Our next chance for precipitation will be Saturday Night into Sunday as a cold front moves through the state. Widespread severe weather is not expected at this time and we’ll refine specific precipitation chances in a later forecast. Some snow is possible in the Panhandle with minor accumulations a possibility. Otherwise our primary forecast concern will be an elevated to critical fire weather risk during the afternoon hours today. This is not as extreme as Wednesday’s conditions that brought a wildfire outbreak to the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma/Kansas.
Fire danger will be very high to near critical across Far West Texas, the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, Big Country, and western North Texas. Critical fire weather conditions are expected this afternoon across the South Plains, Rolling Plains, eastern Texas Panhandle, and Northwest Texas. Relative humidity values will drop to near 10 percent in the critical zone by early afternoon. Winds will be sustained at 10 to 20 MPH with gusts up to 25 MPH. While those aren’t even half the wind gusts we saw on Wednesday it’ll still push any fire that gets going. Luckily fire crews have a good containment line on both the Interstate 40 fire west of Shamrock and on the nearly 50k acre wildfire northwest of Pampa. No doubt crews will be monitoring those fires closely. Fire danger will begin to wane by sunset as temperatures drop and relative humidity values increase.
After cooling off for Thursday temperatures are back on the climb today. High temperatures will range from right around 70 degrees in the eastern third of Texas up into the lower 80s in the Permian Basin and Rio Grande Valley. It’ll be a nice early spring day and a great way to end the work week. Skies will be mostly sunny with a few clouds on the increase by late in the day across the Panhandle and West Texas. It’ll be a bit windy this afternoon but you should expect nothing less for March. At least we won’t have Kansas topsoil falling on us today.
With southerly winds today temperatures tonight will also be warmer than this morning. Lows will only make it into the upper 40s to low 50s across the eastern two-thirds of Texas. Areas of fog are expected in Deep South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley where temperatures will drop off into the lower 60s tonight. With a dry airmass still entrenched across the Panhandle and West Texas temperatures will be comparatively colder with lows in the lower to middle 30s. The higher elevations around Alpine will also drop off into the 30s. Partly cloudy skies are expected with local patches of mostly cloudy conditions tonight.