Posts Tagged ‘southwest texas’
Severe Weather Coming to West Texas Saturday 02/09/2013
- Published on Friday, 08 February 2013 17:16
- David Drummond
- 0 Comments
HIGH WIND and RED FLAG WARNINGS for SOUTHWEST TEXAS through Saturday
All our recent spring-like weather is about to first get even more spring-like, and then remind us that it’s still the winter season here in West Texas. I’m a little short on time here, so I’m going to borrow heavily from our local NWS offices for some graphics here (very much appreciated guys and gals!)
Our first really spring-like day will be Saturday as a very strong upper level trough that is currently over the southwestern U.S. begins affecting West Texas weather, with a typical spring dryline setup in the eastern half of west Texas, and a windy setup west of the dryline.
Indications at this time are the dryline will setup from Amarillo to Lubbock roughly along the I27 corridor, and then further south bisecting the Permian Basin through the Midland/Odessa area.
Already surface winds have shifted around to the southeast to begin the process of advecting gulf moisture up into western Texas, however a quick look across the area, dewpoints are at this time still pretty meager in only the teens to 20s range. That however is forecast to change by Saturday, where low 50s dewpoints are expected east of the dryline all the way up to the I27 area at least, which is pretty impressive for early February.
This moisture, combined with daytime heating and more than ample vertical wind shear will produce an environment favorable for supercells, and their typical severe weather, including large hail and tornadoes.
Right now it appears the absolute most favored area for this to happen is in the southeast Panhandle, probably around the Silverton to Childress area, but storms could fire anywhere up and down the dryline.
I am however concerned about amounts of instability, or the lack thereof actually. With this much vertical wind shear available, you need strong updrafts to be able to stand up enough in it to organize rather than get sheared apart, and that may prove to be the fly in the ointment, as daytime highs east of the dryline on Saturday may struggle to reach 70F. We really need some more daytime heating to make this a more potent severe weather maker.
That said, there are many favorable parameters and we need to be aware of the potential as this evolves as we move toward Saturday and not discount the possibility too much. I feel like we’ll see some storms, perhaps even some elevated supercells (which usually turns out to hinder tornado production) so high wind and large hail I think will be the primary threats at this time.
Should higher instability happen (as one model predicts) or one or two of these storms really get organized enough to become rooted into the boundary layer, then certainly the overall severe threat increases with one of these storms, including the tornado threat. I’ll be watching this one closely over the next 48 hours as the data comes in. Altogether, this is an impressive setup for West Texas for early February for sure.
Timing is also a factor as it appears right now around 6pm may be the favored time for storms to get going, right as we loose all daytime heating. Will the forcing from this system be able to pull it off? We’ll have to see how it evolves. One of the models I’m looking at generates some line segment storms along the dryline, then evolves that into a squall line the further east it gets that goes on to affect most of the rest of the State to our east. This of course increases rain chances for anyone east of the dryline, with any activity that gets going making its way eastward.
Back west, high winds will be the story. High Wind Warnings already posted for the typical high terrain areas of the Guadalupe Mountains and mountain areas of Southwest Texas.
Winds around 45 gusting to 60 mph around the Guadalupe Pass area and gusting to around 50 through the Ft. Davis/Alpine areas. Areas over 6000ft especially at risk for higher winds. Wind Advisories are also out for the surrounding areas and even into southeast NM where winds will gust into the 45mph range. Of course blowing dust also a concern, especially north of I20 and west of the dryline. North/South travelers in high profile vehicles will have hazardous driving conditions, as well as sudden low visibility situations near open fields and construction areas.
Fire Weather is also a concern, as it typically is when things are dry and the winds are up in west Texas. Red Flag Warnings have been posted across all of southwest Texas, southern and eastern New Mexico as well as a Fire Weather Watch for areas west of the dryline in the western Panhandle/South Plains. Some of this wind will carry over into Sunday as well, althought not as strong, but will still hold over some fire weather concerns.
If all this weather isn’t exciting enough for you, another low pressure system will be heading our way the beginning of the week, along with some colder temperatures and plenty of moisture, which could bring some snow, perhaps even some heavy snow to northwest Texas…especially in the Panhandle. Still plenty of uncertainties, but that is your heads up, and I’ll have more on that as the time gets closer.
01/07/2013 Droughtbusting Rain coming to West Texas?
