Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
FIRST DAY OF SPRING
Spring begins today! The vernal equinox takes place at 11:15 am CDT, marking the official start of spring. Temperatures will be right where they should be as we usher in the new season. Highs today will be cooler in the low 70s with warming temperatures over the next few days.
By Friday, highs will rebound into the 80s which is where we’ll sit all weekend. Humidity will also be higher thanks to southerly winds, and the increased moisture in the air could lead to a few spotty showers Saturday or Sunday. Rain chances will stay low through Sunday, so your weekend plans are still looking pretty good!
NEXT SEVERE WEATHER THREAT?
A lot could still change in the extended forecast, but it looks like a more active pattern will likely kick in Sunday night and for the first half of next week. We'll be monitoring the forecast closely for the severe weather threat next week!
Burn Bans are in effect for Mason County, and fire danger will continue to be an issue (though not as much of a problem) on Tuesday for Central Texas. It won’t be as dry (humidity higher than Monday), it won’t be as windy (winds NW/N 5-10 with gusts 15-20), but with moderate drought across the CBS Austin area and green-up still in progress, if fires start, they could quickly spread. Red Flag Warnings are NOT expected for the rest of the week, fortunately, but please be mindful of the wildfire danger.
Burn Bans: http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/DecBan.png
Fire Danger Forecast: http://twc.tamu.edu/tfd
NEXT RAIN CHANCES
The rest of this week is looking quite nice! We’ll watch winds shift to the south by Wednesday with gradually building humidity. This weekend, it looks soupy again with dew points in the 60s and the possibility of some rain. For now, drizzle or light showers could develop Saturday morning to midday. Rain totals of less than 1/10” are expected. Sunday looks partly cloudy and dry for MOST of the day, but there’s a chance a dry line (the line separating humid air from drier air) could nudge far enough east into the Hill Country to fire up an isolated storm or two. I’m only forecasting a 10% chance in Austin, but the Northwest Hill Country might see some isolated strong storms (20-30% chance late). Monday into Tuesday - a cold front could try to push into Central Texas. That could be the recipe for some springtime storms with possible strong to severe weather looking most likely for Tuesday the 27th. By the way - if you’re hoping for some rain to help the drought, that Tuesday and even Wednesday the 28th are the best bets for now. Stay tuned! Confidence is low, but we’re watching.
NOAA’S SPRING OUTLOOK CALLS FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPS, BELOW NORMAL RAIN FOR CENTRAL TEXAS
NOAA’s official Spring Outlook was released Thursday and for us, calls for above normal temps and below normal precip. That’s not good news considering the moderate drought we’re in.
The shorter-term Climate Prediction Center outlook for March 25-29 is above normal for temps and below normal for precip. For March 27-April 2, it’s above normal for temps and above normal precip. For March 31-April 13, the outlook is for above normal temps and near normal precip.
Thursday’s drought monitor shows all of the CBS Austin area in a moderate drought. We could use some more rain! While some spots got heavy downpours over the weekend, Austin officially only picked up 0.03” from Friday through Sunday. This year, we’re running 3.72” below normal on precip. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?TX\
SPRING ALLERGIES HAVE SPRUNG!
Monday’s count: Mold-1096 (moderate). Oak-992 (high). Elm-77 (moderate). Cottonwood-32 (low). Willow-28 (low). Mulberry-26 (low). Birch-26 (low). Sycamore-23 (low). Grass-20 (low). Ash-17 (low). Trace of Privet, Hackberry, Pecan and Pine. Get the latest allergy report from Allergy & Asthma & Associates here: https://twitter.com/atxpollen
Lake Travis was 81% full with Lake Buchanan at 90%. Monday’s combined lake level was 85%. Check the levels here: http://hydromet.lcra.org/riverreport
The UV Index for Tuesday will be 7 - high. Unprotected skin can burn in 30 minutes. Check the UV Index here: https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/uv-index-1 Sun safety tips: http://theshadeproject.org/sun-safety-education/
AIR QUALITY FORECAST
Our air quality is expected to be moderate for Tuesday with elevated Ozone levels. Check the Air Quality anytime here: https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=229
STORM TRACKER FORECAST
TUE: 73 | Happy first day of Spring! Sunny and comfortable | Winds: NW 5-15
WED: 76 | Mostly sunny | Winds: SE 5-15 | Morning Low: 48
THU: 78 | Mix of sun and clouds. Gusty winds | Winds: SE/S 10-20 | Morning Low: 57
FRI: 83 | Mix of sun and clouds. Gusty winds | Winds: S/SE 10-20 | Morning Low: 62
SAT: 83 | Mostly cloudy and warm. Stray shower possible | Rain Chance: 10% | Winds: S 5-15 | Morning Low: 64
SUN: 84 | Mostly cloudy and warm. Chance isolated shower or storm | Rain Chance: 10% | Winds: S 5-15 | Morning Low: 65
MON: 79 | Mostly cloudy and “cooler”. Few isolated showers and storms | Rain Chance: 20% | Winds: SE 10-20 | Morning Low: 66
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Today's Record Temperatures