Thursday, December 3, 2009

Freezing temperatures tonight followed by a chance of snow Friday

Many areas of East Texas saw their first freeze this morning with some areas dropping into the upper 20s and lower 30s. Mostly sunny skies but cold temperatures will continue today with high temperatures only reaching the upper 40s.

We are currently monitoring an upper level disturbance across the Panhandle this morning producing light snow near Amarillo. This disturbance will move southeast across Texas overnight tonight and tomorrow bringing a chance of light snow or snow flurries to the southern half of East Texas tomorrow afternoon. There is a chance the snow could start off as light rain showers but with most of the upper atmosphere well below freezing and drier air located near the surface, evaporational cooling will rapidly change any rain over to snow. Right now it appears the snow will be too light for any major accumulation however, we could see a light dusting from a Palestine to Bullard to Carthage line south.

As this disturbance moves towards the Gulf of Mexico, an area of low pressure will begin to develop off the coast bringing another chance of snow to our southeastern counties. It does appear this low could cause significant accumulations of snow north west of its track. If the path of this low changes it could drastically change our snow forecast for East Texas. Right now the low appears to be too far east keeping the accumulating snowfall south and east of East Texas with the big winner being southwest Louisiana, where some computer models paint 4 to 6 inches of snow. Winter storm watches have been posted for the extreme southern counties of East Texas where some computer models indicate 2 inches of snow could fall.

The overall trend of this developing system is to continue pushing the moisture farther south and east making the chance of snow in East Texas less. The two images below indicate snowfall accumulation.

The image above is from the GFS forecast model's total snow accumulation for Friday's event. Areas in Pink are up to an inch of snow with the light blue being over 2 inches. This model indicates 3 inches or more of snow in the yellow area stretching from Center through Lufkin and totaling nearly 5 inches near Crocket. I think this model has a better handle on the area of snowfall but has too much accumulation.

The image above shows total forecast snowfall from the NAM forecast model. Notice the area of heavy snow, 6 inches plus, is well off to our southeast and produces a light dusting across East Texas with a bull's eye of 2 inches near Jasper. I think this model has a great grasp on the amount and area of snowfall however, i expect the area of a light dusting to be a little farther northwest, but not by much. We will continue to monitor this developing winter weather situation but for all the snow lovers out there, we might have to wait until the next storm system. The winter is still young.

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