Temperatures will be on the rebound today and on Tuesday. After a cool off this past weekend temperatures will once again return to the above-average category. Those warm temperatures combined with strong winds and low relative humidity will create a multi-day episode of critical fire weather danger. Fire danger will be very high to near critical this afternoon across the Permian Basin, Big Country, Texas Panhandle, South Plains, and Rolling Plains. Fire danger will be higher in Northwest Texas with critical fire weather danger. Warm temperatures today will help increase the ERC (Energy Release Component) in fuels for Tuesday and Wednesday.
A widespread and potentially high-end critical fire weather danger will exist Tuesday afternoon. The high-end critical fire danger will include the Texas Panhandle, South Plains, Rolling Plains, Northwest Texas, Permian Basin, Alpine and Davis Mountains, and Far West Texas. Part of that risk area may be upgraded to extremely critical fire danger in a later outlook. Very high to near critical fire danger will spread into the Big Country, Concho Valley, and western North Texas as well. If the dryline punches further east than expected the fire danger will likewise spread east.
A dynamic upper level storm system will overspread Texas on Wednesday. A dryline will surge towards Interstate 35 by the early afternoon hours. Temperatures west of the dryline will surge into the 80s to 90s. West winds will gust over 30 to 40 MPH. Relative humidity values will plummet into the single digits to low-end teens. Wednesday’s fire weather setup does have similarities to past major wildfire outbreaks across West Texas. Out of all three days Wednesday could be the most significant/widespread with high-end to extremely critical fire danger. Very warm temperatures today and on Tuesday will further increase ERC values for Wednesday. A potential saving grace for the Panhandle and northern sections of West Texas will be a southward moving cold front. Conditions behind the cold front won’t be as severe thanks to cooler temperatures and slightly higher relative humidity values.
We’ll also be watching east of the dryline by Wednesday afternoon. Specifics remain uncertain since we’re still pretty far out. Severe thunderstorms will be possible late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday Night along and east of Interstate 35 from the Red River south into Central Texas. The relative highest severe weather risk looks to be in Northeast Texas and East Texas during the overnight hours Wednesday as a squall line moves east. That squall line could produce damaging wind gusts. The line would at least keep moving east so the risk of additional flooding would be partially negated. If the cap is weak enough and conditions come together we may see a couple supercells fire up in the afternoon hours just east of the dryline. If those supercells form they could impact portions of North Texas, Central Texas, and eventually areas further east. A conditional risk for tornadoes and very large hail would exist with any discrete supercell. At this time forecast confidence is too low to explicitly call for those hazards. It is something we will have to watch for as we get closer to Wednesday. Please check back frequently for forecast updates on this potential severe weather setup.
The squall line will exit Texas by lunchtime on Thursday if not a bit sooner. Behind it temperatures will be cooler thanks to a cool front. Thursday night is looking chilly with lows falling back into the 30s and 40s once again.