4:30 PM CST | February 12, 2018
It has been a cool but very dry winter for most Texans. It has been incredibly dry in the Texas Panhandle, including the Amarillo area. The last time Amarillo saw measurable precipitation was on October 13th. It has been 122 consecutive days since they saw more than a trace of moisture. This streak will *hopefully* come to an end soon as better opportunities for meaningful moisture should return.
As mentioned in the last discussion here, we are expecting another cold snap late this week and into the weekend. Between now and then, there will be some rain chances for parts of the state, particularly in the east. I am still concerned about the potential for Wintry Precipitation during the Friday to Saturday time-frame. My primary area of concern is Northwest Texas at this time. We will have to watch the temperature trends as the cold front pushes into the Central Plains on Thursday. As we have seen with the last two Freezing Rain/Sleet episodes, the models handled the cold air horribly and temperatures had to be reduced significantly within 12-24 hours of each event. We should then see temperatures bounce back, at least briefly, early next week.
The weather pattern for the United States over the next 10-14 days should favor low pressure in the north and west with ridging in the southeast. This means that a "battle zone" is likely to set up from Texas through the Ozarks and into the Mississippi/Tennessee Valleys. For the most part, I agree with the latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. You can see what they are predicting in terms of temperatures and precipitation in the long-range, from February 18-22nd. I illustrate where this "battle zone" would set up based on their outlook. Now, if the cold air tends to push farther south during this time-frame, then this zone would focus farther south. Regardless, I anticipate a mix of Winter Weather and Severe Weather for the Southern Plains in the upcoming weeks. Check back here and on the Facebook page for the latest!