Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter's over - time for spring weather!

Now that we've successfully navigated through three weeks of winter weather, but perhaps not the potholes left behind (info on potholes from TDOT), it's time to turn our attention to spring! Spring weather means two things in the Mid-South: warmer temperatures and chances of thunderstorms.

Gulf low brings unsettled weather

This morning, low pressure is located over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and will move slowly north into the western Mid-South by Friday. If it were a few months later, we'd be looking more closely at a system like this for subtropical or tropical characteristics

This low will mean a chance of showers today and increasing rain chances heading into tonight and Friday. Thunderstorms will also be possible overnight and during the day Friday as warm, moist, unstable Gulf air rides over the area. In our area, no severe weather is expected, though some strong storms might be found to our south - across areas from Houston to New Orleans to Jackson, MS to south AL and the Florida Panhandle - today and tonight.

Surface map at noon Thursday showing the Gulf low near Houston. Showers will spread well north of the low into the Mid-South today.

By noon Friday, the low will move east of Dallas, lifting more moisture into the region with chances of thunderstorms as well. Rain will be heavy at times.

Heavy rain threat

In addition to the chance of thunderstorms, heavy rain will be possible. With periods of heavy rain, saturated ground from recent snowfall, and stream and river levels running high, some flooding will be possible. A Flood Watch has been posted from this afternoon through early Saturday morning for the metro as 1-3" of rain is expected.

Precipitable water values show the amount of available moisture in the air above us. Values of 1.5-2.0" this time of year are very high and indicate the potential for heavy rain. The image above is valid at noon Friday as low pressure sits over east TX. Graphic courtesy WxBell Analytics.

Weekend outlook

As the low pressure system lingers over the Mid-South and weakens Saturday, it will remain cloudy with a few lingering showers during the day. The entire system moves out by Sunday, resulting in high pressure taking over and more sunshine. The good news in all this is that temperatures will remain warm - mainly in the 50s and 60s.

Long-range outlook

By the start of next week, when many of your kids will be on spring break, the weather looks great! We'll see lots of sunshine, spring-like high temps (60s) and cool mornings (40s), and no freezing. The next weather-maker looks to hold off until late next week once we get through the next few days. Click here for the complete MWN Forecast or check it out on our mobile app.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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