Autumn can be a fun season for west Texas. Typically we see warmer air at the beginning of October and much colder conditions towards the end of the month. Highs in the 80s and low 90s are fairly regular for the first 15 days or so of this month. Once we make it past that point, cooler air usually starts to become more common. It's looking like that will be the case as we get closer to the end of the month. Two cold fronts will be headed this way over the next five days. October through February is when we see more cold fronts moving through west Texas basically every week.
The picture above is the Climate Prediction Center forecast for October 26-30. It is showing most of our area with a 70% chance of below average high temperatures, with the southern counties at 50% during that time period. Average highs for Lubbock during that time period are in the low 70s. So it's likely that highs will be in the 50s and 60s. That depends on the depth of the cold and how strong these fronts are.
The first one which will move in late Thursday night/early Friday morning. This front will not be as strong as the second. We will see high temperatures falling from the 80s into the low 60s Friday and low 70s on Saturday. It will be more comfortable, but wind is going to be gusty with the front, before dropping to 10-15 mph on Saturday. The second, stronger, cold front is going to move through late Sunday, into the very early morning hours on Monday. This front will pull down very cold, Arctic air to west Texas. High temperatures will go from the low and mid 70s Sunday, to the mid 40s on Monday.
The above photo is the forecast for low temperatures on Monday morning. You can see just how cold it will be in west Texas, into the panhandle. Right now, the number for Lubbock is forecast to be 32° on this graphic. However, looking at more data, it's looking a bit warmer, with a low of 36°. Now that will still be a shock to the system after how warm it has been lately. Tuesday morning will be the first shot to see below freezing low temperatures for Lubbock and most locations in our area. The wind will make it feel more like 13° or so. This will be the first real blast of cold air to the region, so go ahead and start to prepare for that now.
The photo above is one computer forecast for 4:00 am on Wednesday, October 28. The model, the GFS for those keeping score at home, has a bias to over-produce precipitation. It is calling for accumulating snow from Tuesday, into early Wednesday morning next week. I am showing you this to mainly highlight how cold the air mass is going to be next week. Yes, it will be cold enough to produce snow. However, it's way, way, way too early to even start talking about wintry precipitation and accumulation totals. If anyone is going into detail about this now, they're going to be wrong.
There will be a better idea on precipitation, if any, by the weekend. Keep in mind that this model's bias is to over-produce precipitation. The air has just been too dry for the last month and a half. The dry air is looking to hold steady, even though this strong front will move in. If we can get some moisture to wrap around the low pressure center, associated with this front, there is the low-end probability that we will see very light snow, or a rain/snow mix. Obviously, this second cold front will be something to watch as we get closer to its arrival.