Forecast for Central Texas

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday
Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue
51 °F / 36 °F 62 °F / 36 °F 65 °F / 42 °F 65 °F / 42 °F 65 °F / 48 °F
51 ° / 36 ° 62 ° / 36 ° 65 ° / 42 ° 65 ° / 42 ° 65 ° / 48 °
Cloudy, Breezy Cool Sunny Mostly Sunny Mostly Sunny Partly Cloudy
Updated December 14, 2018

Bob's Blog on Central Texas Weather

Sunny with Temperatures Trending Somewhat Milder this Weekend and Next Week.
Friday, December 14, 2018 2:22 PM


A strong trough of low pressure dipping south into West Central and Southeast Texas caused an area of accumulating snow to develop over the area between San Angelo and Abilene Thursday.  According to reports from the National Weather Service, the highest snow total observed was 8 inches at the town of Nolan, in Nolan County.  Other locations within this area recorded totals between 1 to 3 inches.  A dusting of snow flurries was observed across the northern Hill Country, extending south to Mason and Fredericksburg.  All of the snow ended early this morning as Thursday's storm system moved into a zone with warmer mid-level temperatures.

Thursday's storm system produced unusually strong winds across the entire region.  Most peak wind gusts were generally between 35 and 45 mph.  A couple of the highest wind gusts include 48 mph at the Gillespie County Airport in Fredericksburg and 44 mph at Rusty Allen Airport in Lago Vista and also at Craddock Field in Burnet.  Austin-Bergstrom International Airport recorded a peak gust of 40 mph, while Camp-Mabry's peak gust was 38 mph.

As of midday Friday, the large trough of low pressure was situated over East Texas and Southwestern Louisiana.  All of the precipitation had pushed east of Central Texas and was located from north of Houston to Lufkin and Longview.  Early afternoon satellite images showed a large area of clouds covering the eastern half of Texas as moisture wraps around the large  trough of low pressure.  These clouds are predicted to remain in place this afternoon and early evening, with the area of clouds moving off to the east late this evening and overnight.

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RAMMB-CIRA 12/14/18 1:30 pm CST

Breezy conditions will continue across the region this afternoon and tonight due to a strong pressure gradient created by the large trough.  Expect northwesterly winds with speeds of 15-25 mph this afternoon, decreasing to 10-20 mph Friday night.

This afternoon's temperature is forecast to remain fairly steady due to the widespread cloud cover.  High temperatures will generally be near 48-52 degrees.  A light freeze is expected across the Hill Country tonight as the clouds clear.  Lows Saturday morning are predicted to be near 30-32 degrees across the Hill Country, in the mid-30s across Central Texas and be around 40 degrees towards the coast.

A mostly sunny, dry and mild weather pattern is forecast to set up across the region Saturday through Tuesday thanks to the development of a weak ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere and a dome of weak Canadian high pressure at the surface.  High temperatures look to be near 60-62 degrees Saturday, warming to the mid-60s Sunday and Monday, and to the upper 60s Tuesday.  Low temperatures Sunday morning will again be near 30-32 degrees across the Hill Country, the mid-30s Central Texas and near 40 degrees towards the coast.  Lows Monday and Tuesday mornings will generally be in the low 40s.

Forecast solutions indicate a trough of low pressure out of the Pacific will push east early next week, moving across the southern Plains states on Wednesday.  This approaching system is expected to pull considerable moisture north from the Gulf beginning Tuesday night.  There will be a 40-50 percent chance for scattered rain showers Wednesday into Wednesday night, with the rain tapering off late Wednesday night.  Rain amounts from this system are predicted to be between 0.25 and 0.5 inches. 

The passing trough will allow mild, Pacific air to spread across Texas late next week into next weekend.  High temperatures Thursday through next Sunday are forecast to be in the low and mid-60s.  Low temperatures will generally be in the mid and upper 40s.

The outlook for the period around Christmas calls for a partly to mostly cloudy sky and continued mild temperatures.  High temperatures will be in the low and middle-60s.  A weak trough of low pressure tracking east across Texas may cause a few light rain showers Christmas Day and the day after Christmas.  There is considerable uncertainty with this portion of the forecast at the current time.  

The long-range solutions indicate the temperature pattern will stay fairly mild through the end of the year.  They do not call for any intrusions of arctic air into Texas in the period between Christmas and New Year's.

