Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cold Air on the Move; Strong Storms Possible Later Today...

As advertised, arctic air is on the move across the central and northern Plains this morning, and I think you can pick out the cold front on the latest surface temperature map above!

If you're a true fan of the weather, you've got to love the contrast across that front!  Temperatures in the lower to middle 70s in central Texas right now, and in the teens below zero in North Dakota!

The front is forecast to advance rapidly Southward today, reaching a line from southwest Texas through the middle Mississippi Valley by late this afternoon or early this evening.

Strong to locally severe thunderstorms are possible ahead of the front, as indicated on the latest forecast from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK:

The greatest chance of storms producing hail and/or wind gusts to severe limits will be within the yellow shaded area on the image.  A lesser risk exists within the brown shaded areas.

An isolated tornado also cannot be ruled out, especially within the brown shaded area on the image below, extending from the ArkLaTex region across central and eastern Arkansas:

The main threat of strong to severe storms ahead of the front will come from mid to late afternoon into this evening.  If you live in the severe weather threat areas, please remain alert and listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for the latest information and possible warnings.

As I've been saying for several days now, the drastic change in temperature will be one of the most noticeable affects of this system.  Note the dramatic difference between the forecast high temperatures today:

...compared to mid-afternoon readings tomorrow:

An unusually long duration and early freeze will take place across portions of southcentral and southeastern Texas on Monday night and early Tuesday, including the Austin-San Antonio area.  The potential exists for 11-12 hours of sub-freezing temperatures (from roughly 9pm Monday through 10am Tuesday), along with 7-8 hours with readings in the middle 20s during the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning.  This is very unusual for so early in the season across this region, and folks should take appropriate measures today to protect and/or bring in tender outdoor vegetation.

Here's a look at the forecast minimum temperatures across the southcentral U.S. for Tuesday morning:

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