The next couple of days will bring warm-weather lovers great joy. High temperatures over the next four days will top out in the upper 50s to upper 70s. During that time frame we’ll see moisture values gradually increase as warm air advection continues from the Gulf of Mexico. By Thursday morning we’re going to have low temperatures in the 60s along and east of Interstate 35. The only spot that’ll be at freezing by Thursday morning will be around Dalhart in the northwestern Texas Panhandle. Chances for fog will be on the increase each morning where temperatures only bottom out in the 50s and 60s – for those locations will be near their dewpoint temperature. As usual we’ll see dense fog around sunrise burn off by late morning. No significant precipitation is expected through Wednesday night.
The primary focus of this forecast will be a dynamic storm system progged to arrive later this week. The eventual path of this storm system will dictate where specific hazards and impacts are felt most. A fairly shallow, but potent cold front is expected to push into parts of Texas on Thursday. The shallow-nature of this front means the cold air will only be about two thousand feet thick, near the surface. Above that shallow airmass we’ll see warm air advection and copious amounts of moisture remain in place. That setup would favor a freezing rain event where surface temperatures are below freezing. We’re not going to dive into potential precipitation types at this point or where the freezing line might set up. Likewise, there is the potential for heavy rainfall and localized flooding if the cold front stalls out and becomes a focal point for continued convection.
Moisture values, measured as precipitable water, could be 200 to 400 percent above usual for January. That means we’re going to be primed for heavy rainfall. The highest chance for very heavy rain, and potential localized flooding, will be where the cold front stalls. Likewise, we could see some pretty high winter weather accumulations where surface temperatures fall below freezing. Those in the Texas Panhandle, West Texas, the Big Country, and Northwest Texas need to closely monitor the forecast for updates this week. There is the potential for a high-impact, damaging ice storm in portions of those regions. Weather models have trended warmer over the past day, which would keep the freezing line well northwest of the D/FW Metroplex. Expect changes to the forecast as there is absolutely nothing locked in stone with a system five days away. The key to who ends up with an ice storm and who ends up with a cold rain will be the freezing line at the surface. We cannot accurately pin that down until we’re much closer in time.