Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Old Man Winter on his way Back!

Next week it looks as though old man winter will make another visit to East Texas, and much of the eastern half of the Nation. There will also be two opportunities for winter weather next week as a couple of storm systems move through with cold air in place.

A strong arctic high pressure is building across the Canadian Prairies and will begin to move south this weekend. This will send a strong cold front racing towards East Texas either late Sunday or Monday giving us a chance of rain as this front moves through. An area of low pressure is forecast to develop somewhere along this front. If this low forms to our west, it will move south of East Texas along the Gulf coast as the cold air rushes in. If, and this is a big if, this happens, East Texas would be under the gun for a major snowstorm. Timing is always an issue here when it comes to winter forecasting. Usually the moisture is gone by the time the cold air moves in however, it is interesting that forecast models are beginning to show the cold air reaching East Texas before the moisture moves out. The image below is a meteogram from the 06Z GFS forecast model (the time line goes from right to left, opposite from what you would normally read).

The meteogram shows a strong front moving through dropping temperatures around Midnight Monday followed by a 12 hour period of snow, some of which would be heavy. Now let me stress this is just a trend. I am not forecasting a big snow storm early next week, right now I am just mentioning rain followed by cold weather but, it is very interesting to see these latest forecast model trends.

The next opportunity of winter weather would be late next week as the arctic high move east and an over running precipitation event takes shape. Warmer air from the Gulf could be forced over the cold dome of air at the surface causing clouds and precipitation to develop. With surface temperatures at or below normal and temperatures above freeing aloft, sleet and freezing rain would be the main threats with this event. The following two images are forecast maps for Friday evening. Notice the temperatures are in the upper 20s and low 30s with around 0.25” precipitation falling. This could produce a significant amount if ice accumulation.

Again this is a long way out. What I have covered are forecast trends, not an official forecast. I am very confident that a significant cold air mass will move into East Texas next week. If this air mass while moisture is in place, we will see a winter event. But in most cases, the moisture is gone when the cold air moves in making significant winter weather events very rare across East Texas. Stay tuned, more to come.

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