1st Quarter Moon Occurs Saturday

The 1st quarter moon comes on Saturday, December 15 at precisely 5:49 am CST.  A 1st quarter moon appears half-illuminated, like half a pie.  Really, you're seeing half the moon's day side.  A first quarter moon rises around noon and sets around midnight.  You'll likely spot it in late afternoon or early evening, high up in the eastern sky.  At this moon phase, the moon is showing us precisely half of its lighted half.  We call this moon a quarter and not a half because it is one quarter of the way around in its orbit of Earth, as measured from one new moon to the next.  Also, although a first quarter moon appears half-lit to us, the illuminated portion we see of a first quarter moon truly is just a quarter.  We're now seeing half the moon's day side, that is. Another lighted quarter of the moon shines just as brightly in the direction opposite Earth!  And what about the term half-moon?   That's a beloved term, but not an official one.   (Earthsky.org)

Have a good weekend.

Bob

Previous Blog Entries

Snow Flurries Possible Across the Hill Country Thursday Night.
Thursday, December 13, 2018 4:33 PM


This afternoon, an energetic and vigorous trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere has moved into northwest Texas and was centered near Abilene.  This system is producing a mixture of rain, sleet and snow between Sweetwater, San Angelo and Abilene.  Accumulations so far have been light but the winter weather has caused numerous traffic accidents.  To the south of the low, weather conditions have been most sunny and quite mild.  3 pm temperatures were generally in the low and middle 70s between Austin and the middle Texas coast.

Winds today have been strong, with wind gusts so far generally in the range of 20 and 35 mph.  A few Hill Country locations have seen gusts to around 45 mph.  Stronger winds are predicted to spread over the region tonight and Friday as the upper low pushes to the east and Canadian cold front slides south through the region.   A strong pressure gradient behind the cold front will result in northwesterly winds in the range of 20-30 mph, with gusts to 45 mph tonight through about midday Friday.  Wind speeds should decrease to around 15-20 mph Friday afternoon.

As of 3 pm, the cold front stretched from Dallas/Fort Worth to Lake Buchanan, to Fredericksburg to west of Del Rio.  Temperatures behind the front were in the 30s and 40s.  The cold front is forecast to push slowly southeast this evening and overnight, clearing the middle Texas coast just after midnight.  The front will bring much colder temperatures to all of the region overnight.

The low pressure area currently near Abilene is forecast to track east-southeast overnight, reaching a position north of Houston early Friday morning and southern Louisiana Friday afternoon.   An area  of moisture is forecast wrap around the upper low overnight, producing a mixture of light rain showers and snow flurries across the Hill Country and the northern counties of Central Texas.   Snow flurries will be possible for areas generally west of a line stretching from Kerrville to just west of Austin to Georgetown and Temple.  Snow accumulations of 1-2 inches are  forecast across the northern Hill Country.  Much lighter amounts are forecast further south across Burnet and Llano Counties.  The snow will accumulate mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces.  The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory for Brown, Coleman and San Saba Counties through 6 am Friday.  Elsewhere, no snow accumulation is expected.  The probability for precipitation will be near 50 percent.  To the southeast of Austin, the probability for rain overnight will only be near 20 percent.  All of the precipitation is predicted to end from west to east Friday morning.    

Low temperatures Friday morning will include the mid-30s across the Hill Country, be around 38-40 degrees across Central Texas and the mid-40s towards the coast.

High temperatures Friday will be near 48-52 degrees.

Low temperatures Saturday morning will range from the low 30s across the Hill Country to the upper 30s towards the coast.

Sunny and milder conditions will be in place over the weekend.

Bob

Forecasts Continue to Show a Small Potential for Snow.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 4:32 PM

...There will be a brief potential for a taste of snow across the Hill Country and the northern counties of Central Texas late Thursday night into Friday morning…

A active period of weather is expected to unfold across Central Texas tonight through Friday when two troughs of low pressure track across the state.  The first trough was located this afternoon across northern Mexico.   This system is forecast to move east northeast and track across Central Texas late tonight into Thursday morning.  Gulf moisture will increase this afternoon and tonight in advance of the approaching trough.  There will be a 30 to 40 percent chance for the development of light rain showers from the Hill Country to the middle Texas coast beginning around midnight, continuing till about mid-morning Thursday.  Rain amounts will generally average less than a quarter inch.

The second and more energetic trough of low pressure was located this afternoon across the central Rockies.  This system is forecast to dive southeast, reaching Northwest Texas around midday Thursday.  The trough is forecast to sink southeast and move over North Central Texas Thursday night into Friday morning.  Strong atmospheric lift generated by the trough is forecast to produce an area of precipitation across the northern Hill Country and the northern counties of Central Texas beginning late Thursday evening, continuing through early Friday morning.  The precipitation is forecast to start off as a light rain, but there is some potential the precipitation may become mixed with snow flurries when the precipitation begins to fall through a dry layer in the middle atmosphere.  The potential for this rain/snow mix will generally be for areas north of a line from Kerrville to Blanco, to Lakeway, Georgetown and Temple.  Snow accumulations in this area are forecast to be very light.  Do note that temperatures at the surface are predicted to be above freezing, so any snow that falls will melt fairly quickly.  Scattered light rain showers are expected across Central Texas Thursday night.

