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Texas Weather Outlook – February 9, 2020

After a very active (well, at least for winter) January 10… here we are looking at another, milder, severe potential here on February 9.

First, let’s look at the SPC outlook.

So, we’ve got general thunderstorms for the Hill Country, South Central, Southeast, and East Texas; this also includes the eastern edge of the Big Country, and the eastern bit of North Central Texas. For the rest of North Central Texas and most of Central Texas, we’ve got a Level 1 out of 5 – Marginal – risk of severe thunderstorms. In the Marginal risk area we’ve got the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and Waco’s metro area.

Instability in the Marginal risk area will be moderate-ish. Tonight, as I author this, it’s a nice what I call “preamble” night. It’s mild for the winter, in the high 50s and low 60s (in warmer seasons, it’s warm rather than mild), humid, and is marked by beautiful low stratocumulus clouds moving up from the South, a common visual indicator of moisture coming from the Gulf of Mexico, where we Texans get so much of our moisture from.

We’ll warm into and linger in the high 60s and low 70s today, under mostly cloudy skies. A cold front will move to over the Panhandle and High Plains of the state, helping to trigger today’s storms.

For the morning, expect scattered light showers and drizzle. We’ll approach noon, and that’s when to watch for non-severe storms in the general thunderstorms and Marginal area to mix in with the showers. It’s the afternoon where, in the Marginal risk area, isolated severe storms MAY form ahead of the cold front. IF that happens, these storms will have a lot of territory to themselves, and be able to get quite strong. The likely direction for these storms, and other non-strong/severe activity, will be SW to NE. With the given parameters of this afternoon, the main risk is hail up to 1-2″ in diameter, and winds up to ~60 mph. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out, but is quite unlikely.

There’s also a chance these storms may not even form, as I hinted at in the previous paragraph, and if that happens, the severe threat will be reduced, and will be “saved” for when the actual front comes through & brings a line of storms with it. The risk with this “round” will be strong winds, along similar parameters as mentioned above.

Behind the front, expect temperatures to linger in the 60s into the upper 50s until around midnight; they’ll fall into the 40s and lower 50s by sunrise Monday.

With any thunderstorms, lightning is a risk. In a few areas, heavy rain may lead to minor flooding. As for general winds, they’ll mainly be from the south ahead of the front, and from the north/northwest behind the front. This will not be a “sweep it all out” front, so expect more rain on Monday, sans the storminess of today.

A liveblog will be added to this post as developments happen starting late morning.

Sprinkly Saturday, Showery Saturnight

Snow to Follow the Severe Storms?

With the severe threat past North Texas & just light backside rain lingering around, the question about tomorrow morning’s wintry-weather potential steps to the spotlight.

As has been mentioned before, the back side of this low will feature cold enough air that wraparound activity will likely be in the form of a wintry snow/sleet/rain mix across the northern half of the region come mid-morning.

Well, that’s still on, & it may be a bit more widespread & heavier than previously thought. The models are mostly in agreement that not only is there a possibility of a mix, but it may be briefly heavy.

So, be Weather Aware of a light-to-moderate wintry mix, brief (couple hours) in any given spot – along & North of I-20 from Abilene to DFW, then along & north of I-30 DFW to Texarkana, between ~3:30-11am tomorrow morning. The ground temperatures will be too warm to support much accumulation, especially on paved surfaces, but there may be up to an inch on elevated surfaces & grass.

Jumpin’ January!

One of the common weather wisdoms in North Texas is that severe thunderstorms, a purview of warm weather practically unheard of in the wintertime in the northern half of the country, can happen any time of the year, due to our subtropical climate. Sure, they may be most common in the springtime, but never count out the day after Christmas and damn near Halloween.

As those articles demonstrate, that wisdom is very much true. And right now, it’s looking like it’ll be proven true once again today – Friday, January 10, 2020 CE.

The PC2 StormStalkers have been tracking and providing modest updates on an approaching storm system (low), which, a few days ago, looked like it was gonna bring some modest thunderstorms to the area yesterday, today, and some light wintry weather early Saturday. Then, the model guidance inched more and more towards severe weather…


Earlier in the week, this storm system was looking like it was gonna speed along, bringing just a marginal chance of severe thunderstorms to North Texas. But lately it’s been slowing down. What this means for North and Northeast Texas is, in short, higher and more widespread severe weather potential.

Let’s start with flooding. It’s been quite dry for a few weeks, and in fact, drought conditions have been slowly re-expanding across the region after being beaten back somewhat late autumn. So the soil moisture is low.

Soil moisture map of the United States. Texas, with the exception of part of the Panhandle and a tad of the Big Bend, is quite dry at the moment, to put it mildly.

