Good morning and happy Thursday! Today marks the beginning of a significant change in weather with two distinct weather events affecting the state today and through the weekend. Today’s blog will focus on the first event which is the passage of the cold front and the possibility of winter precipitation today through Friday. The second distinct weather event will occur on Sunday as an upper level low moves west across the area bringing the chance for additional winter precipitation. In order to keep this blog from rambling on, we’ll address the secondary event at a later time.
Starting off this morning…the timing for the arrival of the cold front has increased significantly since yesterday’s forecast. The front is running about 12 hours faster than previous projections and is currently beginning its push into the Oklahoma panhandle region, and by noon today, the front is expected to have made it through most of the Texas panhandle. Frontal timing for the DFW metro area is expected after dark this evening…somewhere around 10pm to midnight…and through Waco/Killeen by about 2am. By sunrise tomorrow, the front should be pushing through the Austin/San Antonio area, and by 6pm tomorrow, should be clearing the coastline. Yesterday, the Storm Prediction Center had put a portion of northwest and north central Texas under a risk for severe weather, but later removed that risk due to the acceleration of the cold front and the anticipation that the cold air will undercut and prohibit the formation of more robust storms. Still, a few strong to severe storms could develop along and just behind the front this afternoon and evening. The main threats with any of the stronger storms that develop will be damaging winds, frequent lightning and some hail.
Here’s an overall look at the timing of the front. It’s not unusual for cold fronts to move faster than model forecasts, so just use the graphics below as a rough guideline.
Now for the winter weather potential…Winter Weather Advisories are now in effect for most of the Texas and OK panhandles for light icing and snow tonight and through Friday. As the ground is still warm, accumulation is expected only on elevated surfaces such as bridges and minimal impacts are expected on the roadways. Nevertheless, use caution if you have to be driving out and about tonight and tomorrow. A Freeze Watch is also in effect for areas west of the Pecos river for tomorrow (Friday) night. As this situation continues to develop, it would not surprise me to see additional Advisories posted further south and east. We will continue to monitor and bring you the latest info.