Forecast for Central Texas
Reports from LCRA’s HydrometRainfall summary
Bob's Blog on Central Texas Weather
Heat Wave Will Continue through Late Week
Monday’s weather maps showed a very strong ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere covering northern Mexico along with the southwestern and south central U.S. The ridge was centered just west of El Paso. The atmosphere underneath the ridge remains, warm dry and quite stable. Monday’s analysis showed temperatures located a few thousand feet above the surface over Central Texas are actually slightly warmer than they were measured yesterday. As this air sinks to the surface this afternoon, it will act to push temperatures a degree or two warmer than we observed Sunday.
- Temperatures are forecast to top out this afternoon near 105-110 degrees across the western and northern Hill Country. Across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions, readings look to reach near 102-107 degrees. The coastal plains region should see highs near 98-101 degrees across the coastal plains.
Forecasts call for a fairly similar weather picture Tuesday as the ridge of high pressure remains centered close to El Paso. However, temperatures a few thousand feet off the surface are predicted to be just a tad cooler and this should cause high temperatures to drop a degree or two. Wednesday through Friday, the center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to slide slowly to the northeast, reaching a position over northern Arkansas and southern Missouri by Saturday. With the ridge center lifting northeast, the current very hot temperatures are predicted to ease down slowly.
- High temperatures Tuesday will be near 105-108 degrees across the western Hill Country and near 101-104 degrees across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Upper 90s are forecast for the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Wednesday will be near 102-105 degree across the western Hill Country and near 100-103 degrees across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Mid to upper 90s are forecast for the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Thursday will be near 100-103 degree across the western Hill Country and near 98-101 degrees across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Mid to upper 90s are forecast for the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Friday will be near 98-100 degree across the western Hill Country and near 98-100 degrees across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Mid-90s are forecast for the coastal plains.
A south breeze at 10-15 mph is forecast to remain in place throughout the week.
Sunny and hot weather looks to continue this weekend as the center of the high pressure ridge remains well up to our north. A weak area of low pressure is forecast to push inland over Deep South Texas Saturday. This system will attempt to pull a little tropical moisture inland across the coastal plains region, possibly resulting in a few spotty, short-lived rain showers Saturday and Sunday. The moisture is predicted to remain south of Central Texas and the Hill Country, so the dry and hot weather will continue. Weekend high temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 90s across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and in the mid-90s towards the coast.
The outlook for next week calls for very few changes in the hot and dry weather pattern. The center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to remain over the Middle Mississippi Valley region through late week. Spotty afternoon showers look to continue across the coastal plains region each afternoon. Some of these spotty showers may spread into parts of Central Texas late week. High temperatures are forecast to stay generally in the upper 90s, with mid-90s expected towards the coast.
There are some indications the center of the high pressure ridge may begin sliding back towards Texas the last few days of July. This could bring a return of the very hot temperatures. Stay tuned for further updates
Tropical Weather Outlook
Following the demise of Tropical Storm Fay over the weekend, conditions have returned to quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical cyclone development is not expected of at least the next 5 days.
Catch a View of the International Space Station all this Week
The International Space station (ISS) will be visible across the Texas sky each evening and also each morning before sunrise this week. A double treat! For the exact times and directions to spot the ISS over your area, check out NASA’s Spot the Station website, https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/
Have a good week.
A July Heat Wave will Persist through Late Next Week.
Oppressive heat is going to be the main story over the next week as the first true heat wave of the summer takes shape this weekend and continues through late next week. The culprit for this heat wave is a strong ridge of high pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere–a familiar feature to our region over the summer months . Friday’s analysis showed the ridge covering the southwestern and south central U.S., with the ridge being centered over southwestern New Mexico. The ridge is not only blocking any storms from moving over our area but it is also producing a very dry and stable atmosphere across our region. Sinking air from the middle atmosphere and a very hot July sun will combine to produce very hot afternoon temperatures. Forecasts call for the ridge to grow even stronger this weekend. At the same time, an area of very hot air is forecast to spread into Texas from the interior of Mexico. The result will be the development of a sunny, dry and very hot weather pattern, with the very hottest temperatures expected to occur Sunday and Monday. Slightly lower but still very hot temperatures look to continue Tuesday through Friday. Here is how I expect the temperature pattern to shape up:
- Friday afternoon: High temperatures near 98-101 across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Highs in the mid and upper 90s coastal plains.
- Saturday: High temperatures near 99-102 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Highs near 98-100 coastal plains.
