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December 2, 2009 / Dave Gorham

Snow followed by freezing rain?

Central and Southeast Texas Weekly Weather Outlook:

 

Looks like we may be in for a few more surprise over the next week…First let me briefly talk about the upcoming snow burst.  Yes, it is probably going to snow based on the consistent nature of both the ETA and GFS.  I noticed the new data is coming in still slightly colder meaning any precip that does fall will likely be in the form of sleet or snow.  I still think 1-3 inches look good over the Houston area with isolated higher amounts. Slightly higher snow totals may occur in the Austin and College Station area since the air will be even colder.  Based on the colder soundings the heavier snow may actually fall closer to the coast since moisture levels should be a little deeper.  For now our current forecast still looks good.  I do think a winter storm watch will be issued for the  Houston Metro area sometime tomorrow morning and this will probably include the San Antonio, Austin and Beaumont areas.   Skies should clear shortly after midnight Fri bringing a widespread freeze across the region.  I am becoming increasingly more confident temps may drop into the mid 20s on the north part of town (Houston)  and closer to 29-32 on the south side.  Lower 20s may be possible in the Austin and College Station areas.  Temps should warm into the mid to upper 40s later in the day as sleet and snow melts under bright sunshine.   I will be in extra early to get those maps published for the broadcast team.

Now for the surprise(s)…it appears moisture will be return in vengeance late Sat into early Sun bringing thickening clouds and a chance of light rain by daybreak on Sunday.  The problem is temps may be very close to freezing at that time and it does appear there may be a brief period of freezing drizzle on the north side of Houston and points north and west.  Nathan Stanford also told me Bufkit is hinting at that as well…considering we will have some residual pockets of snow and sleet around we may have a little problem (brief though) with some light icing, especially N/W of town.  Clouds should remain thick on Sun and with a light NE winds temps may only recover into the lower to mid 40s during the day. 

The other surprise is medium range computer models are developing a massive Arctic High over western Canada to a tune of 1070 millibars (Global), 1060 millibars (GFS) and near 1055 millibars (Canadian).  Averaging the 3 and you probably will be getting a surface high in between 1060-1065 millibars.  What I am concerned with is model data (especially the ECMWF) is trending toward a larger and larger piece of this airmass heading south down the Plains by next Tuesday!!    I know everyone is concentrating on the potential snowstorm, but we may be dealing with some light icing across parts of Texas as early as Tue based on the flow aloft.  Right now I am thinking we may recover toward 50-55 on Mon (depending on cloud cover), but may trend back into the 40s or lower (especially across north Texas) by Tuesday.  

Fred

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