Not too bad of a day to step outside and enjoy highs topping off in the 60s by afternoon along with ample sunshine to go around. But you'll want to make sure you get out and enjoy it while you can because we are tracking some big changes heading this way starting by the weekend and lasting through a good part of next week. Also, while you'll want to enjoy this weather...you may want to start thinking about those winter "P's"...you know the drill: Pipes, pets and plants. All three of those look to be in jeopardy heading into the second week of 2011.
We'll start with the first change moving in this weekend: RAIN! Boy, howdy do we need the rain. As with the latest forecast, Saturday morning should start off tranquil and possibly even with a good bit of sunshine. Through the day as an upper level trough of low pressure swings through the Southwest U.S., moisture will increase and eventually mostly cloudy skies will fill in by the end of the afternoon...with possibly even a bit of rain by early evening. The big show looks to move in overnight and especially into Sunday morning. Computer models are pinning down around 1" - 3" for a good majority of the area, which could lead to a few spots having a bit of flash flooding issues...something we'll have to be on the lookout for with this much needed rainfall. This system will also draw in the first batch of cold air...which means expect (for now) a cold, rainy day with highs only topping off in the mid to upper 40s!
Now on to change number 2: ARCTIC COLD! Welcome to January and winter folks, because it looks like it will be blowing in by the beginning of next week, unpacking its bags and staying around for a few days like a pair of bad in-laws. The good news is that our numbers have moderated over the past couple of days so it doesn't look like the historic cold event that was being predicted by the computer models a few days ago. That being said, once highs fall into the 40s on Sunday, it doesn't look like they'll be getting much warmer than that until closer to next weekend. Expect highs to only climb into the upper 30s to low 40s Tuesday and on, with overnight lows cratering to the 20s...with even a few teens possible in a few outlying areas.
While these temperatures are not that uncommon in the Brazos Valley this time of the year, it will be the first time this season you truly need to make sure you winter checklist is taken care of. Bring in or wrap up your prized plants, make sure the pets have a warm place to sleep with plenty of water and also wrap up any exposed pipes or water spouts that are out in the elements. If you don't have a warm place to sleep or know of someone who doesn't please make sure to find one or, at the least, check up on neighbors from time to time. Another good piece of advice: don't forget to turn off your sprinkler system. It won't do your yard much good to spray water over it that will end up leading to a big coat of ice...not to mention causing slick conditions on sidewalks and streets.
We'll most likely tweak the forecast from time to time so check back and, of course, we'll bring you the latest as new data comes pouring in. As mentioned we need that rain so we'll welcome it with open rain gauges and look forward to pulling out the heavy coats and winter clothes once again. Stay tuned!