Daily Archives: December 18, 2012

High Wind Event for West Texas on Wednesday 12/19/2012



High Wind event that we told you a few days ago is now about 12 hours away!

As depicted in the graphic from the National Weather Service office in Lubbock, TX, a strong upper level system will be moving out into the central plains, and as is usually the case with systems that take this route, we are once again on the dry and windy side of things.

Highest upper level winds should be over western Texas by morning on Wednesday, although it appears there may be some lingering early clouds. If so, that will help keep the winds down a bit until later. Moisture will move east and deep mixing will begin and bring those winds down to the surface.


HIGH WIND WARNINGS have been posted for a wide area, including all of northwest Texas, and most of southwest Texas, along with eastern and central New Mexico. All of the area in light brown in the above graphic is under the High Wind Warnings, with High Wind Watches in the darker brown areas in Oklahoma and Kansas. A good deal of the area is also under RED FLAG WARNINGS as fire weather will be critical, especially in an area along and about 100 miles either side of a line from the Big Bend northeastward to the Childress area, as depicted in the graphic below.


Across Northwest Texas, we can expect sustained winds in the 35-45 mph range, with gusts above 60 mph! Winds may be a tad less across the Permian Basin and in the southwest in the plains area east of the mountains, since they are farther south from this storm system, but nonetheless will still be quite high at 30-40 mph gusting to 60 mph.

Guadalupe Pass area may see gusts as high as 100 mph! I expect DPS will close the road through the pass tomorrow due to the high winds.

This even will bring about several concerns, the first of which is FIRE! It doesn’t take much to get a massive wildfire going under the conditions we are expecting, so please be very diligent. Even that “harmless” cigarette butt you throw out the window can cause a fire consuming 1000s of acres as well as homes and livestock. Keep it in the car! Also don’t burn any trash or any other outdoor activities that involve fire or sparks. Winds will also be high enough to cause power line/pole failures, which can also spark off wildfires.

Travel will be hazardous, especially those travelling north/south, and in higher profile vehicles. In eastern New Mexico, as well as the Northern Permian basin and northward into the South Plains and Panhandle, dust will be at it’s worst, and we can expect zero visibilities in some areas next to open fields and contruction areas. Please slow down when visibilities go down this far. You might think you can handle it, but up might unknowingly be driving into a 10 car pileup! Please adjust to the driving conditions.

By midday, the system to our north will introduce a strong cold front in the Panhandle that will quickly move southward. The highest winds in the Panhandle in fact may be the strongest after the cold front passes with the post-frontal gusts 55-60mph.

This cold front should clear the South Plains by evening. Winds should be on the decrease after dark, and the front ushering in much cooler weather with temps in the Panhandle on Thursday in the 40s and the rest of of West Texas may struggle to make it out of the 50s.

We’ll also bring you more later on the potential winter storm for Texas the week of Christmas!

Increasing threat of a Major Winter Storm

With each updated forecast model run, we are continuing to see signs of a major winter storm developing that will impact not just northern Texas but almost the entire midwest around Christmas.  The likely timeframe for impacts looks to be from Christmas day through maybe the 27th or 28th.  Again, too early to be exact on the timing, but what I really want to address here right now is just to be aware of the potential travel impacts this may have.

Here is a forecast graphic showing potential snow accumulation totals as of January 1st at 7pm.  Now…do keep in mind this is just a bunch of math coming up with these totals, so don’t get too focused on that for now.  What we look at when evaluating these model forecasts is trends and patterns.  The pattern that is beginning to stay consistent with each new model output is there will most likely be some form of major winter weather affecting the plains the week of Christmas thru New Years.

7pm new years day

If you are planning to travel north into Oklahoma or Kansas for the holidays…or anywhere in the midwest really… please consider making alternate plans now…just in case.  It’s always better to be prepared.  If you have family and friends in the southern plains or midwest areas that could be impacted by this system next week, consider contacting them now to give them a heads up that they need to start paying attention to their local forecast and think about making preparations.  A dumping of snow like this could leave some areas not only without power for awhile, but could potentially make roads impassable and leave folks stranded at home or wherever they may be at the time.

We’re not saying cancel plans you have or anything like that…just be aware…maybe reach out to see if family is flexible on travel days, etc. just in case you have to move travel days just a bit.  We will continue to monitor this and keep you up to date as the forecast becomes more solid.  But for now,  we just wanted to make you all aware of this possibility…that it’s a trend we’re continuing to see…so you all can be as in the know as possible.

Spring-like Temperatures for Today

Temperatures are cooler this morning than they have been the past few days, but are near their seasonal averages. That means a coat would be a good item to have as you head out. Don’t let the cool morning deceive you, temperatures across the state will quickly warm into the 60s and 70s by noon. Temperatures will be warmest in the Valley and South Texas with highs topping above 80 degrees. Further north, temperatures will range from 68 to 75 degrees. The Texas Panhandle will be a bit cooler with high temperatures topping out in the upper 50s.

Winds will be calmer today state-wide, especially in West Texas where they had issues with dust on Monday. The respite will be short-lived as winds pick up again overnight tonight and especially on Wednesday. A rather high-impact wind event is possible in West Texas on Wednesday with widespread blowing dust. No rain is expected anywhere in Texas today.

We’ll have more on Wednesday’s issues with our afternoon discussion along with more on next week’s potential Christmas storm. I’ll leave you with the temperature forecast for your specific area. Have a good Tuesday!

7 AM Temperatures

7 AM Temperatures

12 PM Temperatures

12 PM Temperatures

4 PM & High Temperatures

4 PM & High Temperatures

9 PM Temperatures

9 PM Temperatures

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