- Sunday and Monday: High temperatures near 105-109 across the western and northern Hill Country and near 103-107 across the eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Highs near 100-102 coastal plains.
- Tuesday: High temperatures near 103-107 degrees across the western and northern Hill Country and near 101-104 degrees eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Highs near 98-100 degrees coastal plains.
- Wednesday: High temperatures near 101-103 degrees across the western and northern Hill Country and near 99-102 degrees eastern Country and Central Texas regions. Highs near 95-98 degrees coastal plains.
- Thursday: High temperatures near 99-102 degrees across the western and northern Hill Country and near 98-101 degrees eastern Hill Country and Central Texas regions. Highs in the mid-90s coastal plains.
High humidity levels Friday afternoon and Saturday across the eastern counties of Central Texas and the coastal plains region will combine with the very hot temperatures to produce very dangerous heat index readings between 105 and 110 degrees. Drier air, lower relative humidity readings are forecast beginning Sunday, which should bring the heat index readings closer to the actual air temperature.
Heat safety will be an important consideration over the next several days! Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room as much as possible, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances! Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening.
Sunny, dry and not quite as hot weather is forecast next Friday and next weekend. High temperatures are forecast to be mostly in the upper 90s, with mid-90s expected towards the coast.
Just some minor changes to the hot and dry pattern are forecast during the week of July 20th. Forecasts call for the center of the high pressure ridge to shift north to Kansas and Nebraska, while the ridge itself will stretch from California to the Mid-Atlantic. With the center of the ridge pulling that far to our north, it will open the door for some clouds and moisture to spread inland from the Gulf, possibly resulting in isolated to a few scattered rain showers across the area. High temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 90s.
Tropical Weather Outlook
A strong area of low pressure pushing offshore of the Carolinas Thursday strengthened into a tropical storm named Fay— the 6th named storm of the hurricane season. (Fay has beat the previous record for earliest formation of the season’s sixth storm – and also the fifth storm!).
As of 10 am CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Fay was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft about 40 miles south-southeast of Cape May, New Jersey or 170 miles south of New York City. Fay is moving toward the north near 12 mph. A northward to north-northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Fay is forecast to move near the mid-Atlantic coast this afternoon and evening and move inland over the mid-Atlantic and northeast United States tonight and Saturday.
Data from the aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast today while the center remains over water. Weakening should begin after the center moves inland, and Fay is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by early Saturday.
Elsewhere, weather conditions are quiet and tropical cyclone development is not expected for the next 5 days.
Comet NEOWISE Update
Comet NEOWISE is appearing now as a barely naked eye object, low in the morning sky. It is dimly visible to the naked eye, while binoculars do a better job bringing it into view. As of Saturday morning July 11th it is expected to be about magnitude 2 or 3, with the comet located just above the northeastern horizon and quite difficult to view. The best viewing time will be about 1.5-2 hours before sunrise.
But beginning Tuesday, July 14th, the comet’s best visibility will switch from dawn to dusk. It will be visible low in the north-northwest sky around the end of twilight. Look far below the Big Dipper, which is hanging by its handle high in the northwest, and a little to the right. The comet should be visible in the evening sky through the end of summer.
Between July 12–18 you can observe it in both pre-dawn and evening skies. And depending on the darkness of your sky, you might be able to see the comet without any optical aid, but binoculars will certainly bring the comet into view.
You can find sky maps to help you find and view the comet at Spaceweather.com
Have a good weekend and stay cool!
NOAA Issues a La Niña Watch
Could a La Niña be on the horizon? On Thursday, NOAA hoisted a La Niña Watch, meaning the forecast favors the development of La Niña conditions within the next six months. The point of a La Niña Watch is to give planners for energy, agriculture, disaster management, and other sectors a heads-up that the chance of La Niña developing is greater than the combined chance of neutral and El Niño.
During June 2020, sea surface temperatures (SST) were near average in the east-central equatorial Pacific and below average in the eastern Pacific.
Below the surface, negative equatorial subsurface temperature anomalies (averaged across 180°-100°W) weakened from May through June. Also during the month, low-level wind anomalies were easterly across the east-central Pacific, while upper-level wind anomalies were westerly over parts of the far western and eastern Pacific. Tropical convection was suppressed over the western and central Pacific, and near average over Indonesia Overall, the combined oceanic and atmospheric system was consistent with ENSO-neutral.
The suite of the latest oceanic/climate models are roughly split between the development of La Niña and continued ENSO-neutral (A Nino-3.4 index between -0.5°C and +0.5°C) during the fall and winter. Based largely on dynamical model guidance, the Climate Prediction Center forecaster consensus slightly favors La Niña development during the August-October season, and then lasting through the remainder of 2020.