With the exception of sandy desert soil, dry soil is eager to absorb water. If the low was going at the original speed it was clocked at as it was crossing the Pacific, the flooding risk would’ve been near zero since the forecast ~.25-1.5″ of rain would’ve been easily absorbed.

With the slowing of a storm comes, of course, higher rainfall totals. Now, we’re looking at the potential for 2-4″ of rain from the core Metroplex and points northeastward into southeastern Oklahoma, and up to 2″ elsewhere in the region–all falling mainly within a fairly short 1-3 hour period of time in any given location. This has the potential to overwhelm soils as well as urban drainage systems. Because of this, a Flash Flood Watch has been issued for Dallas and Tarrant counties, and counties points northeast, starting at noon today & ending at 3 AM tomorrow.

Now, let’s talk the other modes – large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and tornadoes. Another consequence of a slower-moving system, combined with timing, is that it can better assemble and “mix” the ingredients for severe weather. Counter-clockwise rotation around lows in the Northern Hemisphere means this west-to-east mover from across the Pacific will have more time to pull warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and have it well-primed with morning & early-afternoon sunlight energy to clash well with its associated cold front. In fact, that’s been happening for the past day. This morning’s lows in North Texas will struggle to get below 65F/18.33C, which is incredibly warm for a low, even in a mild Texas January! Our normal highs this time of year are in the mid-50s F/~12C.

The morning will be calm, so if you’ve got business, try to take care of it then. Skies will be mostly cloudy, temperatures will linger in the 60s, and it’ll be absolutely juicy outside, so dress appropriately – it WILL feel like mid-spring. Winds will be quite breezy, 10-20 mph/16-32 km’h from the South.

It’s around noon that things will get interesting. The cold front will be idle (save for the temperature drop) until it’s about to a Childress/Abilene/Del Rio line that it will approach by about the aforementioned noontime. Non-severe storms may start along it by then, while activity has the potential to bubble up ahead of the front in North, Central, and South Central Texas.

It’s this “ahead” activity that would kick off the day’s severe weather. When you have a low with an associated front (usually, but not always, a cold front), and conditions are conducive to a squall line forming along the front (as they are today; more on that later), it’s the isolated storms that form in the thick of the juicy air up to sometimes as much as 250 miles ahead of the front itself that have the potential to become supercells – the strongest form of thunderstorm. Why? Well, unlike storm cells embedded in a line, they have a whole heaping helping of primed atmosphere ahead of them!

IF – and that’s the key word, as they may not – they form, as mentioned, it’d be in North, Central, and South Central Texas, a tad west of the I-35 corridor. They’d then move northeast (with some having the potential to turn and move more due east or even slightly southeast), bringing the potential of hail up to the size of – in today’s case – probably teacups or so, straight-line winds up to and exceeding 65 mph/105 km’h, and tornadoes, in addition to localized flooding.

the HRRR simulated-reflectivity model, starting at 08z Jan 10th [2am/0200 Jan 10th CST], showing potential development up to late afternoon/early evening. Note the isolated cells that form first, then “merge” into the squall.


As these supercells move eastward, the front itself will spawn thunderstorms that will quickly form into a solid squall line, likely along a Brady-Brownwood-Eastland-Wichita Falls geo-line, and then move eastward. With squalls like this, the highest hazard is straight-line winds. Hail is much less of a concern, but the potential is still there for up to 1-2″/2.5-5 cm hail in the most severe parts of the line. Brief “landspout” tornadoes are also possible, with exceptions (more on that in a bit). But this is where the flooding threat makes itself really apparent.

Back on May 5, 1995, an isolated supercell pummeled Tarrant County with a hailstorm that, for almost six years, held the record for costliest hailstorm in American (and perhaps world) history, until it was beaten in 2001 by one in St. Louis. This supercell was a frontal cell that formed in the juicy air ahead of the front’s squall. Almost always, the front’s squall catches up with, and absorbs, any supercells that formed ahead of it. This happened over Dallas County back then, causing major flooding.

A quick primer on SPC severe weather risk outlook categories…

And now the outlook maps…

SPC outlook issued just before midday CST (18Z) on Thursday, Jan 9…

…and the latest SPC outlook, issued a tad before midnight today (6Z). Note the “bubble” of Moderate risk that popped up first only for the Shreveport extended metro, before being extended to the entire ArkLaTexOma region and NE Texas.

