Friday, December 30, 2011

Jet Stream Reverts Back to La Nina Pattern

After a fairly wet December in which we saw a surplus of rain, the weather pattern has shifted back into a dry pattern for East Texas as we ring in 2012.

If you recall, we had several west coast storms move into the state, providing us with rain about every three to four days throughout this past month.

That is no longer the case as the Jet Stream (fast current of winds in the upper atmosphere) has shifted to the north, changing the overall storm track. It is this configuration of the Jet Stream that led to the exceptional drought over the past year and a half.

While the dip in the jet allows strong cold fronts to head our way, it cuts off the moisture supply, which therefore, limits rainfall for East Texas.

This pattern looks to hold for the first full week of 2012, which means we will be in store for some cold, but dry weather.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Showers to Persist into the Weekend

We saw pockets of light to moderate rain showers move through the Piney Woods today, providing some East Texans with some decent rainfall totals.

The image to your left shows what our KTRE weather watchers reported in their rain gauges as of this blog entry.

On average, many communities received 0.25" to 0.50" of rain. Obviously some of you saw much less than that, but this is a general consensus on what we had.

Showers Will Linger

The good news is that the chances for light rain showers will continue overnight and through your day on Friday. The cold front that came through this evening will drop our temperatures into the 50's and probably stay there all day tomorrow, as a result of the clouds and showers in the forecast.

The pockets of rain will continue as a result of upper level disturbances moving on top of the cooler air at the surface. This is what we call an "overrunning" situation in meteorology. When we see rain occur behind a cold front, we call that "post frontal precipitation". Usually the rain we see behind a front is light in nature. That will be good for us as it will allow any rain or drizzle that occurs to soak into the dry ground soils.

We've Got You Covered

Remember that you can keep track of the rain anytime by viewing our live streaming radar at You can also click on our Interactive Radar link just above the streaming radar if you wish to take over the controls and zoom down to the streets in and near your community.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hardest Freeze This Fall Season Happens Tonight

Clear skies, dry air, and calm winds will lead to the coldest night of the fall season to date. We woke up to temperatures this morning in the upper 20's to lower 30's, but tonight will be even colder as high pressure builds into the state of Texas.

Due to the impending hard freeze tonight, a Hard Freeze Warning has been issued for Jasper, Newton, and Tyler counties through 9am Thursday morning. A Hard Freeze Warning is issued when temperatures are expected to dip to or below the 25° mark for a period longer than three hours.

Many areas along and north of the Highway 69 corridor will drop into the lower and middle 20's by tomorrow morning. The coldest spots will see sub-freezing temperatures for 8-10 hours, starting later this evening and lasting through the mid-morning hours on Thursday.

This is a reminder that you will want to take care of the 3 P's of Protection.

The first P deals with the pets. Make sure your furry friends have a warm place to stay and plenty of water to drink.

The second P deals with your plants. If you have tender plants or vegetation, make sure you cover them up, or better yet, bring them inside.

The last P deals with your pipes. While tonight's freeze may not qualify as a pipe busting type freeze, it would be a wise idea to go ahead and wrap all exposed pipes.

Keep in mind that many East Texans will be heading out of town in the next few weeks for the Christmas holiday season. By wrapping the pipes now, you will be prepared for any future hard freezes that could possibly cause them to freeze up and burst.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Major Hurricanes Spare the Texas coast, U.S. Mainland

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season came to an end on Wednesday, ending another very active year in the tropics.

This season produced nineteen named storms, seven of which became hurricanes. Of those seven hurricanes, three were classified as major hurricanes (category 3 strength or higher). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 19 named storms in the Atlantic Basin tied for the(This was an image of tree damage from Hurricane Ike back on Septemer 13, 2008. Since Ike, only one hurricane has made landfall in the United States.) third highest number of storms in a given year since records began in 1851. As it turns out, the years of 1887, 1995, and 2010 also had nineteen tropical storms in one six month period.

A normal hurricane season consists of eleven named storms, six hurricanes, and two of those hurricanes being classified as cetegory 3 or higher. While the number of named storms was way above the norm, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes was just slightly above normal.
Just like last year in 2010, this year was another gentle giant. Despite the fact the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean were quite active, very few of these storms even had an impact on the United States mainland.

Hurricane Irene was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States this season. That hurricane was a category 2 storm and affected a large area of real estate up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Irene was the first land falling hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Ike hit Galveston three years ago in 2008. Of course you remember Ike. He came right up through East Texas and provided widespread wind damage.

It's hard to believe that we have had so few hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland over the past 4-5 years. I guess you can say Mother Nature has spared us, at least for now. The last major hurricane to hit the United States was Hurricane Wilma back in the record breaking season of 2005.