CPC’s updated outlook calls for ENSO-neutral conditions to continue through the summer, with a 50-55% chance of La Niña development during Northern Hemisphere fall 2020 and continuing through winter 2020-21. Keep in mind, a 50-55% chance of La Niña is not a very strong probability. There is still about a 40-45% chance that neutral conditions will remain through the fall and winter, and a smaller but non-zero chance of El Niño—around 5-10%.
According to the Climate Predictions Center, one of the factors restraining the probability of La Niña in the current forecast is the lack of a substantial source of cooler-than-average water under the surface of the tropical Pacific. Subsurface temperatures are near average in the central Pacific, with some cooler-than-average water remaining in the east, as the upwelling Kelvin wave of the past couple months dissipates. The relatively conservative 50-55% chance of La Niña in part reflects this current absence of a large source of cooler water to supply the surface in the near future.
The development of a La Niña will potentially be a very important factor for Central Texas weather this fall and winter. Historically, the development of La Niña has promoted a drier and milder than normal weather pattern in the fall and winter months. Some La Niña’s have even caused the development of drought periods. Should a La Nina develop, we should expect our weather to trend drier than normal heading into fall.
Stay tuned for further updates as observations and forecasts begin to give us a better idea where the tropical Pacific will be headed this fall.
Updated Colorado State Outlook Continues to Call for a Busy Tropical Season.
Forecasts continue to point toward a very active hurricane season this year. On Tuesday, Phil Klotzabach and his forecast team at Colorado State University issued an updated outlook for the hurricane season.
Klotzbach’s forecast discussion noted “sea surface temperatures averaged across the eastern and central tropical Pacific are slightly cooler than average, and it appears likely that there will be either cool neutral ENSO or weak La Niña conditions during the remainder of the summer extending into the fall. The tropical Atlantic is somewhat warmer than normal, while the subtropical Atlantic is quite warm. Most of the eastern Atlantic is warmer than normal, and anomalously warm temperatures in this region in June have been typically associated with more active Atlantic hurricane seasons”.
The updated outlook, calls for a season total of 20 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. The long term average is 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
Keep in mind we have already had 5 named storms so far this year, thus an additional 15 named storms are forecast.
National Hurricane Center forecasters are currently monitoring a broad area of low pressure located near the coast of northeastern South Carolina. This system continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the adjacent Atlantic waters and portions of eastern North Carolina. The low is expected to move northeastward near or just offshore of the North Carolina Outer Banks on Thursday, and then turn north-northeastward and move along the mid-Atlantic coast Friday. Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for development, and a tropical or
subtropical cyclone is likely to form within the next day or so. Regardless of development, the system is expected to produce locally heavy rainfall that could cause some flash flooding across portions of eastern North Carolina, the coastal mid-Atlantic, and southern New England during the next few days. NHC forecasters are giving this system a 70 percent chance for tropical development over the next 5 days.
Tropical Storm Christina Forms in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Tropical Storm Cristina formed late Monday in the Eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and it appears it is on its way to becoming the first hurricane of the 2020 season in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the tropical storm was located in open waters, about 415 miles south of Manzanillo, Mexico. Cristina is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next few days, keeping the cyclone well away from the coast of Mexico.
Satellite wind data indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions are favorable for additional strengthening and Cristina is forecast to become a hurricane in a day or two.
National Hurricane Center forecasters call for Christina to become a hurricane Wednesday and remain at hurricane intensity through Saturday as it tracks northwest, away from land.
Season to date, there have been three tropical storms and one tropical depression in the Eastern Pacific so far this year. Meanwhile the Atlantic basin has had five tropical storms. Tropical Storm Edouard on Monday was the earliest fifth Atlantic named storm, beating the record set by Emily on July 12, 2005. The fifth named storm of the year typically does not occur until August 31, so this is nearly two months ahead of climatology. Also according to climatology, the first hurricane of the season usually arrives by August 10.
National Hurricane Center forecasters are currently monitoring an area of low pressure located inland along the Georgia-South Carolina border southeast of Augusta, Georgia. This system continues to produce a large area of showers and heavy rain over portions of the southeastern United States. The low is expected to move slowly eastward overnight before turning east-northeastward on Wednesday. By Wednesday night and Thursday, the system is forecast to move generally northeastward near or just offshore the coast of the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic states, and a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form later this week if the low moves over the warm waters of the western Atlantic.