A similar phenomenon is likely today. As the supercells approach about a US-75/I-45 line in the early evening – perhaps a bit further east – they’ll start to be absorbed into the squall and present a major flooding risk, especially for Northeast Texas. Current thinking is that the squall will still have a major tornado threat, due to being particularly intense – leaving a wide-open possibility that supercells form “embedded” in the line! It was “just” straight-line winds that led the “bubble” of Moderate risk to pop up as mentioned above, but after the latest model guidance on the squall’s potential, it was expanded.

Keep in mind that ANY category of severe weather potential is hazardous, and even “just” non-severe thunderstorms spawn lightning and can cause floods. It’s just that more intense, more widespread activity is *more likely* in deeper risk areas. Even in “just” slight/enhanced area, supercell potential is there!
After evening’s in full swing, the severe stuff will be in eastern North Texas, East, and Southeast Texas to take us into the night, leaving just light to moderate back-side rain over North Texas. By the time morning comes – about 4 AM – Louisiana will be the focus and we’ll be talking snow/ice potential…

After the core of the low arrives in East Texas in the early morning hours of Saturday with its associated light core rain, the cold air behind the front will spill down into North Texas, bringing temps in the 30s; lower 40s further South in the region, and hit up some of the leftover moisture. This will lead to scattered wintry mix showers (rain, sleet, snow) along and north of a Stamford-Breckenridge-Fort Worth-Dallas-Greenville-Texarkana line.


The ground temperatures will still be quite warm from today, however, so expect no real impacts (though still use caution traveling, as people here in Texas go into panic mode upon seeing any form of wintry precip falling!). There MAY be a VERY light “dusting” on elevated and grassy surfaces along and North of a US-380 line. This is within a 3-8am-ish timeline.

Skies will remain cloudy until about noonish or so, at which point they will clear out. Highs will still be cold – in the 40s; 50s south.

North Texas’ First “Taste” of Winter Approaches…

Y'all ready, North Texas? Ready… for the apocalypse?! 🤣🌨

Temps climbing into the 60s NW/70s elsewhere by afternoon today, under cloudy skies, will give way to a drop in temperatures behind an afternoon cold front. By the time night's under way, expect temperatures to drop into the 40s with rain moving in for the overnight into the morning.

Now, for the interesting part. The cold core of the Arctic air mass behind the front will arrive while the precipitation, caused by a Pacific low, will still be in the area.

The activity will be moving NW to SE overall, by the way.

This will lead to a now-likely possibility of some sleet and even snow mixing in with the rain starting at about 3 AM for areas along & NW of a Brownwood-along US 67 to Dallas-Interstate 30 to Texarkana line, and lasting until about 10-noon or so, with a transition back to regular ol' rain until the activity clears the area by late afternoon, leaving only clouds behind (and those will clear in the evening, ushering in a night of around-freezing temps.

Late night and into the morning, the air temperatures along and NW of the aforementioned line will be in the mid-30s. This shallow area of slightly-above-freezing air will be smothered by at-&-below-freezing air higher up, causing a wintry mix.

The above-freezing surface temperatures will ensure little "sticks". Pockets of suitable freezing air MAY lead to minor "sticking" on vehicles, trees, some grass, et cetera.

The roads will be TOO WARM for "sticking", though SOME bridges and overpasses may become a tad slick. Anything that DOES "stick" will melt in the afternoon 40s.

In a nutshell, as the Hitchhiker's Guide advises, "Don't Panic!". Just govern y'all'sselves accordingly & take your freezing-weather precautions. Don't forget about pets, plants, the elderly & otherwise vulnerable, people in general, pipes, and the like.

– Corey "SHUT IT DOWN!" James

Posted by PC2 StormStalkers on Monday, December 9, 2019

Invest in Irony Meters: Fort Worth “Anti-Discrimination” commissioner neck-deep in Trumpian nonsense

Fort Worth City Hall. By Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49416184

The sounds of local yahoos popping off bottle rockets and other such fare ain’t the only “fireworks” going off in the humble city of Fort Worth these last couple days and change. As it turns out, a dude by the name of Mike Steele, who – get this, y’all – sits pretty on the Fort Worth City Council anti-discrimination commission (!) – shared some hideously racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and sexist mess on the Book o’ Faces, as exposed by TCU Associate Professor Emily Farris on the Home of the Blue Birds.

I swear, y’all, ya just can’t make this baby turtlin’ stuff up in this here Era of Late-Stage Capitalism led by Cheeto Benito, the Day-Glo Dotard (with apologies to the makers of the actual paint).

Among the lovely, classy “dank may-mays” shared by this Steele fellow are as follows…

And a Decepticon responsible for reposting that crap.

Actually, I gotta apologize; that’s an insult to Decepticons. Even a Decepticon would likely have more class.