The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for the Big Country, including Brown and Coleman counties from late Thursday night through early Friday morning.  Here, accumulations of 1 to 3 inches will be possible.  To the south, little to no snow accumulation is forecast.  The potential for snow flurries in the Austin area and areas to the south appears to be very low.  The chance for snow is forecast to end around sunrise Friday morning as the upper trough exits to the northeast.

Very windy conditions are forecast to develop across the entire region beginning late Thursday morning, continuing Thursday afternoon, Thursday night and Friday as the trough moves over the region.  The National Weather Service has posted a Wind Advisory for the region from 10 am Thursday through midnight Thursday night.

  • Westerly winds of 10-20 mph are forecast Thursday morning. 
    Northwesterly winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 45 mph are forecast Thursday afternoon and Thursday night.  Some gusts to 50 mph will be possible.
  • Northwesterly winds of 20-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph are forecast Friday.
  • Wind speeds should decrease to around 10-15 mph Friday night.

The temperature will trend cooler behind a Canadian cold front on Thursday.  Readings look to reach the low 60s Thursday morning but will trend down to the low 50s in the afternoon.  Low temperatures Friday morning will include the mid-30s across the Hill Country, the upper 30s Central Texas and the lower 40s towards the coast.  High temperatures Friday will generally be in the low 50s.  Low temperatures Saturday morning will range from the low 30s across the Hill Country to the upper 30s towards the coast.

Sunny and warmer weather is forecast for the weekend, with high temperatures in the low and mid-60s.

Bob

Storm System Thursday Night Could Bring a Slight Chance for Light Snow to the Hill Country.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5:02 PM

Forecasters are closely monitoring weather developments for Wednesday night and Thursday when a vigorous trough of low pressure is forecast to dive southeast out of the southern Rockies and move across North Central Texas.  This system will help push a Canadian cold front across Central Texas around midday or early afternoon Thursday.  An area of light rain showers is forecast to develop ahead of the cold front Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, but rain totals should average less than a quarter inch.

As the upper trough of low pressure passes east of North Central Texas Thursday evening and Thursday night, some forecasts are indicating a small area of moisture will wrap around the trough.  Given the strong dynamics of the trough, the moisture and strong lift may lead to the development of light rain showers and snow flurries for the Hill Country and the northern counties of Central Texas.  This window for rain and snow will be fairly short—roughly 6 hours or so.  Surface temperatures are predicted to be well above freezing, in the 40s.  So if some light snow develops, it won't last for long.  Snow amounts, if any, are expected to be very light low.  This small potential for snow is forecast to stay just to the north and west of Austin.  The chance for precipitation is forecast to come to an end shortly after midnight Thursday night.  Lows Friday morning will be in the upper 30s.

The other big story associated with the upper low will be very strong northerly winds that will commence Thursday afternoon and continue into Friday.  Expect strong northwesterly winds at 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph through early Friday afternoon.  Friday's weather will be sunny but cool, with highs in the mid-50s.  Lows Friday morning will be in the mid and upper 30s.

Stay tuned for more details on this small potential for wintery weather in Wednesday's report.

Bob

Milder Temperatures Expected through Late Week. Turning Windy Thursday.
Monday, December 10, 2018 3:01 PM

It was a cold weekend across Central and South Texas in the wake of Friday's heavy rain.  Temperatures held in the 40s Saturday and only warmed to the mid-50s Sunday.  As we kick off the new week, a large dome of cool, Canadian high pressure covers Texas and the southern Plains states.  This high will remain over the region into Tuesday, causing continued cool temperatures. Milder readings are forecast Wednesday and Thursday as southerly winds return to the region.

Weather conditions will be sunny and dry today and Tuesday.  The temperature should warm to the mid and upper 50s this afternoon and to the low and middle 60s Tuesday.  Another freeze is forecast for the Hill Country Monday night into Tuesday morning.  Lows Tuesday morning will be around 28-32 degrees across the Hill Country, in the middle 30s across Central Texas and in the upper 30s across the coastal plains.  Lows Wednesday morning will be in the upper 40s.  

The sky is predicted to become mostly cloudy Tuesday night through Wednesday as clouds and moisture increase off the Gulf of Mexico.  Forecast solutions call for a weak wave of low pressure to track northeast out of Mexico and move across the state Wednesday.  Atmospheric moisture levels may increase sufficiently to cause the development of a few spotty light rain showers for areas east of Interstate 35 Wednesday and Wednesday night.  Wednesday's temperature is forecast to warm to the mid and upper 60s.  Expect a southerly breeze at 10-15 mph.  The low Thursday morning will be around 50 degrees.