The NHC is giving this system a 50 percent chance for tropical development over the next 5 days.
A Slight Chance for Showers through Tuesday. Heat Wave Developing Late Week.
Showers and thunderstorms developed across West Texas Sunday afternoon, with much of the activity tracking to the east-southeast. The most concentrated area of rain and storms spread across the northern Hill Country, in the area between San Angelo, Brady and San Saba. The activity produced spotty totals in the range of a quarter and a half inch. However, some isolated totals of 1-2 inches occurred across parts of McCulloch and San Saba counties. An LCRA Hydromet gauge along the Colorado River near the community of Bend, between San Saba and Lampasas counties, recorded a storm total of 2.29 inches. Spotty rainfall extended south through parts of Llano, Travis and Bastrop counties.
Sunday’s rains took shape as the center of the high pressure ridge shifted from Texas to northwestern Mexico, allowing a small trough of low pressure to push southeast out of the southern Plains. As of Monday morning, this trough was exiting east to Louisiana. However, Monday’s analysis showed a second trough of low pressure was sinking southeast out of western Oklahoma and is forecast to move across North Texas Monday afternoon and evening. Ahead of the trough, atmospheric moisture has increased significantly across Central and Southeast Texas. As the trough moves into North Texas this afternoon and evening, conditions will become somewhat favorable for the development of scattered rain showers and thunderstorms across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions. The probability for rain at any given location will be near 20-30 percent. Rain amounts this afternoon through Tuesday morning are forecast to average between 0.25 and 0.5 inches, with isolated totals of 1-2 inches possible. Across the coastal plains region, this afternoon’s weather is shaping up to be dry. There will be a slight chance for a few scattered rain showers late this evening and after midnight. Monday’s temperature is forecast to generally reach the mid-90s, with low 90s expected towards the coast.
A similar setup is forecast across our region Tuesday into Tuesday night. Forecasts call for another trough of low pressure to push southeast out of Oklahoma, causing a 20-30 percent chance for scattered mainly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms across the entire region. Rain amounts are forecast to again average between 0.25 and 0.50 inches, with isolated higher totals. High temperatures will be mostly in the mid-90s.
The unsettled pattern will come to an abrupt end Wednesday as the center of the high pressure ridge begins moving east from northwestern Mexico, shutting off any additional waves of low pressure from the southern Plains. Mostly sunny, dry and hot weather will resume Wednesday and continue through the upcoming weekend.
Wednesday looks to be the start of a heat wave across much of Texas, with several days of triple-digit temperatures expected. Forecasts call for the high pressure ridge to strengthen late week, with the center of the ridge becoming established over eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. Sinking air around the high pressure ridge is expected to cause a very stable atmosphere and very hot temperatures. But in addition, forecasts call for surface winds to become southwesterly this weekend and early next week. Southwesterly breezes typically cause the development of very hot temperatures across Central Texas. Temperatures are forecast to reach their peak on Sunday.
- Wednesday: High temperatures mostly in the upper 90s, with mid-90s towards the coast.
- Thursday and Friday: High temperatures near 100 -101 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas. Mid and upper 90s expected towards the coast.
- Saturday: High temperatures near 101-103 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas. Readings reaching near 98-100 degrees towards the coast.
- Sunday: High temperatures near 102-106 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas. A high near 100 degrees across the coastal plains.
The outlook for next week calls for little change in the dry and very hot weather through the first half of the week as the high pressure ridge remains quite strong.
- High temperatures Monday through Wednesday are forecast to be near 101-104 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas. High temperatures across the coastal plains are forecast to be in the upper 90s.
A slight moderation in the temperature is forecast late next week into next weekend as the center of the high pressure ridge shifts a little further to the west. High temperatures are forecast to lower to the upper 90s by next weekend.
Looking out longer-term, the weather pattern looks to stay generally dry and quite hot through the third week of July.
Tropical Weather Outlook
A weak area of low pressure which took shape northwest of Bermuda over the weekend strengthen into Tropical Storm Edouard late Sunday night. As of late Monday morning, Edouard was located over the north Atlantic, about 435 miles south-southeast of Cape Race Newfoundland. Edouard is moving toward the northeast near 37 mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. No significant change in strength is forecast before Edouard transitions to a post-tropical cyclone later today.
National Hurricane Center forecasters are monitoring a tropical wave located several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands. This system is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Some slight development of this system is possible today before environmental conditions become hostile for development on Tuesday. The wave is forecast to move through the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday and could produce locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds on some of those islands. NHC forecasters give this system just a 10 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.
