Weather Discussion for 2/20/2017

Weather Discussion for 2/20/2017

Yesterday/Last Night: Widespread rain and thunderstorms are ongoing this morning across most of Texas east of I-35. This is the rain that has been forecast for several days. As expected, severe weather and heavy rainfall were both observed across Texas. The National Weather Service received over 50 reports of damaging wind gusts yesterday and last night, verifying the predictions that the severe weather threat would primarily be damaging winds. In addition to the widespread wind reports, at least one tornado was confirmed on the north side of San Antonio. Rainfall totals in the range of 1-2 inches have been observed over much of Central and Southeast Texas, also close to the predicted values. A few locations saw more than 3 inches of rain.

Storm reports received by the National Weather Service from 6:00 AM CST Sunday through 6:000 AM CST Monday. Image source: NWS/Storm Prediction Center.
24-hour estimated rainfall. Image source: NWS.

Analysis: The widespread area of rainfall should continue to push east through the rest of the morning and afternoon, likely clearing the Houston area by this evening. An additional 1.0 to 1.5 inches of rain can be expected across Houston and the Upper Texas Coast. This rain comes as an upper-level trough continues to swing through the area, generating strong ascent.

500 mb analysis valid 02/20/2017 at 1200Z.

Forecast: The upper-level trough responsible for last night and today’s rain should move out of the region by tomorrow, with ridging building in behind. This ridge should remain firmly in place through Thursday, leading to warm and dry conditions across Texas. The next big trough will begin to dig into the Great Plains by Thursday afternoon, leading to the development of a surface low over Oklahoma. This low will move northeast, pushing a cold front across Texas Thursday night and Friday. Right now, it appears that a lack of moisture should keep the frontal passage dry. This front should bring noticeably cooler, but more seasonal temperatures to the region before winds return out of the southwest early next week, and temperatures begin to rebound. No major hazardous weather appears to be on the horizon, so enjoy the gradually clearing conditions and warm temperatures through Thursday, before temperatures return to their more seasonable normal by Friday.

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