A storm system will bring more precipitation over the region through Wednesday, with a couple of additional rounds possible. There will be a round tomorrow and then a much larger round tomorrow night into Wednesday. It’s the final round of precip on Wednesday that stands the biggest chance to produce significant impacts.
Changes From Yesterday
It looks like tomorrow’s (Tuesday) round of precipitation *may* be lighter than expected. A combination of CAMs are showing a much less robust wave of frozen/freezing precip moving across the region during the day tomorrow. For many people, it may be a decent bit of a break.
- As we found out today, even lighter/weaker shots of frozen precipitation can cause big problems, especially on the Southern Plains.
- As was expected yesterday, widespread power outages are not likely through tomorrow.
Now Let’s Break Down Wednesday
Ok, now that’s out of the way. The period from around 9 p.m. tomorrow night into Wednesday poses a VERY interesting and dynamic picture. A lot is going to be riding on what the temperatures are just above the surface on how impactful the main wave is going to be.
- Again, regardless of the precipitation type or amounts, even a little bit of freezing or frozen precipitation is going to cause travel headaches. This will be especially true across a large chunk of north and west Texas.
- Power outages are possible, but there are a couple of things that could minimize that risk.
Sleet or Freezing Rain?
As you may know, the depth of the warm layer of air above the surface determines what the precipitation type is on these events. Freezing rain will occur if the warm layer is large, sleet if it is small. Some CAMs are showing a very wide area of freezing rain tomorrow, I think the zone of freezing rain will be somewhat more narrow and probably confined to near and just NW of the freezing line.
- Sleet will be more and more likely the further north and west you go because the air is cooler and cooler.
- Freezing rain near and NW of the freezing line seems likely on Wednesday — the column has a pronounced pocket of warm air and that seems unlikely to go away.
- Ice also accretes on surfaces a lot more efficiently where there is a more moderate/light and steady rain. Convective bursts of heavy rain or strong wind can actually be somewhat detrimental to the largest ice accumulations.
Where freezing rain falls, there is a real chance of power outages on Tuesday night into Wednesday. If surface temperatures warm above freezing with rain still falling on Wednesday, the threat will be relatively short-lived.
- Freezing rain and thus, power outages, will be more possible closer to the DFW metro area and areas directly SW and NE of that.
- The heavier precipitation totals may fall west of DFW on Wednesday — but sleet will probably be more common to the west. If the column is slightly warmer than expected then the amount of precipitation that will fall in places like Abilene and San Angelo is concerning for a more significant ice storm.
- Further north across much of Oklahoma and into the Panhandles, there should be less of a threat from this system.
- Regardless of precipitation type, roads will be hazardous across much of Texas through Wednesday.