Friday Arctic Outbreak Update - LCRA Friday Arctic Outbreak Update - LCRA


…A historic outbreak of arctic is scheduled to spread into our region late Sunday into Tuesday…

 …An extended period of temperatures below freezing is forecast…

 …A major winter storm looks to impact nearly all of Texas Sunday night into Monday, likely resulting in widespread travel disruptions…

 …Maximum cold weather preparation must be completed today and Saturday to attempt to mitigate significant property and vegetation damage…

Icy conditions remain in place across the Hill Country and much of Central Texas in the wake of Friday’s widespread rain. Radar and surface reports indicate all of the precipitation has exited our region, but a thick blanket of clouds covers most of Texas. A check on temperatures early afternoon showed readings were below freezing across the Hill Country and most of Central Texas. Readings were in the mid and upper 30s across the coastal plains. Friday’s weather maps showed a large dome of modified arctic air covering Texas. This air mass is forecast to remain in pace into Sunday, so no significant temperature changes area forecast through Sunday afternoon. But a bitterly cold arctic air mass is predicted to spread south through the area late Sunday, bringing some of the coldest air our region has seen in more than 30 years. Forecasters are keeping a close eye on a strong trough of low pressure currently located over the Pacific Northwest that is expected to move across South Texas late Sunday into Monday. With very cold temperatures in place, this system is expected to produce widespread snow across the entire region. The snow storm will exit and the sky will clear Monday afternoon. This will then set the stage for bitterly cold temperatures Monday night into Tuesday morning. Yet one more disturbance is forecast to move across the area late Tuesday into Wednesday and this system has the potential to cause the development of more wintery  weather.

Here’s a review of forecasted weather conditions between this afternoon and the middle of next week.

Friday Afternoon

Cloudy, dry and cold conditions are forecast this afternoon. Temperatures are forecast to hold steady or warm about 2 degrees, but readings are likely to stay below freezing across the Hill Country and much of Central.

Friday night through Saturday

A small wave of low pressure tracking southeast out of Northwest Texas is predicted to cause the development of some patchy freezing drizzle across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions after midnight. Occasional freezing drizzle and a little sleet is forecast Saturday morning into Saturday evening.  Precipitation totals will be low, but with temperatures remaining below freezing across the Hill Country and much of Central Texas, the drizzle is expected to create a thin glaze of ice on objects, including bridges and overpasses. Across the coastal plans, occasional light rain and a few sleet pellets are forecast.  High temperatures Saturday look to be around 30-32 degrees across the Hill Country, near 32-34 degrees across Central Texas and near 40-42 degrees towards the coast.

Occasional light freezing drizzle and sleet are forecast through Saturday evening. The precipitation should taper off Saturday night as the wave of low pressure exits to the east.  Lows Sunday morning will range from the mid-20s across the Hill Country to the upper 20s across Central Texas, to the low and mid-30s across the coastal region.

Sunday

It will be cloudy and cold Sunday in the wake of Saturday’s departing system. High temperatures are forecast to be near 30-32 degrees across the Hill Country, into the mid-30s across Central Texas and into the low 40s across the coastal plains.

Attention will be turning to a strong trough of low pressure that will be tracking southeast out of New Mexico. This system is forecast to track across northern Texas late Sunday into Monday.  It will cause the development of an area of low pressure off the upper Texas coast, increasing winds out of the north and drawing much colder air south out of the Plains. All ingredients seem to be coming together for the development of widespread, accumulating snow beginning in the Hill Country Sunday evening. The snow is forecast to spread east across Central Texas late Sunday evening and overnight. Across the coastal plains, rain, and sleet are forecast to develop Sunday evening, with a mixture of sleet and snow expected after midnight.

Temperatures are forecast to trend much lower Sunday night.  Lows Monday morning are predicted to be around 8-10 degrees across the Hill Country, between 10 and 15 degrees across Central Texas and into the mid and upper teens across the coastal plains

Monday

Widespread snow is forecast across the region Monday morning but the snow should taper off from west to east late morning into the early afternoon.  Snow totals from the event are currently forecast to average around 2-4 inches across the Hill Country, near 1-3 inches across Central Texas and around 1-2 inches across the coastal region. Clouds are forecast to decrease, allowing for some scattered sunshine Monday afternoon. Despite the sun, temperatures will be very cold, with high temperatures only around 20-22 degrees, with middle 20s towards the coast.

Mostly clear and bitterly cold temperatures are forecast Monday night! Based on the latest forecast data, lows Tuesday morning are predicted to be between 0 and 5 degrees across the Hill Country, between 5 and 10 degrees across Central Texas and between 10 and 15 degrees across the coastal plains.

Tuesday

Sunny and a little warmer weather is forecast Tuesday.  High temperatures are expected to be around 30-32 degrees.

Tuesday Night, Wednesday and Beyond

Yet another trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere is forecast to drop south into Four Corners region Tuesday night and Wednesday, then move across North Texas Wednesday night through Thursday. This system is predicted to draw moisture north from the Gulf over the very cold air at the surface, resulting in the development of more wintery weather. Areas of light freezing rain and sleet area forecast to develop across the entire region after midnight Tuesday night. Periods of sleet, freezing rain and snow flurries are forecast Wednesday into Wednesday evening.  It’s still pretty early to give specifics on sleet and snow totals, but as of now, accumulations are not expected to be too heavy.

Lows Tuesday night will include the low 20s across the Hill Country, the mid-20s across Central Texas and around 30 degrees across the coastal plains.

High temperatures Wednesday will generally be around 38-42 degrees.

Sunny, dry and milder weather is forecast Thursday, continuing into next weekend. High temperatures are forecast to be in the 40s Thursday, the 50s on Friday and into the 60s on Saturday. Long-range forecasts call for temperatures to be in the 70s the week of February 22nd!

Preparation:

I want to stress again the need for maximum cold weather preparations to help mitigate significant property and vegetation damage.

  • Protect all and any exposed pipes, shut off and drain sprinkler systems. Open cabinet doors and closet doors to get as much heat against outside facing wall pipes as possible starting Sunday night. In some cases the best course of action may be to shut off water to a structure and drain pipes overnight when water usage is low to avoid pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Heavily cover and protect any tropical vegetation, citrus, or vulnerable plants. Given the intensity and depth of the freezing conditions this will likely be a killing freeze for much of the tropical landscape of this region.
  • Pets and livestock should have proper shelter, feed, and water. Normal water supplies will likely freeze over including stock ponds and lakes.
  • Persons should plan to limit outdoor exposure Monday and Tuesday as wind chills will be dangerously cold for our region. Prolonged exposure could result in frostbite and hypothermia.

 

Bob