- Published on Monday, 07 January 2013 12:29
- David Drummond
- 0 Comments
Once again Texas will be visited by a Pacific storm system coming out of northern Mexico, and this one promises to bring…dare I say it…lots and lots of rain to nearly every part of Texas!
The graphic above from the National Weather Service in Lubbock, Texas depicts how we expect this next system to affect Texas.
Currently, our storm system is located in extreme southeast California, depicted in the water vapor satellite image below, and will continue moving south-southeast into northern Mexico before making a turn and heading right for Texas. This one approaches us similar to our previous storm system that dropped over 10″ of snow in parts of southwest Texas last week, however, this one is forecast to dig even further south, and should move a bit slower, into northern Mexico before heading into Texas, and this system is stronger than the last one!
As I have talked about in previous forecasts, these systems are classic precipitation producers for Texas in the winter months, and often are responsible for heavy snows in the western half of Texas. That said, at this time, it appears temperatures will be too warm across most of the State for snow.
This low coming much further south than the previous one, will allow it to get a good tap on moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing good, soaking, heavy rains for a very large part of the State. In fact, I expect to see some flooding going on. One model solution, depicted below, forecasts rain in the 5-6″ catagory for the I35/Central Texas area, and as you can see, blankets the entire stat with precipitation during a 2 and a half day period. The old saying goes, “All droughts in Texas end in floods!”. While this won’t end the drought, it brings a significant opportunity to but a nice dent in it for sure.
As I mentioned, these types of systems that come across northern Mexico during the winter are often difficult to forecast, in part because they are not sampled by the upper air weather balloon network, and that data of course is ingested in to the models, so they have to do some educated guessing on what it will do. Therefore it is helpful to look at pattern recognition and how these types of scenarios have produced before.
I also mentioned earlier how these systems often are big snow producers for West Texas. Right now if, and how much, it will snow, along with exactly where are still being hashed over and discussed among the weather professionals. Northwest Texas, along with the higher mountain terrain in Southwest Texas are most certainly favored for snow, likely in the western areas near the New Mexico border in the Panhandle and South Plains, and of course our friends in the eastern New Mexico plains to our west, and even our favorite ski destinations at Ruidoso. The image below is one models prediction of snow, and I have outlines where I think snow is more likely to occur.
Now all that said, there will be a warm layer just above us that will play a role in precipitation type for northwest Texas, and factors come in to play like, how strong this low ends up being, how warm that layer is, the timing of a cold front on Wednesday, etc. The most likely scenarios keeps the snowfall on the Northwest and West Side of the Low as it ejects out to the northeast, and likely, as I mentioned earlier, along the areas to the west near the New Mexico border. It’s not out of the question for snow just about anywhere on the Caprock by Wednesday evening.
All of this has to be watched closely to see how it evolves. Due to high precipitable water values, and the fact that much of the precipitation with this system will be convective in nature, should things change to snow on the Caprock, a lot of snow could fall really quick, even in the 5-10″ range! Then again, the warm layer might interfere and we just get a lot of rain. Either way, it’s most definitely going to be wet.
This system also promises some severe weather in South and Southeast Texas, and nearly everyone in the central and east part of the state could hear thunder before this is all said and done. We’ll have your forecast for these areas coming up later in the day.
01/03-04/2013 **LIVE BLOG** Texas Winter Storm
- Published on Thursday, 03 January 2013 21:26
- David Drummond
- 0 Comments
**WINTER STORM WARNING out for almost all of WEST TEXAS/SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO**
**WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES out northward into southeast NEW MEXICO/PERMIAN BASIN/Southern SOUTH PLAINS/WEST CENTRAL TEXAS**
Pink on map is WINTER STORM WARNING. Purple is WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
Radar image as of 11:32 pm CST depicting widespread areas of moderate to heavy snow. This is expected to increase in coverage and intensity overnight, with some areas in southwest Texas getting 8″ or more of snow!
TXDOT AND DPS are recommending you do not travel in Southwest Texas tonight. Conditions are deteriorating rapidly, and are becoming extremely hazardous. Even areas where it is not currently snowing, that had some precipitation early, are having icing on bridges and overpasses. DO NOT TRAVEL UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT PUT IT OFF AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!