Forecast solutions call for a stronger trough of low pressure to dip south out of the southern Rockies and move east across the Red River Valley region Thursday and Thursday night.  In advance of the trough and its associated cold front, there will be a slight chance for a few rain showers for areas along and east of Interstate 35 Thursday and Thursday evening.  The probability for rain will be near 20 percent.  Should rain showers develop, amounts are predicted to total less than a quarter inch.  Thursday's sky will be partly to mostly cloudy.  The temperature is forecast to warm to the low 60s ahead of the front, trending down through the 50s in the afternoon.

The big weather story for Thursday into Friday will be strong and gusty northerly winds developing behind the cold front.  Forecast solutions indicate a strong low-level northerly jet will influence winds at the surface.  Forecasts call for northerly winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to around 40 mph developing Thursday afternoon, with the strong winds persisting Thursday night and Friday.  Lows Friday morning will include the mid-30s across the Hill Country, the upper 30s across Central Texas and the lower 40s towards the coast.

A sunny, dry and somewhat mild weather pattern is predicted Friday through next Monday as a weak ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere settles over the region.  High temperatures in the upper 50s Friday, will warm to the low 60s Saturday and the middle 60s Sunday and Monday.  Low temperatures Saturday morning will generally be in the mid-30s, warming to the mid-40s over the weekend.

The outlook for next week calls for a chance for rain showers developing Tuesday, continuing through Thursday or Friday as a trough of low pressure from the Pacific pushes inland over northwestern Mexico and slowly tracks to the east.  This system is forecast to bring scattered to numerous rain showers to the Central and South Texas.  Temperatures next week are predicted to remain mild, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s to around 50 degrees.

It's still too early to get a handle on weather conditions around Christmas Day.  However, long-range forecast data doesn't show a pattern that is favorable for arctic air to spill into Texas over the next couple of weeks.  I'll begin to get a better idea about holiday weather over the coming week.

Thursday and Friday Rainfall Totals

Friday's slow-moving storm system brought widespread, soaking rains to all of Central and South Texas.  Amounts were highest for areas east of Interstate 35, where totals generally averaged between 3 and 4 inches.  Totals across the eastern Hill Country and the Interstate 35 corridor were generally between 2 and 3 inches.  Rain amounts were lowest across the western Hill Country where totals were mostly between 1 and 1.5 inches.  LCRA's highest gauged storm total was 5.13 inches at a gauge in northwestern Bastrop County, along Wilbarger Creek.  A gauge in northwestern Matagorda County, near Midfield, recorded 5.09 inches.

The following is the National Weather Service's estimate of rain falling between 6 am Thursday and 6 am Monday:
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Geminid Meteor Shower 2018  

The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is coming up on the mornings of December 13th and 14th.    

The Geminid meteor shower – always a highlight of the meteor year – will peak around the mornings of December 13 and 14, 2018. The Geminids are a very reliable shower if you watch at the peak time of night (centered on about 2 a.m. for all parts of the globe) and if you watch in a dark sky.  The meteors tend to be bold, white and quick.  The curious rock comet called 3200 Phaethon is the parent body of this shower.

On a dark night, near the peak, you can often catch 50 or more meteors per hour.

Special equipment?  None needed.  Just find a dark, open sky and maybe bring a sleeping bag to keep warm. Plan to sprawl back in a hammock, lawn chair, pile of hay or blanket on the ground.  Lie down in comfort, and look upward.  (Information courtesy Earthsky.org)

Bob

Moderate to Heavy Rain Forecast through Friday Night. Cool and Dry this Weekend.
Friday, December 7, 2018 2:49 PM

A significant rain event is unfolding across Central and South Texas as a large Pacific storm moves towards the state out of the Desert Southwest.  Rain showers developed across the Hill Country and Central Texas region Thursday night and have continued to pass across the region through the morning hours.  Storm totals through 2:30 pm have generally been between 0.5 and 1.5 inches across the Hill Country and between 1 and 2 inch across Central Texas.  Totals across most of Gillespie and western Blanco Counties have been around 1 inch.  Much of northern Bastrop and northwestern Lee Counties have seen more than 2 inches.  LCRA's highest gauged total through noon has been 3.16 inches at a gauge located in northwestern Bastrop County, along Wilbarger Creek.