NHC forecasters note a small low pressure system has moved inland over the Florida panhandle. The small low is forecast to evolve into a larger low pressure system and move northeastward, near the coast of the Carolinas. Since the low is currently over land, no development is expected today or tomorrow. However, some development will be possible if the system moves back over water on Wednesday or Thursday. This system could possibly pose a threat to the mid-Atlantic late this week. NHC forecasters give this system a 40 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.
Elsewhere, weather conditions are quiet.
Comet NEOWISE Update:
On July 3rd, Comet NEOWISE flew past the sun near the orbit of Mercury. Some astronomers feared the comet might dissolve. Instead, it held together and became bright enough to see in morning twilight (currently at magnitude +2). As July unfolds, Comet NEOWISE will move into progressively darker skies, further improving its visibility to the naked eye. It will remain a morning comet for the next week, then shift mid-month to the evening sky where casual star gazers can see it without waking at the crack of dawn. When the comet shifts to the evening sky, I will pass along more detailed information on how you can spot it. (Spaceweather.com)
Get Ready for Triple-Digit Heat. Just Some Spotty Showers in the Forecast.
A large complex of thunderstorms which developed along the West Texas dry line Wednesday evening spread south across the Concho Valley and the western Hill Country Wednesday night, producing a large area of heavy rain. Gauge reports and Doppler radar estimates show totals of 2 to 5 inches fell over southeastern Tom Green, western Concho, eastern Schleicher and northern Sutton counties. An LCRA Hydromet gauge located 17 miles east-northeast of Sonora, in Sutton County, recorded a storm total of 4.74 inches! Another gauge located in eastern Schleicher County recorded a storm total of 2.87 inches. The heavy rain didn’t spread very far to the east. Although parts of western Kimble County saw some 1-1.5 inch totals, amounts across the rest of the Hill Country only totaled around a tenth of an inch.
Doppler Radar Estimate of Rain Falling between 10 am Wednesday and 10 am Thursday:
A typical hot and dry summertime weather pattern set up across our region this week as a stable ridge of high pressure spread over Texas out of the Gulf of Mexico. The ridge is forecast to remain over Texas through the upcoming weekend, causing more hot and dry weather conditions. In fact, with the center of the ridge moving closer to Central Texas, temperatures are predicted to trend even hotter today, continuing through the weekend. The atmospheric conditions responsible for thunderstorm development across West Texas the past few nights have weakened, and as a result, no additional dry line thunderstorm development is expected.
- High temperatures this afternoon are forecast to reach the upper 90s across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and the low to mid-90s across the coastal plains.
- High temperatures Friday are forecast to reach near 98-100 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions the mid-90s towards the coast.
- High temperatures Saturday and Sunday are forecast to reach near 100-102 across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions with middle 90s hanging on near the coast.
At the surface, gusty southerly winds over the past couple of days brought a very moist air mass inland, resulting high humidity levels and very uncomfortable conditions. This moist air has also helped to keep morning low temperatures near 78-82 degrees. The pressure gradient responsible for the gusty winds has weakened and as a result, lighter winds of 5-10 mph are forecast Friday and through the weekend. The air is predicted to be just a little less humid and this should allow nighttime temperatures to fall to the mid and upper 70s.
A slight chance for afternoon and evening rain showers and thunderstorms will enter the forecast next Monday through Wednesday as a weak trough of low pressure over the lower Mississippi Valley region backs west to the Texas/Louisiana border. Moisture wrapping around the trough is predicted to spread as far west as the central Hill Country. At the same time, the center of the high pressure ridge currently over Texas is forecast to shift west to the Four Corners region. With a slightly less stable atmosphere in place, a few scattered rain showers and isolated thunderstorms will be possible Monday through Wednesday. The probability for rain each day will only be 20 percent and rain amounts should average less than a quarter inch.
- High temperatures Monday through Wednesday are forecast to be in the upper 90s, with low and mid-90s expected towards the coast. Lows will be in the mid and upper 70s.
A sunny, dry and very hot pattern is predicted to develop the second half of next week, continuing into next weekend as the ridge of high pressure near the Four Corners strengthens and shifts east to the southern Plains states. As sinking air from the ridge increases, high temperatures are forecast to trend even hotter.
High temperatures Thursday and Friday are forecast to rise to near 100 degrees. High temperatures next weekend are predicted to exceed 100 degrees, near 101-103 degrees,. Readings may approach 100 degrees even across the coastal plains.
