The radar across Texas is lit up this morning as a very intense upper level storm system pivots into East Texas. The surface low pressure is moving up the middle Texas coast this morning. A dry slot is bringing an end to precipitation in Central Texas. The same can’t be said for Southeast Texas where widespread light to moderate rain is falling. The immediate D/FW Metroplex is getting a small break but we expect additional rain to move in later this morning from the west. On the outer fringe of the system the Panhandle has switched over to light snow this morning. Accumulations up there may locally approach an inch but so far that aspect of this system has underperformed.
The severe weather threat is now limited to Southeast Texas this morning. With widespread precipitation underway the atmosphere has not been able to destabilize. The severe weather threat is low for the moment. What we will have to watch for this morning are any discrete storms moving onshore in Far Southeast Texas – east of a Kirbyville to Winnie line. It looks like the threat for severe weather may ramp up just east of the Southeast Texas/Southwest Louisiana line later this morning into the afternoon hours. It would be great if we got by without any issues but I’m not ready to make that call yet. As the surface low moves up towards Houston by noon we’ll see low level wind shear really ramp up around Beaumont into Louisiana. There will be a small window for tornadic supercells if we can get any surface-based instablity to move onshore from the Gulf. If that doesn’t happen the severe threat will remain low. We’ll have to carefully watch trends to see what happens.
By noon the heaviest rain and thunderstorms should be exiting Southeast Texas and moving into Louisiana. The severe weather risk may be ramping up by this point so we’ll have to watch in case storms get their act together in Far Southeast Texas. Regardless they’ll be out of the state shortly after lunchtime and they’ll take the severe weather risk with them. A widespread cold rain will continue to fall across North Texas and Northeast Texas as precipitation wraps around the backside of the departing low pressure. Rain looks to continue for much of the day across North Texas, Texoma, into Northeast Texas. It won’t be particularly heavy this afternoon but it will make for dreary weather. All precipitation should exit Texas tonight as the low pressure moves further away.
Gusty north to northwest winds are expected behind the rain this afternoon. Wind gusts could exceed 40 MPH in spots as the pressure gradient builds with an intensifying low pressure to our east. Winds will start to diminish this evening as the low moves further away.
The Rio Grande Valley and Deep South Texas missed out on rain overnight. Temperatures will soar to near record levels by this afternoon with highs peaking in the 90s. Gusty southwest winds and relative humidity values in the single digits will promote critical fire weather danger. Any fire that develops could explosively spread and require significant resources to contain. This is one of the more significant fire risks the RGV has faced this winter.
As for temperatures they’ll be much cooler today across the northwestern half of Texas. The western Panhandle will struggle to make it out of the 30s this afternoon. Contrast that with the Rio Grande Valley and Deep South Texas who will top out in the upper 80s to lower 90s this afternoon. Got to love Texas temperature contrasts in the winter! Low temperatures tonight into Wednesday morning will also be noticably cooler across the state. The Panhandle, South Plains, into Far West Texas will fall off into the 20s to lower 30s. 30s to low 40s are expected across Northwest Texas, the Big Country, Concho Valley, Hill Country, Central Texas, North Texas, into Northeast Texas. South-Central Texas, the Brazos Valley, Southeast Texas, and the Coastal Plains will bottom out in the upper 40s tonight. The Rio Grande Valley and Deep South Texas will range from the upper 40s to right around 50 degrees as a cold front pushes south.
Rain chances after tonight shut off for the remainder of the week. Temperatures will moderate and return to seasonal averages by Thursday. Saturday is looking warm with 70s statewide. Our next chance of rain may impact portions of North Texas and Northeast Texas by Sunday night.