Friday’s cold front brought a significant late-season freeze to our region Saturday and Sunday mornings. But the cold air moved out fairly quickly Sunday afternoon as southerly breezes returned in earnest. Forecast solutions show a definite trend toward Spring over the next couple of weeks as the cold pattern weakens and a series of Pacific storm systems initiate a prolonged stretch of mild weather.

This week, there will be two opportunities for rain—mainly for areas located along and to the east of Interstate 35. The first of these opportunities will occur Monday evening when a trough of low pressure tracking east out of New Mexico forces a Pacific cold front eastward across the state. In advance of the front, expect mostly sunny, breezy, and mild weather Monday afternoon. Temperatures should generally warm to the upper 70s. Southerly breezes of 10-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph are forecast.

Early Monday evening, the Pacific is forecast to track east across the Hill Country out of West Texas. The front is forecast blow through the Austin area around 9 pm, reaching the coastal plains region near of just after midnight. Little to no rain is predicted along the front across the Hill Country. However, atmospheric conditions are forecast to become more favorable for the development of thunderstorms along the front when it moves past the Interstate 35 corridor. Forecasts call for a line of showers and thunderstorms to develop along the front from north of San Antonio, through Austin and northeast into North Texas. The line will shift southeast with the front late evening and after midnight. The probability for rain will range from just 20 percent in the Austin area, to 40 percent in the La Grange area, to 60 percent across the coastal plains region. This evening’s atmosphere will be structured in such a way that some of the storm may be strong to severe. The Storm Prediction Center has placed the area east of a line stretching from Port O’Connor, to Austin, to Hamilton under a Marginal Risk (a 1 out of 5 risk) for severe storms overnight. Northern Colorado county, most of Fayette county, eastern Bastrop county and Lee county have all been placed under a Slight Risk (a 2 out of 5 risk) for severe storms. The primary severe weather threats are expected to be large hail and damaging downburst winds. The line of storms is predicted to push off the middle Texas coast by about 3 or 4 am.

Rain amounts from the line of showers and thunderstorms are precited to total under a tenth of an inch in the Austin area, but total between a quarter and a half inch for areas between Bastrop and the coast. Lows Tuesday morning will generally be in the mid and upper 40s.

For Tuesday, sunny, breezy and mild weather will follow the cold front. High temperatures are predicted to be in the low and mid-70s. Expect northwesterly winds at 10-20 mph, with occasional gusts to 30 mph. Lows Wednesday morning will include the upper 30s Hill Country, with low and mid-40s at most other locations. Light winds are forecast Tuesday night.

Wednesday and Thursday’s weather is looking sunny and warmer as winds shift back to the south. High temperatures Wednesday are forecast to be  around 78-80 degrees. Meanwhile, high temperatures Thursday are predicted to be in the low and mid-80s. Lows Thursday morning will be in the low and mid-50s.

Another Pacific cold front is forecast to track across the region late Thursday night into early Friday morning. Forecasts call for just a slight chance for a few showers or isolated thunderstorms along the front—mainly for areas located along and east of Interstate 35. Rain amounts, if any, should total less than a tenth of an inch. Lows Friday morning are forecast to be near 50-52 degrees. Friday’s weather looks sunny and mild, with highs near 70-72 degrees.

The weekend outlook calls for sunny, dry and mild weather as a ridge of high pressure builds over the south central U.S. High temperatures both days are forecast to be in the mid and upper 70s. Lows Sunday morning will be in the low and mid-40s, while lows next Monday morning will be in the low and mid-50s.

Looking out into next week, forecasts are calling for another Pacific trough of low pressure to track east-southeast across the southern Plains states next Monday into Tuesday. This system is showing a fairly good potential for more widespread, spring-like storms across the region over these two days. As of now, rain amounts are not looking to be all that heavy, with most totals expected to be in the range of 0.25 to 0.5 inches. Sunny, dry and mild weather will follow for the second half of next week. High temperatures next week are forecast to be in the 70s, with lows generally in the 50s.

Elevated Fire Weather Conditions Are Expected Across the Hill Country this Week

Elevated to near critical fire weather conditions are expected each day this week for the Hill Country region, extending east to the Interstate 35 corridor.

Dry northerly breezes in the wake of the cold front Monday night will make for heightened fire weather conditions Tuesday. A dry cold front is forecast for Thursday night, possibly causing an even higher fire risk for Friday. Each day through Friday, there will be breezy and dry conditions across the area.


The March Full Worm Moon this Friday

March’s full Moon reaches occurs this Friday, March 18th at 2:20 am CDT. Look for the spectacularly bright Moon as it rises above the horizon that evening! March’s full Moon goes by the name Worm Moon. For many years, it was thought this name referred to the earthworms that appear as the soil warms in spring. This invites robins and other birds to feed—a true sign of spring! However, more research revealed another explanation. In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver visited the Naudowessie (Dakota) and other Native American tribes and wrote that the name Worm Moon refers to a different sort of “worm”—beetle larvae—which begin to emerge from the thawing bark of trees and other winter hideouts at this time.

Happy Pi Day!