Arctic air has moved into Northeastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle this morning. The cold front had sagged south into Southeastern New Mexico as of sunrise. As of 10 AM MST the temperature in Clayton was 10ºF with a wind chill of -3ºF. Amarillo was reporting a temp of 13ºF with a wind chill of -3ºF. Cannon Air Force Base at Clovis was reporting a temp of 26ºF and a wind chill of 15ºF. Low clouds were reported at all three locations. Meanwhile it was 36ºF in Roswell and Hobbs and 47ºF in Carlsbad.
The colder air associated with the front is forecast to mix out of Southeastern New Mexico this afternoon with forecast highs in the low 60's. This colder airmass will then work its way back into the area tonight sticking around through Thursday morning.
With forecast highs in the upper 30's to the mid 40's tomorrow these readings will be some 10 to 16 degrees below normal locally. Low temperatures Wednesday morning are forecast to range from the low to upper 20's. Low clouds and areas of light drizzle and light freezing drizzle are also forecast to develop which could cause a few slick spots on area roads and bridges. This will come to an end Thursday morning with clearing skies and warming temps...back up into the 60's.
Highs on Thursday are forecast to be in the low to mid 60's which will be 8 to 10 degrees above normal for the date.
New Years Day Forecast.
GFS Forecast Low Temperature Anomalies At 5 AM MST.
GFS Forecast Wind Chill's At 5 AM MST.
Given the recent poor history of the models to forecast accurately more than a couple of days in advance I urge you to use caution with the above GFS model forecast for New Years Day. What seems certain is that bitterly cold (in some cases record cold) arctic air is set to invade the heart of the nation east of the Rockies by this weekend going into New Years. note that low temperatures forecast by this model run will be some 50-degrees below normal across parts of Nebraska and Kansas come New Years morning if it verifies. What the models haven't resolved yet is just how cold this air mass will be and how widespread its clutches will be.
Of concern will be the very cold temps...below zero from the Texas Panhandle eastward into much of Oklahoma New Years Day morning by around sunrise. If the GFS model is on the right track we may even see subzero readings in parts of Northeastern and Eastern New Mexico. If the below zero readings weren't bad enough note the wind chill values of -20ºF to -30ºF from the Texas Panhandle eastward into most of Oklahoma!
Historically arctic air masses that are this cold have proven to be extremely difficult for the models to forecast. Locally these arctic outbreaks tend to be colder than forecast, arrive earlier than model forecasts, and tend to hang around longer than forecast. Anyway this will need to be watched going into this weekend.
The Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction!