Daily Archives: December 5, 2012

Cold and Snow in the Texas Panhandle by Sunday?

Some brutally cold air up in Canada that has been building for some time is about to be released on the Great Plains over the weekend.  For West Texas, models are in agreement that it’s coming, but not in agreement yet on the timing, or on how much moisture will be available courtesy of an upper air disturbance, however even the medium range models now are coming around to the idea of a faster frontal passage through West Texas than previously thought. Perhaps as early as Saturday night in the Panhandle, and then through the rest of the area on Sunday. The above graphic from the National Weather Service in Lubbock illustrates this nicely!

So will it snow?  Well, it might, or we might just get a cold rain or a rain/snow mix.  Right now it appears the best shot at precipitation is confined to the Panhandle and northwestern South Plains, but there is still enough uncertainty yet on amount of moisture and track of the disturbance to narrow it down completely. The below graphic from the National Weather Service in Amarillo shows the current thinking on precipitation.


Unlike our last little cold snap, this one is going to stick around for a little while, likely the end of the week before we start getting a notable warm up. Monday will likely not get out of the 40s in all of West Texas with the exception of Abilene/San Angelo/Sonora which should be in the 50s.  Warmup will be a bit quicker for those locations, but very slow for the Panhandle, South Plains, and Permian Basin over next week.

More later on potential winter precipitation as we get closer to the event and the details become clearer…

Cold Front Arrival bumped to Sunday

New forecast models came in last night bumping the timing of the cold front up just a bit pushing it through the northern parts of the state earlier in the day on Sunday versus Sunday night/Monday as previous runs had shown.   Here’s one look at where the front is now projected to be by Sunday at around Noon.  This is from the American (GFS) forecast model.

Noon Sunday


We’re still looking at the same discrepancies with the precipitation expected with this system in regards to rainfall and snow potential, but both models are still consistently developing rain/storm chances for southeastern parts of the state ahead of the cold front.   I’ve provided two examples below…the first is from the American (GFS) forecast model for rainfall rates and locations predicted for Noon on Sunday.   The second graphic below is for the same time frame, Noon on Sunday, but is from the European forecast Model (ECMWF).  This model has been very consistent with bringing snow to the panhandle behind the front, whereas the GFS has not.  It will likely be another day or two before those two settle their argument and come into more consistency.

 GFS rain forecast at Noon on Sunday 


Euro Model prediction for Rain/Snow at Noon on Sunday

One other trend we might be starting to see is a slight….slight….increase in the minimum temps expected.  We will continue to monitor to see if that trend continues.

With increased confidence in this front arriving earlier than Monday, I guess Saturday will be the prep day for everyone.  Temps look to be quite mild across the state on Saturday…a good opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and get all your stuff done before Old Man Winter blasts through!

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