Knowing the difference between “sex” and “gender” should be one of the basic qualifications for serving on an anti-discrimination commission, don’t’cha thank?

“Hur hur hur! Black wimmenz s’pos’d’ta be subserv-ee-ent, so Mee-shell Obammer must’d had a pay-nis!”

In addition, he’s also called for civil war, even going so far as to encourage fellow chuds to “buy ammo”:

 

He’s either a hamburger short of a Happy Meal, just a plain sociopath, or both. And, sure enough, he blew out even more irony meters with his response.

 

Surprise, surprise — being anti-LGBT so long as they’re not fruit of your own loins, as if that makes human beings less important.

Lord have mercy.

I love that he mentioned Mayor Price, as she actually threw him under the bus quicker than a dog takes off towards a squirrel:

 

Not that Mayor Price is an angel, herself. I’d bet she holds the same kind of views near and dear to her own “heart”, but she knows her goose would be cooked carbonized if she ever fully spilled her beans; after all, she is one of an endangered species in 2019 – a fully-right-wing Republican mayor of a big American city – who has only staved off electora l obliteration by throwing a few progressive plates on her spread, such as an overhaul and expansion of public transit, support of LGBT peoples and general community inclusiveness, and uplift of less-fortunate parts of town, amongst her otherwise Trumpian credentials.

So don’t leave this article thinking that she’s “above it all”, especially given the recent very fishy removal of Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and the bad behavior of the Fort Worth Police Department, which has even affected me personally in the past. Fort Worth was also the only major Texas city to not join the lawsuit opposing SB4, the state government’s anti-sanctuary-cities bill.

Fort Worthians love to go on about how “fake” Dallas is, and how much more “genuine” Fort Worth is. This is, of course, bull — for the love of Avalar’s heroes, this city of almost a million people — and one that has had a population north of 100,000 since 1920 — has finally decided deep into the 21st century to stop pretending it’s still some “charming small town”.

I speak from experience about the artificiality of the Panther City, given I’ve lived here basically all my life and has faced the ostracism and mistreatment that makes any attempts at labels like “inclusive”, “friendly”, “cosmopolitan”, “caring”, and such a violation of Webster’s’ validity as a dictionary. The fact we have a faux-”moderate” not-so-secret Trumpian mayor attests to the aforementioned. The dysfunction here is real, and I don’t just say this as a guy who was jumped over a $75 motorcycle saddle back in April and subsequently got hit by a car.

The kicker is, city officials have known about this guy’s chuddery for years. No joke, y’all. The Star-Telegram went into quite some depth about the discovery.

 

According to one of the Star-Telegram articles,

When members [of United Fort Worth] inquired about Steele, they were told he represented a conservative or pro-Trump view point on the commission. He called Steele’s placement on the commission “irresponsible” because the Human Relations Commission was intended to be an unbiased, apolitical group.

The “balance fallacy” is just that — a fallacy. Having a “conservative, pro-Trump voice” on an anti-discrimination commission is like a community of sapient chickens deciding a fox on their village council is a dandy idea. You simply can’t have an effective community and society with people running around with untreated antisocial personality disorder and on some pure evil mess and proud of both, and you can’t have good government with people who hate good government.

These people don’t need to have their speech legally suppressed, of course, but they sure as hell do need to be ostracized, not embraced. Relegate them to the “badly-behaved kiddie” table so the well-behaved kids, as well as the adults, can dine and discuss in peace.

By the way, a side note — for years, I’ve been yellin’ from the mountaintops and tellin’ in the valleys, as a bi guy in the underclass, that the Human Rights Commission, or HRC as they’re more commonly known, is not a trustworthy LGBT organization, as they stand up only for the moneyed, privileged “queer elite class”, and couldn’t give a speck of dirt on a flying rat’s derriére about those of us queers who actually depend on transit passes. Case in point: despite all this garbage that’s reared its ugly head here in Fort Worth, confirming what us on street level already knew, the city scored a perfect freakin’ 100 on their “Scorecard”.

 

Fort Worth exists in the shadow of Dallas and is one of America’s “forgotten” big cities, but nonetheless, the eyes of the nation must be upon this metropolis, as the best way to expose the roaches roaming the kitchen is to keep the light on and bright.

Squall Winds (Mesonoptic) is a meteorological consultant, activist, broadcaster, merchant, dirty commie, and stylin’ brotha from Fort Worth. He’s dabbling at getting back into doing a show, Swag*inista Radio. He can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Patreon, and welcomes anyone civilized (read: left-of-center) to join him on Discord. The society project he leads can be found on Twitter, as well, and both he and his project can be found at stormygrove.net.