A trough of low pressure pushing east out southern New Mexico Monday morning was able to pull significant moisture north from the Gulf, resulting in the development of widespread showers and scattered thunderstorms across Central Texas. According to LCRA’s Hydromet at noon, widespread totals of 1-2 inches occurred across much of Hays, Travis and eastern Williamson Counties. Totals of 1-1.5 inches have been recorded across parts of Fayette County. Unfortunately, the rain missed most of the Hill Country. High-resolution forecasts call for the rain to slowly taper off from west to east across Central Texas and the coastal plains region this afternoon. It will be cloudy and chilly today, with temperatures only warming to the upper 40s. Lows Tuesday morning will range from the low 40s west, to the upper 40s near the coast.
Tuesday through Wednesday, a mostly cloudy to overcast sky is forecast. High temperatures both days will range from the low 50s across the Hill Country, to the upper 50s near the coast.
Arctic Outbreak Event:
Monday morning’s forecast data is showing few changes from what was forecast over the weekend. The same magnitude of bitter cold is expected late week. Monday’s morning’s analysis showed an arctic airmass over northwestern Canada and northeastern Alaska, where the temperature is currently running between -40 and -50 degrees F. Forecasts call for the arctic air to push southeast over the next couple of days, reaching the Canadian/U.S. border early Tuesday. The arctic air is then predicted to plunge south across the Plains states Tuesday through Wednesday, reaching the Texas Panhandle region Wednesday night. The arctic front is expected to quickly sweep south across the Hill Country, Central Texas, and coastal regions early Thursday afternoon.
Windy and much colder weather will settle in behind the cold front Thursday afternoon into Thursday night. Expect strong northwesterly winds behind the front at 20-30 mph, with occasional gusts to 45 mph Thursday afternoon through Friday. The strong winds should decrease some late Friday.
The temperature is expected to fall below freezing across the region by Thursday evening. Most areas north of Interstate 10 will likely experience 30-40 hours with temperatures below freezing between Thursday evening and midday Saturday.
Here’s a look at the updated temperature forecast late week and through the holiday weekend:
- Lows early Friday morning are forecast to be around 10 degrees across the Hill Country, be between 10 and 15 degrees across Central Texas, and be between 15 and 20 degrees across the coastal plains! Wind chill temperatures are forecast to be as low as -10 across the Hill Country, and near -5 across Central Texas and the middle Texas coast.
- Temperatures Friday are predicted to only warm to the upper 20s across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions, and be close to 30 degrees across the coastal plains. Wind chill temperatures are forecast to be between zero and -5 degrees.
- Lows Saturday morning are predicted to be between 10 and 15 degrees across the Hill Country, and between 15 and 20 degrees across Central Texas and the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Saturday are predicted to be in the upper 30s.
- Low Christmas morning are predicted to be close to 20 degrees across the Hill Country, the low 20s across Central Texas, and in the mid-20s near the coast.
- High temperatures Christmas Day are forecast to be in the mid-40s.
- Lows next Monday morning are forecast to be around 28-30 degrees.
Monday’s data continues to indicate the weather will be dry and free of precipitation during this upcoming cold spell. Considerably warmer temperatures are predicted for the week after Christmas, with readings warming into the 60s and low 70s.
The intensity of this air mass along with the longevity of the cold air will require preparations to pipes, plants, pets/livestock, and people.
Maximum cold weather actions will be needed for this upcoming cold air outbreak to help mitigate property damage. Additionally, with wind chills falling to dangerous levels, it will be important to limit outdoor exposure as much as possible. All preparations for this cold air outbreak should be completed by midday Thursday.
- Proper winterization of any exposed pipes/plumbing will be needed to prevent damage. Sprinkler systems must be shut off and properly drained. If leaving out of town for the upcoming holidays, shut off the main water supply and drain pipes to prevent damage should they burst. Pipes/plumbing on elevated homes must be protected from the ground to the entry point of the structure.
- Pets/livestock will require proper shelter to protect from the cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills. Prolonged exposure to the forecasted temperatures and wind may be fatal to unprotected livestock and pets. Monitor water sources as typical sources may freeze over.
- Tropical plants/vegetation will require maximum freeze protection. Unprotected tropical vegetation will be killed and even protect vegetation will likely suffer heavy damage.
- Persons should limit outdoor exposure during the cold as wind chills will fall to dangerous levels. Utilize heating sources properly to reduce the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.