder across the panhandle along and behind the frontal boundary.
The timing of the front is a bit uncertain at this time, but they do have a habit of traveling a little faster than what the models show, so here is our best guess at this time. Amarillo and Lubbock before 10am tomorrow…Wichita Falls around 11am…DFW between 11am and 1pm…Waco and central Texas after 4pm. Based on current models, it looks like a reinforcement of cooler and drier air will arrive after dark tomorrow and really drive the front towards the coast by early Saturday morning. Along and ahead of the front tomorrow will be the best chances for rain and storm activity…especially across central and south central Texas as the front pushes through there during peak daytime heating. We aren’t expecting widespread severe, but we could see a few stronger cells with gusty winds and heavy downpours. We will take another look at the potential frontal timing and storm chances and update that early tomorrow.
Lows tonight, mild and in the 70s across a majority of the state. Pleasantly cooler temps will reside across the panhandle and over into west Texas. Tomorrow’s highs will still be quite warm out ahead of the front…but once it passes…take a look at the forecast lows for Friday night and highs for Saturday! Not bad at all!
The Climate Prediction Center released their monthly update with their projections for the next few months. No real big shockers with this update as a predicted strong El Nino pattern should greatly influence our weather this winter. We should begin to see more noticable changes towards the end of October into November and onward. Although some might say the cold front that brought 50s to parts of Texas this morning could be a result of El Nino, for the most part, the effects of El Nino are felt primarily in the fall and winter months. Several locations did set new record temperatures today. Wichita Falls dropped down to 56 this morning which broke the previous record minimum temperature of 57 set in 1940. And Waco set a new record minimum high of 74 which broke the previous record minimum high of 80 set back in 1953.
To sum up the latest outlook for September through November, the northwest half of Texas has a 30 to 40 percent chance of experiencing below-average temperatures this fall. Folks across the southeast half of Texas have an equal chance of below-average, average, or above-average temperatures. Most of the state has a 30 to 40 percent chance of receiving above-average precipitation this fall. That will be especially true towards November which is typically a rainy period for our state.
As we transition into winter, the impacts from El Nino should become more noticeable. All of Texas has an increased chance of experiencing below-average temperatures this winter. Those across the southern half of Texas will be happy to know they have a 50/50 shot of below-average temperatures this winter. Although that higher chance could be attributed to the higher average temperatures compared to folks further north.
We continue to expect a relatively active winter in the precipitation department as well. The state has a 40 to 50 percent probability of experiencing above average precipitation this winter. For those wondering – combine precipitation chances with below-freezing temperatures and you have the making of winter storms. These outlooks are not meant to say that there is a higher chance specifically for winter storms, but the likelihood of a combination of precipitation and below freezing temperatures increases. Many factors still need to come together exactly right to support winter weather in Texas, so there’s no guarantee we’ll see more ice or snow. If you have one factor out of place, you may end up with just a cold rain, or no precipitation at all. Still, I’d be surprised if we didn’t have at least a few wintery weather events.
Keep in mind that it only takes one day with several inches of rain to make a month ‘above average’ even if no more rain falls. Likewise a few very cold days in a month does not mean every day will be cold. Some days will have above-average temperatures like Texas is known for. Our summers may be hot and humid but at least we have a few warm winter days, too!
Still A Bit Warm Overnight – Slightly Cooler Air Arrives Tomorrow
Well, for what was supposed to be a relatively quiet and mostly non-stormy afternoon down in the Houston/Galveston area, the atmosphere certainly exceeded its 10 to 20% chance of rain today as strong storms have rolled through in the past hour. We’ve also had some isolated development up in the panhandle, a few pop-up showers earlier across the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area and a few across central Texas as well. Most of this activity has developed along a weak cool front that moved into the state yesterday. We’ll continue to see rain and storm activity, mainly across southeast Texas, for a few more hours until we lose daytime heating. Here’s a look at simulated radar through the evening and overnight.
Unfortunately, the front didn’t do much to cool temps behind it. Dallas still reached 104 today, Waco reached 106, Wichita Falls reached 99 and Tyler reached 105. Tomorrow, cooler air will begin to move in. Not that much cooler, but we should begin to see highs under 100 degrees across more of northern Texas behind the stalled front. Humidity levels will also begin to drop and we’ll continue that trend of cooler temps and less humidity into the weekend.
For tonight…lows will be warm and in the upper 70s to low 80s especially for areas south of the weak frontal boundary. For the panhandle and mountain areas of western Texas, pleasant lows in the mid 60s.