Forecast confidence is increasing that the Texas panhandle and parts of the south plains and far western Texas will be impacted by a significant winter storm beginning Saturday afternoon and lasting through early Monday. By early Saturday, a strong upper level system will be approaching from the west, becoming cut off and lingering in close proximity to western Texas a good 48 hours before ejecting off to the northeast. A strong cold front will also arrive early Saturday and quickly drop temperatures across much of the panhandle down to freezing by Saturday afternoon. Wintry precipitation is expected to begin by Saturday afternoon or evening, increasing in intensity by early Sunday with periods of heavy snow continuing into early Monday. Blizzard conditions are also likely with strong north winds behind the cold front. Exact details have not been nailed down yet, and likely won’t be until we get closer to the weekend, but folks with travel plans across this region will need to begin making alternate plans now with the expectation of several days of travel disruption across the area.
I know the next question will be…”Will this make it to Dallas or Ft. Worth???” The answer right now is no…not likely. While north central Texas will see abundant rainfall across the region this weekend (and we’ll address that in a different blog) most of the forecast models are keeping this winter system off to the northwest with no impacts for the DFW metro area. We will continue to watch for any changes in the track or strength of the system in case any of that changes.
Snowfall accumulations across the panhandle may reach or exceed 6 inches, with some pockets of 12+ inches also possible. Both of our long-range forecast models showing a greater amount of consistency than we were seeing a few days ago which is why the forecast confidence in this significant winter storm is increasing…and concerning. Blowing snow is pretty much a given which will pile it up in some places more than others, so we’ll likely see quite a varied amount of snowfall reports across the region before it’s all said and done. In addition to blowing snow, residents across the region will also experience some pretty brutal wind chills on Sunday…likely down into the single digits…with strong north winds expected behind the front. Again, if you had planned on travel across this region this weekend, it would be best to pick a different route to your ultimate destination.