After a couple days away from the office, it's great to be back with big changes in the works for the end of the week / weekend. There are two big topics in the weather world today: a BIG cold front that will drop temperatures for many and Hurricane Sandy (formerly known as Tropical Storm Sandy earlier this morning).
While Sandy won't be an issue for us here at home, eyes will be on the Eastern Seaboard as we head into the weekend. The question is can this same cold, front that will dramatically drop temperatures here at home, reach the Eastern US in time to shift Sandy further into the Atlantic Ocean. A situation that we'll look at briefly at the end of this blog -- but for now, let's talk about weather that is going to be the big impact for you...
By big, We Mean BIG
It's been shorts and t-shirt weather in the Brazos Valley for the past couple of days. After a bit of a cool down, and more seasonable weather, this past weekend, southerly winds warmed us back to around 10° to 15° ABOVE where our afternoon highs should be for this time of the year.
Take that 10° to 15° and replace the word "above" to BELOW and that's what you can expect after this cold front blows in. Temperatures this morning across parts of Montana, Idaho and the Dakotas were down anywhere from the teens to the 30s. Afternoon highs are only expected to top off in the upper 30s to low 40s across much of the Northwestern US this afternoon. That shows you just how good of a slug of cold, Canadian air is swinging south with this front.
Timing and What to Expect
This cold front should be in the Texas Panhandle by tomorrow morning and then settle up between Dallas / Ft. Worth and Waco by tomorrow evening (around 6 to 7pm). We'll go to sleep on the warmer and humid side of things, but waking up Friday morning will be the beginning of the change as we expect the front to start knocking on the door shortly before or just about daybreak.
As the front approaches, we'll look for a 40% to 50% chance of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms to pop up along or in front of it. (A strong storm could be possible, however, severe weather threats will remain low to non-existent) After the front passes by, light rain could continue from an overcast sky, but the biggest impact will be breezy to gusty north winds that will drop temperatures slowly through the day. In fact, morning temperatures are expected to start in the low to mid 60s, which will be pretty close to our "daytime highs" for Friday as well. By afternoon, our northern to central counties will likely find temperatures in the mid 50s followed by a steady incline to afternoon mid 60s in our southern counties.
You'll need the jackets ready for Friday (even if you may walk out the door on Friday morning to a warm and humid feeling -- by afternoon it'll be much, much chillier). Take a look at the spread of temperatures expected across Texas on Thursday:
Jamaica is under the gun today on the impacts of Sandy (maximum sustained winds around 80mph as of 10am). Once the storm passes by Cuba, it should have enough land interaction to downgrade to a tropical storm once again. From there, there are still many questions. Here is the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (hot linked to update as they are issued):
From that forecast -- why such the big deal? The European computer model has consistently brought Sandy as a formidable storm into the New England area for the past couple of days. A couple other computer models are starting to fall in line with that same solution -- in fact here is a look at the latest GFS Ensemble (also hot linked):
As of this morning, only two computer models were actually suggesting that Sandy could make landfall along the East Coast around Delaware (one of which isn't typically known to handle tropical weather as well). Still a lot up in the air with this hurricane -- and while folks along the East Coast should pay attention to the forecast, there is still a lot of uncertainty on just where this storm will go. One thing can be taken for granted...you'll likely start to see more and more from national media outlets about the possible "Doom and Gloom" that could come from "Super Storm" Sandy. (all said with a high level of sarcasm).
Check back tomorrow (Friday) -- I'll have another update with a little more precision and fine tuning for you on the timing and temperature fall with our upcoming cold front.