Rain returns Monday - But then here comes an Arctic blast

Feels-like temperatures near 0° looking possible Friday morning
Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 3:46 PM CST
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It was a clear and very cold start to Sunday. Temperatures dropped down to 23° this morning. Although that is the coldest morning we’ve had since March 12th, it was 4° above the record set back in 2016.

High clouds have been increasing from the west today. Southeast winds have returned and temperatures have been warming into the mid to upper 50s this afternoon, which is right where we should be this time of the year. The increase in clouds is an indicator of some changes heading our way. A weak upper air disturbance is approaching Central Texas from the west and as it moves overhead, it’ll bring scattered rain showers and maybe a few rumbles of thunder starting after midnight into Monday afternoon.

The catch is that we still have relatively dry air in place, which will limit rain amounts across Central Texas. The moisture is higher to our southeast, which is where the higher rain totals will be. Totals should range from 1/10″ to 1/4″ for areas near and west of I-35. Higher amounts closer to 1/2″ look possible for areas east of 35 - with the highest amounts towards the Brazos Valley.

We’re not expecting severe weather Monday, but temperatures may be cold enough up in the atmosphere that some sleet could fall. Now, it won’t be raining all day Monday, but off-and-on hit and miss showers and thundershowers are expected for much of the day. The storm system will sweep west to east and rain will gradually end heading into the afternoon.

Heading into Monday morning, temperatures remain above freezing in the low to mid 40s, but because of the clouds and rain, temperatures will not change much throughout the day. Highs look to be in the mid to upper 40s with maybe some low 50s across our western areas. Clouds will help keep temperatures above freezing Monday and Tuesday night. Tuesday and Wednesday stay cloudy and cool with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s.

MAJOR weather changes arrive on Thursday. Strong north winds - around 25-35 MPH and stronger gusts - will race into Central Texas behind a strong, Arctic cold front. Highs will actually occur in the morning hours on Thursday, in the 40s, but temperatures will then drop significantly throughout the day. Temperatures in the afternoon look to be below freezing – With wind chill values in the SINGLE DIGITS - and it will just keep on getting colder as the sun sets.

The coldest weather settles in on Friday morning with temperatures down into the teens - with feels-like temperatures in the single digits and around 0. Despite having sunshine on Friday, temperatures will struggle to warm above freezing and may not reach above freezing until Christmas Eve! Waking up Christmas Eve morning, temperatures look to be in the teens and low 20s. Highs look to only warm into the mid 30s for the afternoon. Christmas morning starts out in the teens and low 20s and warm into the 40s for the afternoon with sunshine.

You may be wondering about precip chances with this Arctic blast. The good news is that we look to mainly just deal with the extreme cold and no wintry precip. We’ll be monitoring some wintry weather to our north as the front arrives. Most of our forecast models keep us dry as we won’t have a lot of moisture to work with, but there could be a small window for some light rain/freezing rain as the front arrives on Thursday, mainly for areas east of I-35. Again, this isn’t a major concern for Central Texas at the moment, but something we are watching this week. Now if you’re traveling for the holiday this week, make sure you are staying up to date with the forecast for wherever you are going. Keep in mind that heavy snow will be possible to our north and east.

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