The warmest temperatures since last November are forecast across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions this afternoon as west and southwesterly breezes develop across Central and South Texas. Breezes out of the west and southwest are typically down sloping, warm winds for our region, as the air descends from the high elevations of the Mexican plateau. This warm air, combined with scattered sunshine, is expected to push today's temperature up to the middle and upper 80s! The coastal plains regions should see high temperatures around 78-80 degrees. Expect west and southwesterly breezes in the range of 10-20 mph through late afternoon. Today's taste of very spring-like weather will likely be short-lived, however, as slightly cooler air spreads into the area beginning tonight.
Friday's weather maps showed upper-level winds were traveling from west to east across the southern US. These high-level winds were pushing considerable middle and high-level clouds eastward from the Pacific Ocean, creating a partly cloudy to mostly sunny sky across our region. Similar conditions are predicted for Saturday and Sunday. These clouds contain little moisture, so dry weather conditions are forecast from this afternoon through Sunday afternoon.
As of late Friday morning, a Canadian cold front was located across North Texas, just to the south of the Red River. Temperatures behind the front were mostly in the 20s and 30s. The front is forecast to remain nearly stationary through late afternoon, then begin sagging to the south this evening and overnight. The front is forecast to reach the northern Hill Country late this evening and the Austin area shortly after midnight. The cold front is forecast to stall somewhere near Interstate 10 on Saturday. For locations to the north of the boundary, cooler temperatures are forecast for Friday night and Saturday. Low temperatures Saturday morning will be in the mid and upper 40s, while high temperatures Saturday will generally be around 68-70 degrees. For locations south of the front, low temperatures Saturday morning will be in the low and middle 50s. High temperatures Saturday will be in the low 70s. Low temperatures Sunday morning will range from the upper 40s across the Hill Country, to the low and mid-50s across Central Texas to the low 60s across the coastal plains. Sunday's temperature should generally warm to the upper 60s.
A reinforcing shot of cooler air is predicted to push south across the region Sunday night into Monday morning, bringing even cooler temperatures to the area for the first half of next week. This next front should clear the entire region and move into the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasts call for the large trough of low pressure located off the West Coast to push inland early next week, with small waves of low pressure ejecting east from the upper low next week. Several small waves of low pressure moving into Texas out of the West are forecast to cause the development of an overrunning pattern of clouds and light rain beginning Monday. The outlook calls for a mostly cloudy sky with occasional periods of light rain. The best chance for rain looks to occur Tuesday into early Wednesday and also Thursday into early Friday. Rain amounts next week are expected to be low, with most totals averaging less than a quarter inch.
High temperatures Monday will generally be in the mid-50s but look to cool to the upper 40s Tuesday before returning to the low and mid-50s Wednesday. High temperatures Thursday and Friday should be in the upper 50s to low 60s.
Low temperatures Tuesday morning will range from the mid and upper 30s across the Hill Country, to the upper 40s across Central Texas to the upper 40s near the coast. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning is shaping up to be the coldest night next week. Lows Wednesday morning will include the low and mid-30s across the Hill Country, the mid and upper 30s across Central Texas and the middle 40s across the coastal plains. Lows Thursday and Friday mornings will generally be in the low and middle 40s.
Long-range forecasts call for temperatures to remain somewhat cool next weekend into the following week, with high temperatures in the 60s and low temperatures in the 40s. There is some indication we may see some colder temperatures arriving around the 27th and the 28th. Rain amounts through the end of the month are predicted to remain low.A Weak El Niño has Officially Developed
National Weather Service forecasters announced Thursday the large tongue of warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific has finally couple with the atmosphere to the point it has reached the criteria to be declared a weak El Niño. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear favorable for the El Nino to persist through spring and possibly even into early summer. According to NWS forecasters, due to the expected weak strength of the El Niño, widespread or significant global impacts are not anticipated. However, the El Niño is expected to cause an active subtropical jet stream across the southern US through spring, which will have the potential to being numerous storms to Texas. This active jet stream will also have the potential to enhance the upcoming spring severe weather season. Stay tuned for further updates.Mercury Returns to the Evening Sky
If you've never seen the planet Mercury before – or even if you have – take advantage of your golden opportunity to see Mercury after sunset over the next few weeks. February 2019 showcases Mercury's best appearance in the evening sky for the year for northerly latitudes. Here's how to find Mercury. Make sure you have an unobstructed view of the horizon in the direction of sunset, and, if possible, perch yourself on top of a hill or balcony. Then as dusk deepens into darkness, look for Mercury to pop out low in the sky, and close to the sunset point on the horizon. You may see Mercury with the eye alone an hour or so after sunset. With binoculars, you can spot Mercury even earlier. But don't dally, for locations across the southern US, Mercury will follow the sun and sink below the horizon about and an hour to an hour and 20 minutes after sundown.
Mercury is often hard to see in our sky. That's because Mercury, the innermost planet, orbits the sun inside of Earth's orbit and is often lost in the glare of the sun. But, at opportune times, we can see Mercury for a brief while in the evening sky after sunset, or, at other times, briefly in the morning sky before sunrise. The next few weeks will be one of those great opportune times to see Mercury. Don't miss it! (Earthsky.org)
Have a good weekend.