The weather today for most could be described as a misty, foggy mess. We are anticipating an uptick in actual rain tonight and into Sunday across the eastern half of Texas. A few thunderstorms are possible and those may produce small hail. Severe weather is not expected and the level one severe weather risk previously in place for Northeast Texas has shoved into AR/LA. Our main focus will be on the impending arrival of the much-discussed arctic cold front. Actual air temperatures will be 20 to 40 degrees below-average behind the front. Northerly winds of doom are going to make for very unpleasant and downright dangerous (for some) wind chills tomorrow through Tuesday.
Snow tonight in the Texas Panhandle
Before discussing the cold front in earnest let’s cover the snow threat. A quick-hitting round of snow is expected tonight and Sunday morning in the Texas Panhandle. The highest chance of accumulations will be north of Interstate 40 with 1 to 3 inches of snow possible. Generally speaking, overall accumulations will be light. However, given very cold surface temperatures, anything that does fall will likely accumulate on roadways. Temperatures dropping into the single digits and teens with snow does not bode well for road conditions. Give yourself extra time if heading out tomorrow.
Brief freezing drizzle in Northwest Texas and Texoma on Sunday?
There is a low chance that some light freezing drizzle may occur in Northwest Texas and Texoma tomorrow morning as temperatures fall below freezing. As is typical for us precipitation will be coming to an end as temperatures fall below freezing. If the front is a bit faster than anticipated we could see a brief period of freezing precipitation. Widespread travel impacts aren’t expected, but that freezing drizzle would result in a few slick bridges. This isn’t explicitly forecast as of this posting, but something to watch for just in case Mother Nature wants to troll.
You’ll know the cold front has arrived when…
You’ll know when the cold front has arrived at your location tomorrow when winds start gusting out of the north at 15 to 30 MPH. Temperatures will drop several degrees, but the ‘big plunge’ may lag behind by several hours. Weather models are being aggressive in having this front move into the Texas Panhandle this evening, through the northern half of Texas by sunrise, and out into the Gulf of Mexico and through the Rio Grande Valley by 3 PM Sunday. Given the very potent arctic airmass behind the front, I don’t see a reason to think differently. Sure, the front’s timing may change by a few hours, but it’s going to be booking it faster than a family trying to get to the beach for vacation.
Wind chill readings by Monday morning will be below zero across the Texas Panhandle. Single digit wind chills are expected as far south as the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, into North Texas. Those in the Hill Country, Central Texas, South-Central Texas, Brazos Valley, and East Texas will have wind chills in the teens. Wind chills in the 20s are expected into South Texas and Southeast Texas. Texas is a big state and climates differ by regions. Wind chills in the 20s in South Texas are quite cold for them just as wind chills in the single digits are quite cold for Texoma.
Monday and Tuesday will be quite cold with the northern half of Texas struggling to get above freezing on Monday. We note that a hard freeze is expected well into the Hill Country. That’ll be a problem for all the vegetation that has already started blooming. Bring your pets and plants indoors and keep them warm! Our cold snap will start moderating on Wednesday. By Thursday and Friday temperatures will be back up into the 60s, 70s, and even 80s with an early spring preview next weekend. The spring tornado season probably isn’t all that far off.