A challenging forecast is in the cards for our next storm system arriving tomorrow. This next system is currently racing southeast across the intermountain west, gathering a considerable amount of strength before it arrives tomorrow. This system will quickly deepen and become cut off from the main jet stream flow over west Texas by tomorrow afternoon. The return flow of gulf moisture will ramp up between now and then and we’ll see an increase in spotty showers overnight and into early tomorrow. By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll begin to see an uptick in storm coverage mainly across the eastern third of the state. Some thunder and small hail will be possible, but as of right now, the threat for any widespread severe weather looks fairly low due to only meager instability and somewhat shallow moisture return. Strong wind shear may win out over the meager instability and shallow moisture, so a few rotating updrafts will be possible, but again, this will likely not be a widespread threat. The Storm Prediction Center currently has much of eastern Texas under a Marginal Risk (Level 1) for a few strong to severe storms mainly during the mid to late afternoon hours tomorrow.
The main issue tomorrow will be very strong winds as the deepening low strengthens across west Texas. High Wind Warnings will be in effect tomorrow morning and lasting through Friday morning across the entire Texas panhandle region, parts of western north Texas and down into the West Texas Trans Pecos region. Gusts upwards of 65 miles per hour…basically 9mph short of being categorized as Cat 1 hurricane force winds…will be possible along with sustained winds averaging between 40 and 50mph. Further to the east and south, Wind Advisories are in place tomorrow afternoon through Friday morning with gusts between 45-55mph possible. Within all the Wind Advisory areas, downed limbs are likely to cause a few power outages and it will make driving difficult especially on east/west roads. Forget styling your hair tomorrow and keep both hands on the steering wheel!
As for the snow forecast…that remains tricky. As this system will be basically developing right on top of us, there’s only so much “forecasting” that can be done ahead of time. What we can say now is that the locations most likely to see any amount of snow tomorrow evening and into the overnight hours will be west of the DFW metroplex where we currently have Winter Storm Watches in place. Any location within this area could see anywhere from a trace to 5 inches of wet and sloppy snow fall late tomorrow. Keep in mind that any shift in the currently forecasted track of the approaching upper level system could lead to some rather significant changes in the current outlook for wintry weather. The current forecast models are keeping the center of the low fairly far south which is decreasing the chance for it to tap into colder air and generate more widespread snowfall. If the low happens to shift north 50 or 75 miles and is able to tap into cooler air, we could see better coverage of snow across more of north central Texas. Unfortunately, we won’t know what will happen until it happens, so the main message with this threat of wintry weather is to BE PREPARED…just in case. We urge everyone to follow their local broadcast Media and your National Weather Service’s local forecast office for the latest. We’ll also strive to keep everyone updated as well, especially if significant changes are expected.