Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Chill in the Air

After experiencing record high temperatures on Wednesday, the weather has taken a turn towards the cooler side of things.

This drastic change came from a very strong cold front, which moved through early this morning. This airmass behind the front will provide us with the coolest weather we have seen so far this fall season.

With clear skies, dry air, and light winds in place, many of our friends in North Texas are under a Frost Advisory, as lows will be in the middle 30's by tomorrow morning.

In Oklahoma and Arkansas, they have Freeze Warnings out, with many of the low lying areas in the hilly Ozarks dropping to near the freezing mark.

While we will not experience any freezing temperatures, it will be quite chilly the next couple of mornings.

Many of us will drop into the upper 30's and lower 40's on Friday morning, with most areas dropping into the middle 30's by Saturday morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Avoiding the Severe Weather

It was a stormy weekend across East Texas, just not in our neck of the woods. A severe weather outbreak erupted on both Saturday and Sunday across North and Northeast Texas, producing a couple of tornadoes, along with large hail, and damaging winds.

This graphic shows every severe weather report that occured with the severe thunderstorms on Sunday.

Thankfully for us, we dodged a bullet, with all of the strong thunderstorms staying some 50-100 miles off to our north.

We did not see any storms here in Deep East Texas because we had a cap, or stable layer of air just about 5,000 feet above the surface. This cap is a layer of warm air aloft that prevents thunderstorms from developing.

To our north, that was not the case, as they had no cap and a very unstable atmosphere.

While we missed out on the rain, at least we missed out on the high winds and large hail.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Strong Storms Possible This Weekend

The warm and humid air across East Texas, almost makes it seem like it is late spring or early summer.

Often times when we get this warm and humid, the only way to get rid of it is through rain and thunderstorms.

We need the rain so this is certainly good news. The only downfall, however, is that some of the storms late Saturday and on Sunday could become severe. This means any storms that develop or roll into the Piney Woods could produce small hailstones, and gusty winds.

Considering we are in a drought, we will take the rain any way we can get it at this point.

Our futurecast computer model suggests that the best chance for widespread, heavy downpours, will be along and just east of the Interstate 35 corridor in Central and North Central Texas.

If you plan on traveling up to Waco or Dallas this weekend, you may find yourself in heavy traffic as strong storms are likely in those areas.

Even though we may not see as much rain as our friends to the north and west of us, we have the potential to receive a half inch to one inch in locations where storms do develop this weekend.

The only unfortunate part is that not everyone will receive significant rainfall. Those of you that do, be thankful. I know the vegetation will be.

After the storm system moves out late Sunday, our skies will clear out, but the temperatures won't be falling. Instead, they will be warming into the upper 80's, approaching 90. Our latest computer models suggest our next significant cold front and cool down may take place towards the end of next week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Parched Soils Lead to More Burn Bans, Drought Conditions

I've said it once and I'll say it again. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing when it comes to weather often times.
Our stretch of beautiful weather is making for very dry conditions and is leading to an increased fire risk across all of East Texas.

This map is an updated graphic showing every single county in East Texas currently under a burn ban.

In our KTRE viewing area, the only counties that are not currently under burn bans are Anderson, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties. Everyone else has one enacted, meaning outdoor burning where you live is prohibited.

The Texas Forest Service has come out and said that several fires have been ongoing this past month, many of them intentionally set. More than 1500 acres across the Piney Woods have already been burned, including damage to five homes.

The recent dry conditions have led to a "Stage 1 Moderate Drought" for parts of East Texas. This is the first level of a drought and is indicated by the shading of brown in the image to your left. Notice how this area is now encompassing parts of Nacogdoches county and most of Angelina county.

We also have a "Stage 2 Severe Drought" indicated by the orange shading. This includes eastern portions of Shelby, Sabine, and Newton counties.

You'll notice that the farther east you go, the worse the drought becomes. Needless to say, if you live in Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Jasper, and Newton counties, you will want to be especially careful about doing any activity or gesture that would have the potential to lead to a brush or wildfire.

The combination of low humidity and very dry soils means it won't take much for a small brush fire to get out of control.

Make sure you check our weather page daily for any changes to the burn ban list.

In looking into my crystal ball, it appears we might see some showers and storms by the middle of next week. However, it won't be the widespread, soaking rains that we really need to help alleviate the drought conditions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rainfall a Welcome Sight, But Dry Conditions Still Persist

After nearly three weeks of clear skies and beautiful weather, we received something just as beautiful: RAIN!

The rainfall on Monday and Monday night was nice to see, as two complexes of showers and storms moved into East Texas.

Our Storm Tracker Live Doppler Network estimated that over 3 inches of rain fell along an east to west stretch just south of Highway 84. It started in Cherokee county near Alto and extended through northern Nacogdoches county and into Shelby county. It is these areas that saw the most rain, which came ahead of another cold front.

As you can see by the image, most areas picked up anywhere from 1/2 to 2" of rain.

What's important to realize is that this rainfall helped the parched soils and lawns across the Piney Woods, but by no means does this mean things are back to normal.

Despite the rainfall, three more East Texas counties have enacted burn bans. On Tuesday, Rusk, Houston, and Trinity counties were placed under a burn ban until further notice.

That now makes ten counties in the KTRE viewing area that are currently prohibited from doing any outdoor burning at this time.

We could stand to use even more rain to help erase our rainfall deficit. The problem, however, is that the clear skies and cooler temperatures will offer no help for the rest of the week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dry Conditions and Lack of Rainfall Create Fire Danger

It is really hard to find fault with anything that has to do with our weather. After all, it has been nothing short of spectacular as clear skies and low humidity have made for very pleasant conditions.

However, with the beautiful weather comes no rain. The lack of rainfall is becoming problematic as ground soils and vegetation are starting to dry out significantly.
We now have burn bans in place for five of our local counties in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
Earlier today, Jasper and Newton county were added to the burn ban list. San Augustine county had their burn ban removed.
It should be noted that even if your county is not under a burn ban, it would not be wise to burn as the low humidity and dry conditions could cause a small brush fire to get out of control.
We are now running a rainfall deficit closing in on 9 inches for the year.
Unfortunately, there is no sign of a significant change to our weather pattern over the next week or so. That means you will want to continue watering your lawn and plants as Mother Nature will provide no relief.