Much of the rain generated so far has been the result of an overrunning pattern developing behind a southward-moving cold front.  As of noon, the front had reached the coastal plains region and stretched from just north of Houston to Eagle Lake, Cuero and Cotulla.  The front is expected to push off the coast by this evening.  Overrunning light to moderate rain showers and isolated thunderstorms look to continue across much of Central Texas and the coastal plains region through late afternoon.  Radar also showed a widespread area of light to moderate rain covering the Hill Country and northwestern Texas associated with a weak wave of low pressure that is lifting northeast out of Mexico.  This area of rain is forecast to persist throughout the afternoon.  Afternoon temperatures will stay nearly steady in the mid and upper 40s across the Hill Country and around 50-52 degrees across Central Texas.  Across the coastal plains, temperatures will trend down into the 50s in the late afternoon.

Rain showers and isolated thunderstorms are forecast to increase in areal coverage and intensity across West Texas and the Hill Country late this afternoon and evening as the large trough of low pressure from the Pacific begins to approach western Texas.  At the same time, a large plume of moisture from the Gulf and the Pacific is forecast to spread over the region from the south and southwest.  Forecast solutions call for the large area of rain and thunderstorms across the Hill Country to spread east across Central Texas late this evening and toward midnight and the coastal plains region just after midnight.  Periods of moderate to heavy rain are expected.  The rain is predicted to taper off across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions before sunrise Saturday morning and across the coastal plains region by mid-morning Saturday.  The threat for severe thunderstorms will be low across the Hill Country and Central Texas region.  However, the Storm Prediction Center has placed the area south of Interstate 10 under a marginal (low end) risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.  Severe weather threats will include damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

Rainfall amounts Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon are expected to be significant!  Storm totals are forecast to be in the range of 1-3 inches across the Hill Country and between 2 to 4 inches for most locations to the east of Interstate 35.  Some isolated higher totals will be possible, especially for areas between La Grange and Wharton.  The National Weather Service has posted a Flash Flood Watch for the area from the eastern Hill Country to the middle Texas coast through noon Saturday.

NWS rainfall forecast for the period 6 pm Friday through 6 pm Saturday:
Rain10.png

Widespread clouds are predicted hold across the region Saturday and Saturday night as moisture wraps around the departing trough of low pressure.  The temperature will be rather chilly due to the clouds and lack of sunshine.  High temperatures are predicted to be in the low and mid-40s across the Hill Country, be around 48-50 degrees across Central Texas and be in the mid-50s towards the coast.  Lows Sunday morning will include the low 30s across the Hill Country, the mid-30s across Central Texas and be around 40-42 degrees towards the coast.

Mostly sunny, dry and cool weather conditions are forecast Sunday through Tuesday as a weak ridge of high pressure spreads over the south central US.  High temperatures in the upper 40s to low 50s Sunday, will warm to the mid-50s Monday and the upper 50s Tuesday.  A light freeze is predicted for the Hill Country and parts of Central Texas Monday and Tuesday mornings.  Lows both mornings will include the upper 20s Hill Country, the low and mid-30s central and the upper 30s towards the coast.  Lows Wednesday morning will be mostly in the low 40s.

Forecast solutions call for a slight chance for rain showers to develop Wednesday and Thursday when a trough of low pressure swings east out of the southern Rockies.  With little moisture in place, rain amounts should be low—averaging less than a quarter inch.  High temperatures both days will be in the mid-60s.

Sunny and dry weather is forecast late next week into next weekend as the trough exits to the east.  Readings look to stay fairly mild, with highs in the low and mid-60s.  Low temperatures will be in the 40s.  Long-range forecasts do not show any arctic air spreading south towards Texas over the next 2-week period.

Weekend Sky Watching

As twilight fades, bid farewell to the Saturn as it sinks into the sun's glare.  Using the thin crescent Moon very low in the southwestern sky as your guide, Saturn will be very close by. Binoculars may help.

Orion comes into good view low in the eastern sky after dinnertime now.  That means Gemini is also coming up to its left (for the world's mid-northern latitudes).  The head stars of the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, are at the left end of the Gemini constellation — one over the other, with Castor on top.

High above Orion is Aldebaran, at one tip of the V-shaped asterism made by the brightest stars of the Hyades cluster.

And high above Aldebaran and the Hyades are the Pleiades, a smaller but brighter cluster.  The Pleiades are about as big as your fingertip at arm's length.  The Hyades are 150 light-years distant; the Pleiades are about 440, which is why the Pleiades appear smaller.

Have a good weekend.

Bob

Very Wet Conditions Forecast Friday into Saturday Morning.
Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:23 PM


Ingredients continue to come together that are expected to produce widespread, soaking rains across Central and South Texas.  A large and powerful trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere is pushing east from southern California and northern Mexico.  This system is forecast to track across Texas late Friday into Saturday.  Out ahead of the trough, a Canadian cold front is currently sagging southeast out of Northwest Texas.  The front is forecast track across the Hill Country Thursday night, reaching the Interstate 35 corridor around day break Friday.  The front is forecast to slow down as it sags south across Central Texas.  It should reach the coastal plains region by the late afternoon and early evening. 