The outlook for the week of July 13th is showing little change as the high pressure ridge remains parked over the southern Plains states. Dry and very hot weather looks to continue, with high temperatures remaining near 100-102 degrees.
Saharan Dust Update
A second cloud of Saharan dust spread inland along the Texas coast late Wednesday and is forecast to bring moderate to heavy amounts of dust to Central Texas and the Hill Country this afternoon and evening. The daily PM2.5 AQI is forecast to reach the upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Laredo, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Victoria areas.
The Sharan dust is forecast to continue across the region Friday and the weekend with decreasing intensities.
Tropical Weather Outlook
Weather conditions are currently very quiet and there are no systems in place which pose a threat for tropical development over the next 5 days.
Aphelion, Jupiter and Saturn
On Saturday, the Earth will be at aphelion, or its farthest distance from the Sun for the entire year. We’ll be one part in 30 farther from the Sun than at perihelion in January.
The bright planets Jupiter and Saturn (magnitudes –2.7, and +0.2, respectively) now rise in the eastern sky during late twilight. They hang low in the southeast after dark. Jupiter is the brightest, Saturn is to the lower left of Jupiter. Farther to Jupiter’s right, you’ll find the Sagittarius Teapot resting upright. The two giant planets shine at their highest around 1 or 2 a.m. DST.
Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!
A Look at June Weather and an Updated Outlook for July.
In the wake of a fairly wet spring, weather conditions trended much drier during the month of June as the spring weather pattern faded and the summer pattern arrived a few weeks early. There was little to no rain during the first half of the month, while periods of rain and thunderstorms became more frequent during the second half. Despite the scattered rains, totals for the month ended up below normal at most locations across the Hill Country and Central Texas. Rainfall of 5 to 10 inches occurred across Wharton, Matagorda and southern Colorado Counties, boosting totals there to well more than 2 inches above normal.
At Austin-Camp Mabry, the average temperature was 83.2 degrees, which was 1.0 degrees above normal. June 2020 ranks as the 31st warmest June on record dating back to 1897.
At Austin-Bergstrom, the average temperature was 81.5 degrees, which was 0.5 degrees above normal. June 2020 ranks as the 40th warmest or the 30th coolest June on record dating back to 1942.
June Rainfall Departure from Normal
June temperatures averaged near normal to slightly below normal across the region. The hottest temperatures occurred during the first ten days of the month while readings trended slightly below normal toward the end of the month.
At Austin-Camp Mabry, rainfall totaled 2.67 inches, which was 1.66 inches below normal. June 2020 ranks as the 59th wettest or the 65th driest June on record dating back to 1897.
At Austin-Bergstrom, rainfall totaled 2.72 inches, which was 1.91 inches below normal. June 2020 ranks as the 40th driest or the 35th wettest June on record dating back to 1942.
The National Weather Service’s updated outlook for the month of July calls for increased odds temperatures will average above normal across all of Texas. The rainfall outlook is a bit more complicated. The outlook shows increased odds rainfall will average below normal across all of West Texas, including the western and northern Hill Country. The outlook calls for rainfall to average above normal across the coastal plains region. In between West Texas and the coastal plains, the outlook shows no clear trend. There are equal chances for rainfall to average above, below or near normal.
Keep in mind, the month of July is typically the driest or second driest month of summer. July is when the high pressure ridge begins to set up over Texas, keeping most of the storm systems away from our area. The tropics are also typically fairly quiet. At the same time, this is when temperatures begin to trend noticeably hotter. And true to form, medium-range forecast solutions are calling for a stretch of triple-digit temperatures to develop beginning late next week.
So buckle up and grab a lot of water. Summer 2020 is here and will be really cranking up in another week or so. Unfortunatley, don’t expect a lot of change going into August.
Generally Dry this Week. Triple Digit Temperatures Expected by Late Week.
An unsettled weather pattern continued across our region over the weekend, allowing for more scattered rain showers and thunderstorms. The most significant rain event appears to have taken place Sunday evening when a slow-moving area of thunderstorms tracked over eastern Hays, southern Travis, northern Caldwell and western Bastrop Counties, producing totals of 2-4 inches. Most other weekend totals were significantly lower. The coastal plains region saw little to no rain.
The unsettled pattern responsible for periods of rain over the past week appears to have come to an end. Monday’s weather maps showed a stable ridge of high pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere spreading over Texas out of the Gulf of Mexico. This high pressure ridge is expected to limit the development of rain and thunderstorms at most locations through late week. And at the same time, it will help boost temperatures well into the 90s and close to 100 degrees. Fortunately, this hot and dry pattern won’t be locking in for all of July. Long-range outlooks indicate a chance for rain will be returning to our forecast next week.
