Weather Discussion for February 15, 2017

Weather Discussion for February 15, 2017

Analysis: Morning surface analysis shows that the cold front that pushed through Texas yesterday is now well out over the Gulf of Mexico. High pressure is building in behind this cold front, with a 1032 mb high noted over southwest Wyoming. Weak cold air advection continues across the state. Visible satellite imagery shows clear skies (save for some high cirrus here and there) across most of Texas, except for the Southeast where clouds persist, but should be moving out later today.

Forecast: An upper-level low is forecast to move across Texas on Thursday and into Friday. While this forcing for ascent would lead to precipitation in many cases, dry air is abundant, which should keep rain chances low. Some rain chances may exist across Southeast Texas, but accumulations should be light. Ridging will build back in for Friday and Saturday, leading to pleasant conditions.

The weather will get active again by Sunday as another high-amplitude trough approaches the region. There is significant disagreement between the European and GFS models on timing however. The GFS is faster, bringing the trough axis to a Gallup, NM to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico line by Sunday evening. The ECMWF on the other hand has the trough axis still over Arizona. Based on the timing from the GFS, rain chances would increase from west to east across Texas beginning Sunday afternoon. The severe potential looks low at this time given the limited instability, and expected widespread nature of rainfall. A low-end severe threat could exist over portions of South Texas however where there will be some instability, as well as directional wind shear. The bigger concern will be for heavy rainfall. Precipitable water is forecast to be approaching 1.50 inches across much of Texas, which is about as high as it gets this time of year. The GFS shows a widespread area of 1-2 inches of rain roughly along the I-35 corridor, with a few pockets of more than 3 inches in some places.

A lot of uncertainty still exists on timing right now, but look for Sunday and/or Monday to be rainy, with locally heavy rainfall possible across portions of Central, North, and South Texas.

GFS forecast precipitable water, valid Monday, February 20 0600Z (12:00 AM CST). Image source: Pivotal Weather.

Precipitable water sounding climatology for Fort Worth, TX. Image source: NWS/Storm Prediction Center.

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