A Warmer Weekend... Then Big Changes

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A weak cold front is moving through the Permian Basin this morning. Expect a gusty north wind but little in the way of cooling is forecast. The front will wash out over the southern Permian Basin this afternoon and the winds will slowly veer around to the east and become calm by this evening.

High temperatures are still expected to reach into the mid and even upper 60’s despite the cold front. A few locations south of I-10 will reach into the mid and even upper 70’s.
Skies will be mostly sunny through most of the day. However, a healthy cloud deck will begin to move into the area overnight. This will keep temperatures from falling below 40 for most locations tonight. The clouds act as a blanket, trapping in today’s heat.

It appears that a zonal west to east flow aloft can be expected through the weekend. A steady warm up is expected. Highs will be in the upper 60’s on Friday and in the 70’s this weekend.

The warmest day of the forecast will be Monday. Westerly winds will help push temperatures up into the mid and even upper 70’s. A few locations will likely hit the lower 80’s. Records for Monday are in the mid 80’s, so I think we will stay below record values. However, it will be quite warm for this time of year (15-20 degrees above normal).

A cold front will drop into the area on Tuesday and another reinforcing shot of cold air late Wednesday.
This will be the coldest air we’ve experienced this season! It currently appears that the front will arrive early in the day on Tuesday. The high temperature for Tuesday will likely end up being in the lower 60’s. The caveat is that this high will occur shortly after midnight. Temperatures will be in the 50’s when the front arrives and will fall into the 30’s and 40’s by Tuesday afternoon.
There will be some rain along and behind the front. The GFS shows 850MB temperatures falling to around 2c by late Tuesday. This would only support rain across the Permian Basin. However, by Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, the GFS brings the zero degree isotherm south of I-20. It’s important to note that the 06Z run is much more aggressive than the previous 00Z run, which isn’t unusual. However, if the 12Z and future 00Z runs continue to show this aggressive temperature drop at H85, the forecast will have to be modified significantly in some locations.

“IF” the GFS is correct and the air at H85 can drop below freezing overnight Tuesday, into Wednesday morning, some transition to snow would be expected, especially if rain continues to fall and evaporative cooling processes can lower the temperature of the atmospheric column.

The reinforcing shot of cold air mentioned above will arrive late Wednesday night. Again, the GFS is showing an aggressive drop in temperatures, with H85 progs dropping to around -3 to -4 by Thursday morning and slowly climbing to around 0c by Thursday afternoon. This suggests that highs on Thursday will struggle to get out of the 30’s!

In addition to the colder air at the surface, the drop will also have an impact of precipitation type. The GFS keeps precipitation over the area through the day on Wednesday and into Thursday. Precipitation should taper off from north to south on Thursday.
This would limit the overall potential for snow in the Permian Basin. However, it would raise the chance of snow south of I-10, where the colder air and the precipitation would exist together for a longer period of time on Thursday morning.

All of this to say that it appears possible that a dusting (flurries) can be expected overnight Wednesday into Thursday for the Permian Basin. Further south and west, over the higher terrain near Marathon, Alpine and Fort Davis, I wouldn’t be shocked to see an inch or two, depending on how warm the soils are.
The big winner will be in the Sacramento Mountains, where 5-8” with isolated totals above 10” can be expected above 7000 feet. Those that have been waiting for the first round of powder on the slopes will be excited to see this storm!

Keep in mind that this storm is a week away and a lot can change. The Euro isn’t as aggressive but has also shown some shifting the last couple of runs and appears to be trying to lean toward the GFS solutions. For now, I will side with the GFS until some consistency can be realized.

Be sure to check back with www.cbs7.com/weather and CBS 7 News for the latest updates on this storm. Each new set of data will be looked at closely and the forecast will be updated accordingly.