Partly cloudy and dry weather will be in place across the region this afternoon. Today’s weather will be quite breezy due to a moderate pressure gradient between high pressure over the Gulf of Mexico and an area of low pressure located over southeastern Colorado. Expect southerly winds at 10-20 mph with occasional gusts to 30 mph. Afternoon temperatures will generally reach the low and mid-90s. Breezy and warm weather is forecast Monday night. Lows Tuesday morning will be near 78-80 degrees across Central Texas and the coastal plains region. Lows across the Hill Country will be in the mid-70s.
Forecasters will be keeping an eye on weather developments across West Texas late this afternoon and evening where scattered thunderstorms are forecast to develop along the dry line. The thunderstorms are forecast to track east and will have the potential to get as far east as San Saba, Mason and Junction late this evening. A couple of the storms may be strong, producing gusty winds and dangerous lightning. Rain amounts are forecast to average between 0.25 and 0.50 inches.
Similar weather conditions are forecast Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Morning clouds will give way to a mostly sunny sky in the afternoon. Breezy conditions look to continue both days, with speeds around 10-20 mph. High temperatures Tuesday will be in the mid-90s, warming to the upper 90s on Wednesday. Additional thunderstorms are predicted to develop along the dry line Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, with a slight chance a couple of the storms may track as far east as San Saba and Mason. Rain amounts will continue to average between 0.25 and 0.50 inches.
Mostly sunny, hot and dry weather is forecast Thursday through the Fourth of July weekend as the center of the high pressure ridge sets up over the southern Plains and eastern New Mexico. High temperatures each day are forecast to be near 98-100 degrees. Middle 90s are forecast across the coastal plains regions.
The center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to shift toward to the Four Corners region early next week. At the same time, a trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere located over the northern Gulf of Mexico is forecast to track west to a position over southern Louisiana. The combination of a weakening ridge and moisture wrapping around the trough is expected to bring a chance for showers to the coastal plains region Monday and Tuesday and a slight chance to a chance for showers and thunderstorms to the rest of the region Wednesday through Friday. Rain amounts are not expected to be very heavy. Expect a partly cloudy sky next week with high temperatures generally in the mid to upper 90s.
Longer-range forecasts point toward a drier and hotter forecast as we move to the middle of July. More triple-digit temperatures will be possible at that time.
Tropical Weather Outlook
National Hurricane Center forecasters are keeping an eye on two areas of disturbed weather, but neither system has a strong potential for development.
The first system, consisting of an area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms along a tropical wave, is located several hundred miles east of the southern Windward Islands. Some slight development of this system will be possible during the next day or so as the system moves westward to west-northwestward at around 20 mph. Strong upper-level winds are forecast to inhibit further development by mid-week. NHC forecasters are giving this system only a 10 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.
Forecasters are also monitoring the area off the southeastern coast of the United States where an area of low pressure is forecast to develop on Tuesday. Some development of this system will be possible later this week while the system moves generally northeastward, well offshore of the east coast of the United States.
Elsewhere, conditions are quiet and tropical cyclone development is not expected over the next 5 days.
Sharan Dust Update
Moderate amounts of Saharan dust are forecast to continue spreading north across the eastern two-thirds of the state today through Wednesday. The dust is not expected to be as thick as what was observed over the weekend. According to the TCEQ, the PM2.5 Air Quality Index is forecast to remain mostly in the middle part of the “moderate” range in the Austin area.
A slightly more intense dust cloud is forecast to begin arriving along the Texas coast Wednesday afternoon and spread inland Wednesday night into Thursday. The PM2.5 Air Quality Index is forecast to remain in the “moderate range” in the Austin area.
Latest Sunset of the Year
The latest sunset of the year will occur Monday evening and again Tuesday evening. The latest sunset always follows the summer solstice by just over a week. In Austin, sunset both evenings will be at 8:36 pm CDT.
Rainy Pattern Diminishing Over the Weekend. Mostly Sunny, Hazy and Hot Next Week.
A wet and unsettled weather pattern remains in place across our region. Since late last week, Central and South Texas has been situated in a break between ridges of high pressure located over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Mexico. Considerable moisture spreading north from the Gulf between the ridges has resulted in periods of moderate to heavy rain for areas from the eastern Hill Country to the middle Texas coast. The highest 7-day totals have occurred across the coastal plains region where most locations received between 3 and 7 inches of rain.
