SAN ANGELO, TX — It’s this time every year when the first major cold front of the season plunges south, that I see folks run to social media posting screenshots from various weather forecasting sites claiming that snow will fall in west Texas.
The data is there, even the white/gray/pink color scheme which indicates a snow/icy/rainy mix. In most cases these forecasts are 4-5 days out and are viewed for what they are at face value. Before you fall victim to these “forecasts” listen to this, and let’s use the upcoming week as an example.
A strong disturbance in the atmosphere above us will move south (dig south) across the Texas Panhandle. A very strong cold front (which is the leading line of colder air) will move through much of Texas. This air mass will provide the coldest air of the season so far. The front will be south of I-10 by mid-day Monday.
Rainfall is certainly possible behind the front my forecast calls for 30-40 percent coverage of light to moderate showers with no severe weather expected. As its name suggests, behind this front, temperatures will likely fall into the upper 30s. In other words, the warmest part of the day will be between 2 AM and 7 AM for the Big Country, and 7 AM – 12 PM for the Concho Valley.
Now here’s where the forecast gets tricky. Our medium to long-range forecast models do suggest a rain to wintry mix after the front passes as temperatures near the earth surface and just slightly above there fall below 32°F or 0°C (the freezing mark). This same guidance suggests the wintry mix will stay north of I-20. Right now, my confidence is low, but slick spots are likely throughout the day.
Here’s what this does NOT mean:
-DOES NOT mean snow will fall in west Texas
-DOES NOT mean ice will fall
-DOES NOT mean we need to be concerned
Here’s what this does mean:
-IT WILL be cold
-IT WILL be rainy
-THE FORECAST will be watched
Keep in mind, we haven’t even had our first freeze yet. Although my forecast does call for that to happen Tuesday morning. So, the ground is still warm and would likely not support any snowfall accumulation.
-Chief Meteorologist Ricky Cody