FOR THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS IN TEXAS:
***REFRESH PAGE FOR UPDATES***
09:39 pm CST Reported Snow Totals (ongoing updates here)
- Ft. Stockton (by public) 4.5″ as of 9:04 pm
- Carlsbad, NM (via Storm Spotter) 3.5-4.5″ in Eddy County as of 9 pm MST
- El Paso 4″ (via media) as of 9 pm MST
- Big Lake (Southeast of Midland) reporting 2″ as of 9:45 pm CST (via NWS)
09:11 pm CST: Travel Concerns/Road Closures (ongoing updates here)
- NewWest9 is reporting that the Salvation Army is opening up shelter for anyone who needs it in Midland. 3500 Park Lane in Midland, next to the Midland County Sheriff’s Department. The shelter can be reached at (432) 683-3614.
- We’re told by local residents via Facebook that hotel rooms are very difficult to find in Midland/Odessa due to the oilfield boom. Best area to stay then will be east in Big Spring, or more likely Abilene!
- As of 10:45 pm CST I20 is now closed west of Monahans. Last place to stay will be Monahans and Odessa.
- As of 10:15 pm CST I10 is now closed all the way from El Paso to Ft. Stockton due to multiple accidents and blizzard conditions. Travelling westbound, best chance to get a room will be Midland/Odessa on I20 and Ft. Stockton/Ozona/Sonora on I10 (via TXDOT)
- I10 is closed from Mile Marker 62 to Mile Marker 140, from Southeast of El Paso to just east of Van Horn due to numerous accidents. Westbound travelers encouraged to stay the night in Pecos or Balmorhea
- US 62/180 is closed from El Paso to the NM border east of Guadalupe Pass and further into southeast NM it is close to west of Carlsbad due to deep, drifting snow and icy conditions. Will remain closed all night.
- I10 east of the road closure from Van Horn to Sheffield — reporting blowing snow, low visibilities, ice/snow on bridges/overpasses. Black ice, especially on bridges/overpasses.
- I20 from I10 interchange east to Pecos. Snow and blowing snow, ice and snow on bridges/overpasses. I10 closed to the west past the interchange. Last place to stay the night travelling west on I20 is Pecos.
- I20 from Pecos east to near Big Spring. Ice/snow on bridges/overpasses
01/03/2013 Winter is Invading Texas Again Today!
- Published on Thursday, 03 January 2013 09:55
- David Drummond
- 0 Comments
**MAP UPDATED: WARNINGS/ADVISORIES EXTENDED NORTH AND EAST**
**WINTER STORM WARNING** ALL OF SOUTHWEST TEXAS in PINK on MAP
**WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES** PERMIAN BASIN AND WEST CENTRAL TEXAS in PURPLE on Map
Good morning on this chilly morning across most of Texas. Well, first let’s get to what you all want to know….who’s getting snow?
If you live west of I35 and along/south of I20, and north of a San Antonio to Del Rio line, looks like a pretty good chance you’ll see something frozen before this event is over. In fact, some of you already are! The further east you are, the less likely you are going to see anything accumulate however.
Taking a look across Texas, it’s quite chilly this morning, with some upper teens/low 20s seen in the Panhandle, with low 40s seen even on the Gulf Coast. Some lift already ahead of this system as evidenced by the regional radar image, with heavy snow already being reported along I10 in Pecos, and sleet in and west of San Antonio.
The upper level low that we’ve been telling you about that is going to be responsible for all the winter shenanigans is currently seen on satellite water vapor loop just entering northern Mexico, south of Arizona. Meanwhile, a trough is seen continuing to dig south through Arizona in the direction of this low.
Currently, what we are anticipating is as this trough digs south, it will start to interact with this low, and help go ahead and bring it east towards El Paso. At this point, there seems to be some disagreement in the guidance, as some of the models expect this will be then swept to the northeast and eject out into the plains, toward Childress. This is the most likely scenario.
This graphic from the National Weather Service in Lubbock depicts this scenario nicely.
The National Weather Service in Ft. Worth has also produced this nice graphic that give you a good, overall visual idea of what you can expect in your location.
There are however some concerns about how much moisture will come in to play with this system, and how fast it will move northeast. One solution even wants to keep it meandering around West Texas. Should this take longer to eject out, should the trough be deeper than expected, and should we have more moisture to work with are all variables we are looking at, because either of those could indicate even higher snowfall amounts across western Texas than currently forecast. As you can see, even this close to the event, there are still some uncertainties in the forecast.