Widespread light to moderate rain showers and isolated thunderstorms are forecast to develop across West and Southwest Texas Thursday evening.  This activity is predicted to spread east across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions Thursday night into Friday morning.  Moderate to occasionally heavy rain is expected to develop across the entire region Friday morning, with the activity continuing Friday afternoon and Friday night as the upper trough moves across the state.  The rain should become lighter late Friday night into Saturday morning.  All of the rain is forecast to taper off by about midday Saturday.

The threat for severe thunderstorms will be low.  The middle Texas coast has the best potential to see strong storms, possibly producing gusty winds and small hail.

With a very moist air mass in place, significant totals of rain are expected between Thursday night and Saturday evening.  Thursday's National Weather Service forecast calls for general totals of 2-4 inches across the Hill Country and 3 to 5 inches across Central Texas and the middle Texas coast.  The forecast also shows an area of 5-7 inch totals across parts of Fayette, Colorado, Washington and Austin Counties.

NWS rainfall forecast for the period 6 pm Thursday through 6 pm Sunday:
Rain7.png

Dry and cool weather will develop Saturday afternoon, with dry conditions persisting through the middle of next week.  High temperatures Saturday and Sunday will be in the low 50s, warming to the mid-50s Monday.  Low temperatures will be in the mid and upper 30s Saturday night and in the low to mid 30s Sunday and Monday nights.

A slight chance for rain looks to develop late next week.  At the same time, temperatures should trend a bit milder.  Highs will be in the 60s, with lows in the 40s.

Bob
   
Moderate to Heavy Rain Expected Thursday Night through Friday Night.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:01 PM

Forecasters continue to keep a close eye on weather developments for Friday and Friday night.  Tuesday's forecast data didn't show a significant change from Monday, although forecasted rain totals have increased a bit.

The combination of a trough of low pressure pushing east out of the Desert Southwest, a slow-moving cold front out of North Texas and a very moist flow off the Gulf of Mexico is expected to produce widespread soaking rains beginning Thursday night, continuing through Friday night.

Moderate to occasionally heavy rain is predicted through the period.  Some training of the rain may occur along the cold front as it slowly moves to the southeast.  The rain is expected to taper off from west to east late Friday night into Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service's rainfall forecasts from Tuesday calls for widespread multi-inch totals across the region.  The forecast calls for the highest totals of rain to occur across North Central Texas, with slightly lower totals to the south.  Totals of 3-4 inches are predicted for areas generally to the north of US Highway 290, with totals of 2-3 inches to the south.

NWS rainfall forecast for the period 6 pm Tuesday through 6 pm next Tuesday:

Rain6.png 
In general, totals of 2-4 inches are forecast, with isolated totals of 4-6 inches possible.  This amount of rain will have the potential to cause flash flooding on area creeks, streams and roads.

Bob

Widespread, Significant Rains Forecast Friday into Saturday.
Monday, December 3, 2018 2:58 PM

Weather conditions are dry and quiet across Central and South Texas as we start off the new week.  Early afternoon morning satellite images showed an area of middle and high-level clouds covering the Hill Country and the Interstate 35 corridor.  These clouds are associated with a weak wave of low pressure in the upper atmosphere that is tracking southeast out of southern New Mexico.  No rain is expected with these clouds due to very limited moisture.  This area of clouds will cause a partly to mostly cloudy sky across the region this afternoon, although the clouds will be thin enough to allow for some scattered sunshine.  The clouds are predicted to shift off to the east tonight.  Temperatures are slightly cooler today thanks to a Canadian cold front which moved across the area on Sunday.  These cooler temperatures are forecast to remain in place throughout the week.

This afternoon through Wednesday, mostly sunny dry and cool weather conditions are forecast.

High temperatures this afternoon are predicted to be around 58-60 degrees across the Hill Country and in the low to mid-60s at most other locations.  High temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will generally be in the mid and upper 50s.

A light freeze will be possible across the Hill Country early Tuesday morning.  Lows Tuesday will include the low 30s across the Hill Country, the mid and upper 30s across Central Texas and the lower 40s towards the coast.  Lows Wednesday morning will range from the mid-30s across the Hill Country to around 40 degrees towards the coast.  Lows Thursday will be warmer; mainly in the mid and upper 40s.

