3:45 PM CST | February 20, 2019
It has been a nice late winter day across the state. We have seen quite a bit of sunshine in the wake of our last system. Thursday will be several degrees warmer than today in the west; however, winds will be gusty. Showers and a few storms will occur across East Texas on Thursday, where temperatures may be a few degrees cooler in some spots. Late Friday is when the bigger changes begin... Right now, our next weather system is digging into the Western United States. This is a look at the 2:00 PM Water Vapor and Analysis, courtesy of NEXLAB (College of DuPage).
This is the system that we have been anticipating for some time now. When a system is out at sea, the data for the weather models is somewhat limited. This changes when the system moves into the range of the US Upper Air Network, which is the network of stations that launch weather balloons. These balloons (technically a "rawinsonde") collect data from the surface into the upper-levels of the atmosphere. They collect information on the temperatures, moisture, wind velocities, etc. above the surface, where surface weather stations cannot. All of this is vital in determining the strength of ridges, troughs, and other features. When the model guidance has this information at its disposal, the various solutions begin to converge. When this happens, confidence in the forecast increases. So what has been the trend today? The trend has been for a deeper system. As such, the timing has slowed a bit with a few of the weather models. This is a loop of this morning's NAM (North American Mesoscale Model). Keep in mind it is subject to change, but this is what it is advertising through sunset Saturday. *If loop does not fully load, refresh browser window.
I have attached the latest graphic from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. This is what they generally expect for the region from Friday night through Saturday. A good portion of West Texas is likely to get dry-slotted. Gusty west winds with low dew points/humidity will make for hazardous fire conditions across the west. Rain chances increase Friday into Saturday across central portions of the state. The greatest storm chances will be across the eastern third of the state on Saturday. There is the potential for some strong to severe storms during this time, as outlined in the graphic.
One limiting factor for a more organized, significant risk of severe weather is the timing... While today's weather models have slowed it a bit, they still advertise the deepest moisture being swept east of the state by mid-afternoon. This would place more emphasis on parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. Now, if later runs continue to slow the system, this could change for us. Right now, it looks like a few elevated storms could produce pocket change hail and strong winds on Friday/Friday night. The risk for surface-based storms increases to the east of the I-35/35E corridor on Saturday, where all hazards will be possible.
I will update as necessary on the blog and also on the Facebook page. Check back daily for updates. For the latest local weather information for your area, please visit the National Weather Service website. You can also find us on Facebook.