I take one day off and mother nature decides to give the D/FW metroplex a little freezing drizzle. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, except temperatures were in the middle 20s. Freezing drizzle can be much more impactful at those lower temperatures compared to the lower 30s. Fortunately, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing a repeat of the freezing drizzle turning bridges in North Texas to garbage this morning. Temperatures in the metroplex are hovering right around freezing. We may see a slick bridge or two in Texoma where temperatures are a bit colder, but impacts would be short-lived and limited. In fact, this threat will mostly be over by the time you read this post.
Some will be in the 80s today. More will be in the 40s
Remember a few days ago where I stated today was going to be quite warm across all of Texas? Yeah, crashy the cold front had other plans. Specifically, the shallow arctic airmass that are notoriously difficult to erode. The continued presence of that airmass across the eastern half of Texas will result in high temperatures only topping out in the 40s across Texoma, North Texas, and Northeast Texas. Farther to the west temperatures will end up being 30 to 40 degrees warmer with the upper 70s to lower 80s anticipated in the Permian Basin and Concho Valley. I’m using the North American Model (NAM) temperature plots for the forecast this afternoon and on Saturday. The reasoning is that the NAM (for short) typically depicts these shallow arctic airmasses more accurately compared to more coarse weather model guidance.
Saturday’s temperature forecast
An initial cold front will arrive in portions of the Texas Panhandle, Northwest Texas, Big Country, and North Texas tonight into Saturday. This isn’t the big mean arctic outbreak of doom, but it will result in northerly winds and below-average temperatures for March. Widespread cloud cover and the chance of rain won’t help matters tomorrow.
Today is indeed the first day of March along with the start of meteorological spring. It is also the first day of the 2019 Spring storm chase season, but that’s become less important to me over the years since I’ve chased tornadoes the day after Christmas, on New Year’s Eve, and in February. Still, I’ll admit the desire to get back out and document storms is increasing.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Excluding those aforementioned regions that look to remain on the ‘cold’ side of mother nature, tomorrow’s temperatures will top out in the 60s, 70s, to 80s everywhere else.
The weekend is looking wet!
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible across the eastern two-thirds of Texas on Saturday, Saturday Night, and into Sunday. Numerous showers are likely Saturday night across North Texas, Northeast Texas, and in East Texas – with higher rain chances spreading south into Sunday. You can get the specific chance of rain for your location from the National Weather Service here.
Winter weather potential on Saturday/Saturday Night in the Texas Panhandle
Those precipitation chances depicted across the Texas Panhandle would be in the form of winter precipitation. At this time the northern half of the Texas Panhandle would have the best chances of seeing minor snow accumulations while those along and south of Interstate 40 could see a freezing rain/sleet/snow mix. Overall accumulations look light (1-2 inches of snow in the northern Panhandle), but any accumulations with temperatures falling into the teens could cause hazardous road conditions.
Rain totals averaging between one-half inch and one inch are expected across eastern North Texas, Northeast Texas, and East Texas with this weekend’s system. Lower rain amounts extend west across North Texas, the Brazos Valley, Southeast Texas, and into the Texas Panhandle. We are not anticipating much of a flood threat at this time, but very localized issues (low-water crossing) can’t be ruled out.
It’s only fitting that we’re talking about a severe weather threat on the first day of meteorological spring. We do indeed have a level one risk of severe weather across Northeast Texas for Saturday night into Sunday morning. Instability values will be lacking and the stronger storms will generally be capable of producing small hail. However, we can’t rule out a brief severe storm with nickel to quarter size hail. Tornadoes and damaging wind gusts look very unlikely as the near-surface layer will have zero instability. (AKA: it’ll be cool/stable at the surface).
Winter returns with a vengeance and a nasty north wind of doom
Our much-advertised arctic blast will arrive on Sunday across Texas. The big impact will be the northerly winds of doom and associated ridiculous wind chills. You’ll know when the cold front has arrived on Sunday as north winds will be blasting well into Monday. We note that wind chill temperatures in the teens are possible as far south as the Permian Basin, Hill Country, Central Texas, to East Texas Monday morning.
Wind chill readings in the single digits to near zero are expected across the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, Northwest Texas, and Texoma. Those could be a decent shock to the system given the recent warm weather. Amarillo will top out at 70 degrees this afternoon, so that’s a drop of about 60 to 70 degrees (with the wind chill factored in) by Sunday night. I may be conservative with these temperature projections as some data (and forecasts) are running 5 to 10 degrees colder than the graphic shown above. Regardless, Monday morning and Tuesday morning are going to be very cold by early March standards, and in fact, probably one of the coldest mornings this winter.
Excluding El Paso who will top out in the 70s on Monday, we’re going to see temperatures 20 to 40 degrees below average for early March. Those along and north of Interstate 20 from the Permian Basin to the D/FW metroplex will likely not get above freezing on Monday. Most folks may not get out of the 20s. Brutal north winds will keep wind chills in the single digits and teens. Those along and north of Interstate 10 from Junction to Houston will remain in the 40s with wind chills in the 30s. Temperatures will remain cold into Tuesday and cool on Wednesday.
By the end of the work week, we’ll see temperatures moderate and could be back above-average by Friday with 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s across Texas.
Snow on Monday?
We’re not expecting winter weather on Sunday (excluding the Panhandle) due to drier air moving in as temperatures fall below freezing. However, some weather models are hinting at a weak upper-level storm system moving across the northern half of Texas on Monday. That may result in some snow flurries to light snow showers for some. We’re way too far out to talk about that seriously, but its something to watch since temperatures would be cold enough to support all snow. I know, I’m just fanning the snow dreams, but without dreams what are we?