It’s about time we have some actual weather to talk about, besides fire weather and drought that is. There is the potential for a few strong to severe storms, locally heavy rainfall, and even some winter mischief over the next twenty-four hours. The good news is we need the rain, and the severe weather and winter weather threats look to be on the low-end of the impact spectrum. Remember that even though the severe weather and winter weather threats look to be limited, it doesn’t matter if you end up being directly impacted.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed a ‘marginal’ level one risk of severe weather for this evening in portions of North-Central Texas and the Brazos Valley expanding eastward into Northeast Texas and East Texas. This is not a setup where we expect high-end severe weather. The marginal severe weather risk has been issued for the risk of a few hailers. Hail sizes will probably remain below severe limits (quarter size) for the most part, but a few rowdy storms may briefly produce quarter size hail.
Instability values will be marginally supportive for a few stronger storms with hail. As for the low-level atmospheric thermodynamics, it looks like we should be fairly stable. That stable layer will keep the threat of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes very low to minimal. We will need to keep an eye on the immediate coast from the Coastal Plains into Southeast Texas tonight just in case we see a brief tornado threat develop. That risk is low enough that it has not even been classified in the severe weather outlook. Don’t be surprised if that changes a bit later, but just like farther north – it would be a marginal risk.
Rain chances are looking fairly good across the eastern half of Texas by tonight. Increased rain chances will spread south on Wednesday as a cold front begins to stall out. We will see a colder airmass north of the front, but it will be short-lived with temperatures starting to recover by Thursday. Widespread rain totals of a tenth of an inch up to one-half inch are expected. A heavier band of rain (possibly thunderstorms) could bring heavier totals up to one and a half inches to portions of Northeast Texas and East Texas. Flooding is not expected, although as always be mindful of low-water crossings after a heavy rainfall.
It wouldn’t be February without a mention of winter weather. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 3pm this afternoon until Midnight for several counties north of the DFW metroplex: Cooke, Jackson,Grayson, Montague and Wise. There is a chance of very light freezing drizzle to light freezing rain across portions of Texoma and North Texas later this afternoon and during the late evening hours. This would occur as temperatures fall below freezing behind an arctic cold front. Unfortunately, depending on which short-range forecast model you look at, surface temperatures may or may not be at or below freezing when we have precipitation falling, so confidence in the possibility of more widespread freezing rain across north central Texas is a bit uncertain…even this close to the actual event. At this time any accumulations are expected to be light. Surface roadways should remain just wet thanks to the recent warm weather, but rural and low-lying areas could see some precipitation freezing on contact later this evening, especially if temperatures end up a few degrees cooler than currently forecast. Plus, if we do see freezing drizzle/freezing rain late this evening, there could be a few slick bridges remaining overnight and early tomorrow with temperatures expected to be in the 20s. We’ll keep tabs on this prospect through the day and post updates as needed. Again, there is some uncertainty on the amount of precipitation that may fall in the sub-freezing airmass. Freezing rain would be the primary winter precipitation mode due to a layer of warm air aloft – known as a ‘warm nose’.