So how much snow are we expecting?
The higher snowfall accumulations should occur in Southwest Texas, in the higher mountain terrain, and in the plains adjacent to them, where we are currently forecasting at least 8 inches of snow. This also extends north into Southeast New Mexico in the Gualalupe Mountains area.
Forecast amounts should taper off the further east and northeast you go, with 2-4 inches east of the Pecos River, and likely 1-3 inches across the Permian Basin (Midland/Odessa) into eastern New Mexico along the border, and even up into the Southwestern South Plains southwest of Lubbock. Keep in mind any heavier localized snow bands could greatly increase any localized snowfall totals.
As this system moves Northeast, precipitation areas will even be out well to the east of it as well, all along and even south of the I10 corridor, with sleet even being reported this hour around and west of San Antonio. West Central Texas could see 1-3 inches of snow, even as far east as Brownwood and Brady, perhaps even to I35. Frozen precipitation may even been seen in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, but little to no accumulations expected that far northeast.
Again, there is at least some potential for higher snowfall totals than forecast in Western Texas and Southeast New Mexico.
When can we expect this?
As I mentioned, some of this is already underway along the I10 corridor, with heavy snow currently reported at Ft. Stockton, and sleet in the San Antonio area and areas west. By 5pm, most of the rest of the area discussed in this forecast could start expecting some form of precipitation, with anything frozen perhaps holding off until after midnight/early morning in the farther eastern/northeastern areas.
Travelers along I20 and I10 corridors: Conditions will become increasingly more hazardous as you go further west. I20 from Midland/Odessa west, and I10 from Sonora westward. Conditions could become particularly bad on I20 west of Pecos, and I10 from Ft. Stockton-westward, and particularly around the I20/I10 interchange area and westward through the mountains in Southwest Texas.
Secondary US Highways across west Texas will also become increasingly hazardous throughout the day and in to tonight, and Farm to Market roads may become unusable in Southwest Texas particularly.
If you live in these affected areas, please be sure to tune into your local weather sources for more detailed information about conditions in your area.
Snow on the Way for West Texas Again?
- Published on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 19:12
- David Drummond
- 0 Comments
Starting to look like far Southwest Texas…and perhaps further southeast into the Hill Country, might see some snow soon. Wed-Fri 1/2/2013-1/4/2013
The above graphic is just one model’s (NAM) simulation of the radar around midnight Wednesday night, and depicts snow for most all of southwest Texas with some rain heading into Central Texas and the Hill Country in later frames.
We currently have a cutoff low pressure area spinning off the coast of Southern California, and an upper level trough digging into the Rockies. Models seem to be in fair agreement that as it digs south, it will latch on to this low, and bring it across northern Mexico. After about the first 36 hours, they start disagreeing on how it’s handled, with one absorbing it in the stream, yet another keeping it cut off.
We also have plenty of cold air oozing southward across the region, with more to come, and generally below normal temps are expected.
This bring complications into the forecast for a whole number of variables, and for that reason, I’m not going to dig into the details too much just yet. It appears that the higher terrain in Southwest Texas is going to have the best shot at likely seeing some snow, perhaps even 3″…or more. Areas on the plains to the east, into the Permian Basin, even perhaps further east along and just north of the I10 corridor might see a little bit of snow. Confidence is just not very great in the outcome at this point.
To further complicate things, if the low does continue to track across northern Mexico, it will not be sampled by upper air balloons, which may make the models less reliable than normal in it’s evolution. With that in mind, we have to turn to pattern recognition. Upper lows that typically track across northern Mexico often are our best producers of winter weather in West Texas this time of year, and are usually good for at least some rain for the entire southern half of Texas. Some of the best snowfalls in the Midland/Odessa area have been from systems like this. Not saying that is what is going to happen, but we need to watch how this evolves carefully.
So, with the information we have right now, I’d expect to see at least a couple inches of snow in the higher terrain of West Texas, and probably some rain at points east. Again, we need to watch this closely for scenarios of precipitation types as this gets closer. It’s not out of the question for everyone from I20 to I10 and west of I35 to see a little snow out of this.
Looks like, aside from below normal temps, northwest Texas should miss out this time around. Although one model does bring frozen precipitation as far north as just south of Lubbock.
I’ll keep an eye on it, and update again tomorrow!