Although the weather has been very active across the western and southern U.S. this week, Texas weather has continued to be dry and quiet. Cooler air arrived early Thursday behind a dry cold front and the cool air still remains in place. According to LCRA’s Hydromet, a light freeze occurred across much of the Hill Country and parts of the Interstate 35 corridor early Friday morning as readings fell to upper 20s to low 30s. A few locations across the western and northern Hill Country recorded lows in the mid-20s. In Austin, Camp Mabry recorded a low temperature of 41 degrees, while Austin-Bergstrom Airport recorded a low of 35 degrees.
Friday’s weather maps showed a stable ridge of high pressure stretching from northern Mexico to southern Canada. The ridge is predicted to slide east across Texas and the Plains states this weekend, and this should keep our weather sunny, dry, and quiet throughout the weekend and early next week. At the surface, Canadian high pressure was centered over Texas Friday morning. The high pressure system is forecast to shift east late Friday into Saturday, causing a return of southerly breezes and milder temperatures. But before the milder air returns, the combination of a clear sky, light winds, and dry air is expected to cause another light freeze across the Hill Country and parts of Central Texas early Saturday morning.
- Friday’s high temperature is forecast to be close to 60 degrees.
- Lows Saturday morning are forecast to be in the low 30s across the Hill Country, in the low and mid-30s across Central Texas, and in the upper 30s across the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Saturday are predicted to be in the mid-60s.
- Lows Sunday morning will be in the mid and upper 40s.
- High temperatures Sunday are forecast to be in the low and mid-70s.
- Lows Sunday morning will range from the low and mid-50s across the Hill Country, to the mid-60s near the coast.
Light southerly winds are forecast Friday afternoon and Friday night. However, southerly winds on Saturday are forecast to increase to a range of 10-15 mph, with gusts to 25 mph across much of the Hill Country. The combination of breezy conditions, low relative humidity levels, and dry fuels will cause elevated to critical fire weather conditions.
Winds on Sunday are forecast to be in the range of 10-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph across the entire region. However, with higher humidity levels, the fire danger risk is expected to be lower.
A mostly sunny to partly cloudy sky is forecast Monday and Tuesday. High temperatures both days are predicted to be around 78-80 degrees.
A chance for rain showers and a very slight chance for thunderstorms is forecast to develop between midnight Tuesday night and midday Wednesday over the area from the eastern Hill Country to the coast as a Pacific cold front pushes southeast across the region. The probability for rain will be around 30 percent across the Hill Country and Central Texas, and near 50 percent across the coastal Plains. With limited moisture in place, rain amounts are predicted to average around a quarter inch, or less.
Sunny, dry, and just slightly cooler weather will follow the cold front late next week. High temperatures Thursday and Friday will generally be in the upper 60s to low 70s. Lows Thursday and Friday mornings will range from the low 40s west, to the low 50s near the coast.
Cooler weather is forecast to arrive next weekend behind a fairly strong Canadian cold front. As of now, little to no rain is forecast along the front, with sunny weather expected next weekend. High temperatures are forecast to fall to the 60s, with lows in the upper 30s to low 40s. Similar weather conditions are forecast during the week of January 23rd.
Get Ready for Comet ZTF
Discovered in March 2022 by the Zwicky Transient Facility, Comet ZTF has been falling toward the sun for more than 50,000 years, and now is its moment to shine. On Jan. 12th, the comet made its closest approach to the sun (perihelion) at only 1.1 AU away. Solar heat has turned it into an easy target for backyard telescopes. Proximity to the sun has brightened the comet to magnitude 6.5, almost visible to the unaided eye.
After perihelion, Comet ZTF will be heading toward Earth for a close approach on Feb. 1st (0.28 AU). This will brighten the comet even more to a projected peak magnitude of +5, barely visible to the naked eye. However, binoculars, and small telescopes will provide a great view. Between now and then, Comet ZTF will be visible through telescopes before sunrise in the constellation Corona Borealis. (courtesy SpaceWeather.com)
I’ll pass along more details about the comet as we get toward late January.