Forecasters are closely monitoring weather developments for late week when a powerful Pacific storm system is predicted to move across Texas, causing the development of widespread soaking rains across Central and South Texas.  Forecast solutions call for a large trough of low pressure to push inland along the southern coast of California early Thursday, with the trough tracking east across the Desert Southwest and Texas Friday into Saturday.  Due to the southerly trajectory of this system, it is forecast to draw an unusually high amount of moisture into Texas off the Gulf of Mexico.   In addition to the high moisture levels, strong atmospheric lift is predicted to spread across the region Friday afternoon into Friday night in advance of the trough.  Finally, a Canadian cold front is forecast to sink through the region Friday afternoon into Friday night.  All 3 of these parameters will potentially enhance the development of rain and thunderstorms.

Clouds and moisture are predicted to quickly spread north into Texas off the Gulf of Mexico late Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  As moisture levels increase, scattered rain showers are forecast to develop across the region beginning Thursday afternoon, continuing through Thursday night.  Totals of 0.25-0.50 inches will be possible by 6 am Friday morning.  Thursday's weather will be cloudy with temperatures warming into the low and mid-60s.

Widespread moderate to occasionally heavy rain is forecast to occur Friday afternoon and Friday night as the trough and cold front move across the region.  At this point, it's too early to  pinpoint which area or areas will have the heaviest rain.  This should become clearer as we get closer to late week.  The rain is forecast to taper off from west to east Saturday morning as the trough of low pressure exits to the east.  As of now, the threat for severe thunderstorms appears to be low.

Significant totals of rain are forecast across the region Thursday through Saturday.  Computer-forecast solutions call for 3-day totals to generally be in the range of 2-4 inches, with some pockets of isolated heavier totals.  The National Weather Service's rainfall forecast below is calling for the highest rain totals to occur near and just east of Austin:

NWS rainfall forecast for the period 6 pm Monday through 6 pm next Monday:
Rain5.png
Clouds should clear Saturday afternoon, with the sky becoming partly cloudy to mostly sunny.  Forecast solutions call for sunny, dry and cool weather conditions next Sunday through Wednesday.  A slight chance for rain will return to the forecast late next week.  High temperatures through the period are forecast to be mostly in the low and mid-50s.  Low temperatures will be mostly in the mid and upper 30s.  Partly cloudy and slightly warmer weather is forecast for late next week as high temperatures climb to the mid and upper 60s.  Low temperatures will rise to the upper 40s. 

The Big Dipper is Standing Straight Up

At this time of the year, the Big Dipper lies down horizontal along the northern horizon soon after dark.  But by midnight, the Dipper is standing straight up on its handle in fine view in the northeastern sky.  Meanwhile, high above the Big Dipper, the bowl of the Little Dipper is descending in the evening, to the lower left of the North Star, Polaris.  By 10 or 11 pm, it hangs straight down from Polaris.

Bob

Mild this Weekend but Cooler Temperatures Returning for Next Week.
Friday, November 30, 2018 2:38 PM

A persistent flow off the Gulf of Mexico has brought an unseasonably mild and humid air mass to Central and South Texas.  Friday morning's low temperature was in the mid and upper 60s for most locations along and east of Interstate 35.  Overnight temperatures were a bit cooler across the Hill Country, with most lows in the mid-50s to low 60s.  Widespread low clouds developed across the region late Thursday night and have persisted into midday Friday.  These clouds are forecast to thin early this afternoon, allowing the sky to become mostly sunny.   Breezy and warm conditions will develop, with the temperature climbing close to 80 degrees. Expect a south breeze at 10-15 mph.  With low-level moisture levels increasing, there will be a 20 percent chance for the development of a few widely scattered rain showers for areas east of Interstate 35 this afternoon.  Rainfall, if any, should total less than a tenth of an inch.

Forecasters are monitoring a vigorous trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere that was located Friday morning over the Four Corners region.  The trough is moving to the east and is forecast to reach the Texas Panhandle late this evening, turning northeast into Oklahoma and the southern Plains late tonight into Saturday morning.  While this system is expected to pass well north of our region, it will help drag a Pacific cold front across the area overnight.  The front is forecast to track across the Hill Country late this evening, reaching the Austin area around midnight and pushing off the coast before daybreak Saturday.  Atmospheric conditions appear somewhat favorable for a thin line of rain showers and thunderstorms to develop along the cold front about the time it reaches the Interstate 35 corrido.  The probability for rain will be around 30 percent for locations along and to the east of Interstate 35.  Should thunderstorms develop, there is a small chance for a few of the storms to become severe, mainly for the area between Austin and La Grange.  The Storm Prediction Center has placed this area under a Marginal Risk for severe thunderstorms through Saturday morning.  Severe weather threats will primarily be strong and damaging winds along with large hail.   The rain and storms are forecast to quickly push to the east and exit the entire region before sunrise Saturday.  Rain amounts are forecast to average around a quarter inch or less.  Drier and slightly cooler air will funnel into the region behind the cold front.  Low temperatures Saturday morning will be in the low and mid-50s across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and be close to 60 degrees towards the coast.