Early this afternoon, radar showed a large area of light to moderate rain showers and scattered thunderstorms spreading north across Central Texas, the eastern Hill Country and the coastal plains region. A wave of low pressure tracking north out of northeastern Mexico is helping pull a slug of moist, tropical air into the region, resulting in widespread rain. Periods of rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast to continue this afternoon, with the activity decreasing this evening. The probability for rain will only be around 30 percent for the northern and western Hill Country and near 70 percent across the rest of the area. Today’s rain totals will generally stay below a half inch across the Hill Country. Elsewhere, most totals should be between 0.5 and 1.5 inches, with isolated totals to near 3 inches possible. Today’s temperature is forecast to top out in the upper 80s.
The weather looks to trend drier on Saturday as the ridge high pressure over the eastern Gulf expands to the west, closing the gap between the two ridges. There will be a slight chance for a few spotty afternoon rain showers for locations east of Interstate 35 due to some lingering tropical moisture. However, most locations should be partly cloudy, dry and breezy. High temperatures Saturday will generally be near 90-92 degrees. Expect a south wind at 10-15 mph, with occasional gusts to 25 mph.
There will be a slight chance for a few spotty rain showers and isolated thunderstorms Sunday when a weak trough of low pressure tracks to the east out of West Texas. The probability for rain will be near 20 percent and most rain amounts should total less than a quarter inch. Expect a partly to mostly cloudy sky with high temperatures in the low 90s. Breezy south winds at 10-15 mph will continue.
A generally dry weather pattern is forecast across the region next Monday through Friday as the ridge of high pressure centered over the Gulf shifts west to Texas. A few spotty afternoon rain showers will still be possible across the coastal plains region, but most other areas look to stay dry. Expect a partly cloudy to mostly sunny sky each day. High temperatures across the Hill Country and Central Texas are predicted to be in the mid-90s Monday through Wednesday, rising to the upper 90s Thursday and Friday. High temperatures across the coastal plains will be mostly in the low 90s.
The outlook for the Fourth of July weekend calls for more partly cloudy and hot weather. However, locations east of Interstate 35 could see a slight chance for rain and thunderstorms on both days as the center of high pressure ridge shifts to Arizona and New Mexico, opening the door for some disturbances to slide southeast out of Colorado. Confidence in this threat for rain is currently low, so I certainly wouldn’t change any outdoor plans. High temperatures look to be in the mid and upper 90s.
The first full week of July is shaping up to be partly cloudy, hot and generally dry. That slight chance for rain showers over the weekend will continue into the first part of the week. Otherwise, expect very typical July-type weather with high temperatures in the upper 90s.
Tropical Weather Outlook
Weather conditions are quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. A large belt of Saharan just covers much of the tropical Atlantic between the west coast of Africa and the Greater Antilles.
Tropical cyclone development is not forecast for at least the next 5 days.
Saharan Dust Update
The large plume of Saharan dust that has been spreading west across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico this week has made it to the Texas coast and is forecast to spread inland to Central and North Texas tonight and Saturday. At midday, hazy conditions and reduced visibility were being reported from Brownsville to Victoria, Houston and Beaumont.
The highest concentration of dust is forecast across our area Saturday, with conditions improving some on Sunday. The TCEQ reports that heavy amounts of African dust will expand across most of the state on Saturday. Due to the high amount of dust, the daily PM2.5 Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the lower to middle end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range in parts of the Austin, Brownsville-McAllen, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, Victoria, and Waco-Killeen areas. People with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoors as much as possible.
On Sunday, the daily PM2.5 Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the middle to upper end of the “Moderate” range in parts of the Austin, Big Bend, Brownsville-McAllen, Dallas-Fort Worth, Laredo, San Antonio, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Killeen areas.
The outlook for next week calls for moderate amounts of Saharan dust to continue spreading across Central Texas throughout the week. Look for more colorful sunrises and sunsets along with a more grey colored sky.
A visible true-color satellite image from 1 pm Friday:
This year has seen two comets make their way through the solar system, only to disintegrate as they approached the Sun. Recently NASA’s NEOWISE telescope discovered a new comet which is also plunging toward the sun for a close encounter near the orbit of Mercury on July 3rd. Observations from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory’s (SOHO) telescope, indicate the comet is looking healthy and intact. Recently, the comet brightened to magnitude +2.4. This means it is likely to be an easy naked-eye object when it emerges from the sun’s glare in mid-July. Stay tuned for more updates. Hopefully, the third time (comet) will be the charm to seeing a naked-eye comet.
Have a good weekend.