Weather conditions are currently quiet and mild across Texas. No significant change in the weather pattern is expected through early next week. The main weather story through the weekend and next week will be the unseasonably warm temperatures and absence of rain. The month of December is turning out to be one for the record books. According to Dr. John Nielson-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, there is a good chance December 2021 will end up being the warmest December on record for Texas, with a chance it will be the warmest winter-month ever recorded.
Thursday’s weather maps showed the jet stream flowing from the Pacific Northwest, to the northern Plains states, then east through New England and eastern Canada. Observations showed the coldest air was north of the jet over Canada and the Great Lakes region. The jet is flowing north of a large ridge of high pressure situated over northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. Forecasts call for the ridge to shift east across Texas this weekend, setting up over the southeastern U.S. and the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week. This ridge is expected to keep the jet stream and the cool air north of Texas for at least the next week.
No rain is forecast today through Sunday as the ridge of high pressure maintains a very stable atmosphere across our region. Mild southerly breezes off the Gulf of Mexico are predicted to remain in place through the weekend. Moisture returning along these gusty breezes is expected to cause the development of late night and morning low clouds and patchy fog over the next few days. Sunny to mostly sunny conditions are forecast each afternoon.
Of course, the biggest weather news through the weekend will be the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s certainly not going to feel like Christmas. In fact, shorts and tee shirts will be more suitable than heavy winter clothing. The combination of warm air off the Gulf, abundant afternoon sunshine and sinking air from the ridge is expected to produce near-record to record warm temperatures Friday through Sunday.
- Temperatures Thursday afternoon are forecast to reach the mid and upper 70s.
- Lows temperatures Friday morning will range from the mid-50s across the Hill Country, to the low 60s near the coast.
- High temperatures Friday are forecast to reach the low and mid-80s across the Hill Country and be close to 80 degrees at most other locations.
- Lows Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings will range from the mid and upper 50s west, to the mid-60s near the coast.
- High temperatures Christmas Day are predicted to reach the low and mid-80s.
- High temperatures Sunday are forecast to reach near 80-82 degrees.
Normal high temperatures for late December are in the low and mid-60s. Normal low temperatures are in the low 40s.
The outlook for next week calls for continued dry and warm weather as the jet stream remains well to the north of Texas. A moderate flow off the Gulf of Mexico will continue to produce a pattern of late night and morning clouds/fog, followed by mostly sunny conditions in the afternoon. Parts of the area could see the development of patchy late night drizzle and sprinkles.
Daily high temperatures are predicted to generally be near 78-80 degrees. Low temperatures are predicted to be in the low 60s.
Some changes in the weather pattern finally begin to show up on New Year’s Day when a trough of low pressure tracking east out of the western U.S. helps push a Pacific cold front across Texas. A few showers will be possible along the cold front next Saturday, followed by dry weather next Sunday and Monday. Temperatures will finally trend cooler, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.
No freezing temperatures or unusually cold readings are forecast through the first week of January.
A Farewell to Venus in the Evening Sky
Like a constant companion, Venus, the brightest nighttime planet has been part of the celestial evening sky since May. But that’s changing. Venus is beginning to slip away, winding down its evening apparition and transitioning into the morning sky. Inferior conjunction, when the planet passes between the Earth and Sun, occurs on January 8th. Hard to believe but fewer than two weeks of evening visibility remain.
Between December 23rd and January 2nd, the planet’s illuminated portion will decrease from 9.1% to 1.5%. At the same time, its altitude in the evening sky will plummet toward the horizon, making it more and more difficult to fetch it from the glow of twilight. After conjunction, Venus will swing west of the Sun and into the dawn sky.
Make it a point to see Venus in the evening sky over the next couple of weeks!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!