Sunny, breezy and mild weather conditions will develop Saturday in the wake of Friday night's cold front.  Very dry air spreading into the region will allow the temperature to warm to the low and middle 70s.  Expect a westerly breeze at 10-15 mph throughout the day.  Wind speeds should decrease by Saturday night.  Lows Sunday morning will include the mid-40s across the Hill Country, the upper 40s across Central Texas and be around 50-52 degrees towards the coast.

With afternoon relative humidity values slated to plummet into the 20-30 percent range Saturday afternoon, the combination of very dry air and breezy conditions will causeelevated fire weather conditions across the entire region from late Saturday morning through late Saturday afternoon.

Sunday's weather is shaping up to be sunny, mild and very pleasant.  High temperatures will be in the low and mid-70s.  Expect a southwesterly breeze at 5-10 mph.  Lows Sunday morning will range from the low 40s across the Hill Country to around 50 degrees towards the coast.

Forecast solutions call for a large trough of low pressure to push east out of the Rockies late Sunday.  This will allow a Canadian cold front to plummet south into Texas out of the western US Sunday night into Monday morning.  With very little moisture in place, no rain is expected with the front.  Sunny, breezy and noticeably cooler conditions are forecast to develop Monday as the cold front pushes southeast into the Gulf.  Monday's temperature is forecast to warm only to around 58-62 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions with  mid-60s towards the coast.

Sunny, dry and cool weather conditions are forecast Tuesday through Wednesday as a large dome of Canadian high pressure settles south across Texas.  A light freeze is expected across the Hill Country and parts of Central Texas Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  Lows both mornings are forecast to be around 28-30 degrees across the Hill Country and around 31-34 degrees across Central Texas.  Lows across the coastal plains region will be near 36-40 degrees.  High temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will be mostly in the mid-50s.

There will be change in the weather pattern beginning next Thursday when a large trough of low pressure off the coast of southern California begins to track to the east.  Forecast solutions call for the trough to move across Texas next Friday, turning northeast into the Plains states Friday night into Saturday.  Moisture will increase off the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, leading to the development of scattered rain showers and thunderstorms.  There will be an increasing chance for rain showers and thunderstorms Friday and Friday night as the trough moves across the state.  Weather conditions appear favorable for the development of widespread rain and thunderstorms, with the rain tapering off next Saturday.  Forecast solutions suggest totals of 1-2 inches will be possible across the region Thursday through Saturday morning as the trough moves over the area.  In addition, some strong storms will be possible.  Dry weather looks to follow next weekend.

NWS Rainfall Forecast for the Period 7 pm Wednesday through 7 pm Friday:Rain5.png

Forecasts call for chilly air to spread south into Texas beginning next Saturday as the large trough of low pressure exits to the northeast.  This chilly air may bring a freeze to the Hill Country and parts of Central Texas next Sunday and Monday mornings.  High temperatures next weekend look to be in the low and mid-50s, with low temperatures in the 30s.  The chilly weather is predicted to last into the early part of the week of December 10th.

Tropical Weather Update

Today marks the last official day of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Conditions are currently quiet across the tropical Atlantic and there are no systems in place which pose a threat for tropical development over the next several days.

In total, this year's hurricane season produced 15 named storms, including 8 hurricanes, of which 2 were "major" hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).  An average season has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.  This year's season will be remembered most for hurricanes Florence and Michael, which caused significant damage in the southeastern US.

Fortunately unlike 2017, no storms visited the western Gulf of Mexico or the Texas coast.
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Venus Shining at its Brightest in Early December

In early December, 2018, the dazzling planet Venus will be shining at its greatest brilliancy in the morning sky.   Venus is always the third-brightest celestial object, after the sun and moon.  Even so, Venus' brightness, now at maximum, is some 2 1/2 times greater than Venus at minimum brightness.

Because Venus is an inferior planet – orbiting the sun inside Earth's orbit, this world shows the whole range of phases, much like Earth's moon.   Perhaps  it'll surprise you that Venus shines most brightly when its disk is only about 25 percent illuminated by sunshine, as viewed from Earth.  Venus' disk will become 100 percent illuminated in sunshine some 8 1/2 months from now (August 14, 2019).  But at that time, Venus will be nearly five times farther from Earth than it is right now.  Hence, the illuminated portion of Venus' disk will actually cover less square area of sky, and Venus will be less bright when seen as fully illuminated next August.

Thus you might see that greater brilliancy for Venus is a trade-off between the apparent size of the planet's disk, and the extent to which we see the disk illuminated by sunlight.

You can't miss spotting Venus blazing away in the eastern sky in the period just before sunrise.  (courtesy Earthsky.org) 

Have a good weekend.

Bob

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