North Texans, we have got a very hot and dry summer ahead of us. Long term temperature and precipitation estimates don’t look very good for our region.
Already today we have tied a record high at D/FW Airport. This afternoon we reached 104 degrees, which ties the record set in 1918.
Weather the next 7 days:
Today Saturday 6/18/11, a weak cold front sits along northwest Texas and some scattered severe thunderstorms are possible this evening. Cloud bases are very high at around 10,000ft , with a dry slot of air just below it. This creates a very high risk of microburst/straight line wind damage from these thunderstorms. Additionally due to that lower atmosphere dry slot, most rain will likely evaporate before reaching the surface. This gives us the dry thunderstorm effect, where lightning can spark wildfires and have insufficient rain to stop it. These storms are likely to remain just NW of the immediate D/FW Metroplex, but one may slide through the area if it can survive long enough.
Sunday and Monday, expect continued hot and windy conditions. Temperatures won’t be quite as hot as Saturday, highs should top around 100. Thunderstorm development will remain northwest of the area, so the Metroplex will remain dry.
The upper level ridge will erode finally on Tuesday, as a trough develops and moves across the continental US. This trough will send a cold front through north Texas on Tuesday afternoon. An unstable and uncapped atmosphere should promote thunderstorm development during this time. Precipitation forecasts estimate anywhere between 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain possible in isolated areas.
Additional small rain chances are in the forecast for Wednesday, before northerly upper level winds dry out the atmosphere once again.
Upper level high pressure will reestablish across the region late next week, and hot dry temperatures will resume once again. Temps late next week will be a few degrees colder than we have seen this week, with highs in the mid-upper 90s.
Long term climate outlook:
Above normal temperatures and far below normal precipitation have very strong signals in July climate forecasts. A short paragraph from the latest drought information statement regarding July climate forecasts:
THERE IS SOME POTENTIAL FOR THE UPPER RIDGE TO BREAK DOWN IN LATE JUNE...WHICH COULD RESULT IN RAIN CHANCES. HOWEVER...THE NEWLY RELEASED CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER OUTLOOK FOR JULY PROJECTS AROUND A 40 PERCENT CHANCE OF BEING IN THE DRIEST TERCILE...THE DRIEST THIRD OF HISTORIC DATA. FOR MUCH OF NORTH TEXAS...A JULY WITHIN THE DRIEST TERCILE WILL HAVE A RAINFALL TOTAL OF LESS THAN AN INCH. A PRONOUNCED WARM SIGNAL...WHICH TYPICALLY ACCOMPANIES DROUGHT CONDITIONS...CONTINUES TO PERMEATE THE SUMMER MONTHS. WARMER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES WOULD FURTHER INTENSIFY THE DROUGHT BY EVAPORATING SOIL MOISTURE AND WATER FROM AREA RESERVOIRS. WARM TEMPERATURES ALSO LEAD TO INCREASED WATER USAGE.
Drought outlook for north Texas:
Drought conditions are expected to persist and worsen through at least the month of July. The state of Texas is experiencing the largest extent of extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought conditions ever recorded. North Texas around the Metroplex and to the northeast remains the sole location in the state that is not experiencing any level of drought. This means that north Texas area water reservoirs are at adequate conservation levels and are best suited to withstand a hot and dry summer.
The drought & climate synopsis for the end of June:
THE 9-MONTH PERIOD OCTOBER 2010 TO JUNE 2011 IS ON PACE TO BE THE DRIEST ON RECORD FOR TEXAS. THE STATEWIDE EXTENT OF EXTREME (D3) AND EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) ARE CURRENTLY AT ALL-TIME RECORD LEVELS. THE YEAR-TO-DATE PRECIPITATION TOTAL AT HOUSTON HOBBY AIRPORT IS THE DRIEST ON RECORD...ONLY 5.41 INCHES SINCE JANUARY 1...WHICH IS MORE THAN 17 INCHES BELOW NORMAL. AMARILLO HAS TALLIED ONLY 0.68 INCHES IN 2011...THE VAST MAJORITY OF WHICH WAS SNOWFALL (9.6 INCHES). IN THE MOUNTAINS OF FAR WEST TEXAS...MARFA WENT OVER 8 MONTHS WITHOUT ANY PRECIPITATION (SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 TO JUNE 4, 2011). AFTER HEAVY RAIN IN MAY...NORTH TEXAS IS IN CONSIDERABLY BETTER SHAPE THAN THE REST OF THE STATE. VERY LITTLE RAIN HAS FALLEN DURING THE LAST THREE WEEKS...BUT AREAS FROM COLLIN COUNTY TO BONHAM AND PARIS REMAIN FREE OF THE ABNORMALLY DRY (D0) DESIGNATION. HOWEVER... MUCH OF CENTRAL TEXAS REMAINS MIRED IN EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4)... INCLUDING LAMPASAS...TEMPLE/KILLEEN...CAMERON...AND HEARNE. ANOTHER AREA OF EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT ENCOMPASSES POSSUM KINGDOM LAKE AND AREAS TO THE WEST...INCLUDING GRAHAM AND BRECKENRIDGE. ON JUNE 16...THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BURN BANS STATEWIDE CLIMBED TO 217...MORE THAN AT ANY POINT DURING THE 2005-2006 DROUGHT. THIS INCLUDES MORE THAN 85 PERCENT OF TEXAS COUNTIES...BUT ONLY ABOUT HALF OF THE COUNTIES WITHIN THE NWS FORT WORTH AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY. ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST THIS SUMMER. AREA RESERVOIRS ARE GENERALLY AT ADEQUATE LEVELS...BUT THE HEAT WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO REDUCE LAKE LEVELS.
The complete end of June drought statement can be found on the NWS – Fort Worth, TX website here.