Happy Valentine's Day!
Although cold air will probably get the biggest headlines in Houston and the eastern half of the nation this weekend, keep in mind that an active storm sequence is lurking just around the corner. Not just "any old active" mind you, but likely starting off the 2013 severe weather season for Houston and expanding thunderstorm chances for the Old South as well. Cold air will still be present in the U.S., largely skewed toward the West and the northern tier (Dakotas into New England). The forecast excitement is back!
First we deal with the advance of Arctic air from Canada. Valentine's Day looks fine after a chilly start, partly sunny skies and ample opportunity for splendid dinners, new memories and heartwarming conversation (getting a bit thick, I know...I'll stop now....). The cold front arrives at daybreak on Friday, followed by the other worn cliche "It's all downhill from there". Steady north winds will allow for a drop in temperature to accelerate after nightfall, with many locations in and around the Houston metro falling below freezing by Saturday night. This should be our last chance at a freeze this winter, as the numerical models are very aggressive with the introduction of warm advection into the south central U.S. on Sunday.
Any lingering chill on Sunday morning should be driven out by gusty southerly winds that afternoon. Moisture will slowly return from the Gulf of Mexico; Monday clouds will be accompanied first by light showers and then the risk of a heavier thunderstorm on Monday. The storm associated with that precipitation chance will have a weaker push of colder values behind it; Tuesday should be a beautiful day with lots of sun and afternoon highs in the 60s (F).
The next storm in the sequence will drop out of the Rocky Mountains by midweek, and should be near Kansas City MO by next Thursday afternoon. From early indications on the numerical models, this feature may be a fairly big severe weather producer, with the eastern two-thirds of Texas (including the Bayou City) and most of the Old South in line for heavy rainfall and intense convection. To give you an idea about how active the 500MB longwave pattern looks to be, there are TWO MORE strong storms of the Colorado/Trinidad "A" variety scheduled between February 22 and March 1. If anything, the drought risks for the Lone Star State should be lessening. But the price may be a fearsome one, paid in flooding rains, hail, high winds and tornadoes.
At least the cold air will be departing early....
Thursday: Mostly sunny and milder after a cold start. Highs 63 Navasota to 67 Bay City
Thursday Night: Mostly fair, breezy and turning colder. Lows 38 Anderson to 42 Wharton
Friday: Sunny, breezy and chilly. Highs 54 Hempstead to 58 Hungerford
Friday Night: Clear with a frost and freeze possible; near-record low temperatures expected. Lows 28 Monaville to 32 East Bernard
Saturday: Sunny and chilly. Highs 55 Pattison to 59 Orchard
Sunday: Partly sunny, windy and milder after a cold start. High 62, Low 33
Monday, Memorial Day: Cloudy, breezy, mild and humid with showers and thunderstorms. Some storms could be intense during the afternoon. High 73, Low 54
Tuesday: Sunny and mild. High 66, Low 49