Strong winds warm us up and keep fire danger elevated into the new week

Cooler and wetter weather possibly arrives before January ends
Published: Jan. 14, 2023 at 3:48 PM CST
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The wind machine stays on as we head into a new week. Breezy south/southeast winds moved back into Central Texas Saturday. Winds will get even stronger and could gust as high as 35 mph Sunday. These winds are doing 2 things for Central Texas:

1. It’s allowing warmer air to rush back in - So our warming trend will continue into the work week.

2. Leaving all of Central Texas with elevated fire danger. The highest fire danger will be for areas near and west of I-35. Our ground is still very dry and with relatively dry air in place and those strong winds - These are the perfect ingredients to allow any sparks or fires to spread quickly. Be careful outdoors!

After a near-normal January-like Friday across Central Texas - Temperatures warmed back into the low to mid 60s Saturday afternoon. That’s only a few degrees warmer than our normal temperature of 59°. Saturday night into Sunday morning features breezy south winds and increasing clouds. Those conditions will prevent our temperatures from cooling off as much - So we’ll kick off Sunday with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. Stronger south winds can be expected throughout the day Sunday. Temperatures will warm back onto the low to mid 70s for the afternoon. Cloud cover will be on an increase as well.

The increase in clouds and strong winds over the weekend are an indication that a storm system is moving closer to Texas. That next system will approach from the west on Martin Luther King Jr. Day - which is Monday. The main dynamics of this system pass to our north/northeast - That means we will have no rain and no cool down heading our way.

The one thing we’ll see with that system is breezy west/southwest winds - Which pump in even warmer air and leave Central Texas with high fire danger heading into the new work week. Temperatures Monday morning start out near 60° and climb into the upper 70s for the afternoon. With dry air moving in, temperatures look to be closer to 50° Tuesday morning - But warm to near 80° for the afternoon. The record high for Tuesday, January 17th will be threatened this week. The record is 79° set back in 1952.

The warm up is ahead of our next stronger system. That system will be a Pacific cold front that arrives Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. There’s still some timing differences with that system - But rain chances will be increasing and the best chances Central Texas has seen in awhile. Scattered showers and thunderstorms look possible late Tuesday into Wednesday - With the best chances looking to be for areas near and east of I-35. Temperatures look to stay in the 70s on Wednesday - But will cool down into the 60s for highs Thursday and Friday. Cooler air will be moving in thanks to northwest winds behind the system.

Now our long-term forecast models are bringing a cooler and wetter weather pattern change into Central Texas for the end of January. Another cold front may move in early Saturday and bring back shower chances and even cooler weather. High temperatures may be in the 50s and low 60s next weekend. Another front may also move in by the start of the following work week - Keeping Central Texas with more normal “winter-like temperatures” and at least some with rain chances. More updates to come on this!

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