The rain has decided to stay away from west Texas and most of the southwestern United States since the fall. You've heard me talk about La Nina and its impacts on west Texas all winter and that is still the big problem. We're over 1.5" in a deficit of precipitation for 2018 and we're just in the middle of March. I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico the past weekend and people there have been saying the same things you hear across west Texas. They, too, have seen a very dry winter. Although, they did see snow on Sunday as I was headed back to Lubbock. Snow can actually fall in pretty dry air, but this snow was a bit wet, so they did have welcome moisture in the air. Farmers are struggling here, ski areas are struggling in New Mexico and it seems the only thing that is not struggling is the dry air and sunshine.
The two photos posted above are forecast runs from the American model. The one on the left is the next weather maker; a low pressure system that will move through the Rockies and into the Great Plains. The photo time is for 4:00 am on Friday morning. The low pressure is centered over southwest Nebraska. The rain is just ahead of the cold front, in the warm sector. The snow is on the northwest side of it, in southern South Dakota and western North Dakota. That is where the colder air will be. Meanwhile, in west Texas, we are staying dry as another cold front passes through. We will get a wind shift from Friday, into Saturday from the west to south-southeast, but there is not enough moisture to bring us rain. We'll get more clouds in the sky Saturday and some rain thousands of feet up. However, the dry layer will evaporate that rain and we will not get anything out of it.
The photo on the right is the forecast for Sunday night at 10:00 pm. It is showing another, weaker, low pressure system centered over southeast Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma. This, too, will keep us dry. The forecast is for rain in eastern Oklahoma and into the southeastern United States. As we look at west Texas, we remain dry. All models are in agreement with both of these scenarios. There is wiggle room with the low and timing of the cold front, but as for dry air in Lubbock and surrounding locations, that is looking correct in many models. We'll continue to watch the high temperatures fluctuate, but above average warmth and more wind will continue through the middle of next week. So, we have to be sure to keep in mind the high fire danger. Fires will spread very quickly with this wind and dry air that will be in place.