A BIG temperature change arrives for Christmas, but it’s not another 1989

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 5:53 AM CST
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We’ve been sounding the alarm, so the speak, about the BIG change in our weather set to arrive in the days leading up to Christmas, but the newest forecast model data has been trending toward a cold snap, but not a record breaking cold snap. On the day with our coldest temperatures, likely Friday morning and afternoon, our record low temperature is -4° and the record lowest high is 24° both set in 1989. The -4° record low temperature is also the coldest temperature ever recorded in Waco so it’s a very low bar to reach and we won’t get there. Regardless of how cold it gets late next week, we don’t have a day with high temperatures at or below average for at least 10 days. Today’s forecast is similar-ish to yesterday’s. We’re starting out in the low-to-mid 30s this morning, but returning clouds later this morning will stay stuck in place throughout the day capping highs in the upper 40s and low 50s. The returning clouds could bring maybe a stray shower or two to cities and towns near and east of I-35 midday and into the afternoon, but most likely stay dry. In case you’re wondering about the off chance of a light mix of rain, sleet, and snow, the odds remain low and nothing would stick should wintry precipitation happen. Along and south of Highway 190 is where the 10% chance of overnight and early morning precipitation and precipitation would fall as liquid showers with maybe a sleet pellet or flurry. That’s it.

The big nothing-burger that is Saturday’s morning precipitation chance will actually give way to a wonderful weekend. Sunnier skies are expected Saturday as morning lows near freezing warm into the low-to-mid 50s. The overnight clear skies into Sunday morning should allow lows to drop close to and below freezing, but an approaching storm system will boost us back into the mid-50s with partly cloudy skies overhead. We won’t see rain Sunday, but the clouds are indicative of our next chance for rain arriving Monday. Monday’s storm system won’t bring us a big change in our sensible weather as highs will dip a bit into the low 50s Monday through Wednesday while morning lows will generally be warmer in the upper 30s and low 40s, but it will bring rain chances. As is fairly typically during a La Niña winter, Monday’s storm system will first get going as it enters into our area so the best scattered shower chances come near and east of I-35. It won’t be an all day rain event, but off-and-on showers are expected for much of the day until the storm system clears. Rainfall totals likely stay below an inch, but some spots near I-45 could see totals approach an inch.

The forecast Tuesday and Wednesday remains seasonably cool with partly cloudy skies and highs staying close to 50°. Despite a STRONG cold front moving through Thursday, we’re not expecting any big warm-up leading into that front. In fact, Thursday’s front will almost be a slap in the face as it’ll cause our temperatures to pretty sharply fall as it moves in. Morning temperatures Thursday in the mid-30s should warm into the low-to-mid 40s before the bottom falls out. We will likely see temperatures drop into the low-to-mid 30s by the end of the afternoon with wind chills in the 20s and maybe even the teens. The core of the cold air mass moving in will initially be focused on the Central and Southern Plains, but the system won’t dig deep enough into our area to really settle in. As the coldest air gradually pushes eastward, we will slowly warm back up again. Morning lows Friday in the upper teens will warm into the mid-to-upper 30s, with sunshine, for highs. We’ll stay in the mid-20s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning, but afternoon highs will warm into the low-to-mid 40s. The storm system bringing us the chill may cause major Christmas travel issues across the eastern U.S. late next week, but no precipitation is in the forecast for Central Texas.

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