January 2012 Weather Highlights for West-Central Texas

...4th Wettest January for San Angelo...
...8th Wettest January for Abilene...

Precipitation for January was much above normal across most of west-central Texas. 
The exception was across much of the southwestern half of Crockett County and
southwestern Sutton County...where the monthly amounts were below normal (less than
one half inch). The montly amounts were near normal across the far northwestern Big
Country, southwest Irion, and parts of Schleicher, southern Kimble, and southeastern
Mason Counties.  For most of the Concho Valley, Heartland, southern and eastern Big
Country, and parts of Schleicher and Menard Counties, the amounts were well-above
normal (in the range of 2-4 inches).  A few locations received more than 4 inches
for the month.    

Temperatures averaged well above normal for January. 

At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 49.4 degrees. 
This was 4.5 degrees above the normal average temperature of 44.9 degrees.  Total
precipitation for Abilene in January was 2.77 inches.  This was 1.75 inches above
the normal of 1.02 inches. No snowfall was recorded in Abilene in January.

At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 49.9 degrees.
This was 3.5 degrees below the normal average temperature of 46.4 degrees.  Total
precipitation for San Angelo was 3.30 inches.  This was 2.37 inches above the normal
of 0.93 inches.  This marks the 4th wettest January on record for San Angelo. Total
snowfall for San Angelo in January was 2.6 inches.


Weather Highlights for January 2012...

A tranquil and dry weather pattern occurred during the first week of January.

A winter precipitation event occurred 9th and 10th, with the approach and passage
of an upper level storm system. As this system approached from northeastern Mexico,
showers and thunderstorms developed during the post-Midnight hours of the 9th and
continued into the morning. A number of the storms contained small hail. The
precipitation tapered off during the afternoon. 

As the upper level storm system tracked directly over west-central Texas, a mix of
rain and sleet developed in the evening across the Concho Valley into Schleicher
County before mixing with and changing to wet snow.  Snowfall amounts of 1 to 3
inches occurred across much of the Concho Valley into northern Schleicher County. 
The heaviest snowfall across the Concho Valley of 3-5 inches occurred across parts
of Tom Green and Sterling Counties, including the city of San Angelo.  With a
minor glaze from the sleet, followed by the accumulation of wet snow, numerous
tree branches were downed in the San Angelo area, and scattered power outages
occurred. 

Across the Big Country, accumulating snow occurred across western sections, while a
cold rain occurred across eastern sections, including Abilene.  Areas of Fisher and
Nolan Counties received 3 to 5 inches of snowfall.    

The precipitation ended by the morning of the 10th, as the upper level storm system
exited the region.  Total liquid equavalent precipitation for this event was in the
range of one half to 1.5 inches across much of the region north of Interstate 10.
Liquid equivalent amounts over 2 inches occurred across areas of Throckmorton,
northern Tom Green, southeastern Coke, and extreme southwestern Runnels Counties. 
This precipitation brought short term benefit to the ongoing drought conditions. 

A dry weather pattern occurred during the middle of the month.  With gusty west to
northwest winds on the 11th, a peak gust of 43 mph was recorded in San Angelo. After
low-level moisture returned to the area on the 16th, areas of dense fog (visibility
one quarter of a mile or less) occurred across the southern part of west-central 
Texas on the early morning of the 17th.
  
Warm and rather dry conditions occurred on the 19th and 20th.  On the 19th, afternoon
highs ranged from the lower to mid 70s across the Big Country, to the upper 70s to
lower 80s across central and southern sections of west-central Texas.  Highs on the
20th were in the lower to mid 80s, and a record high of 82 degrees was tied at
Abilene.  Afternoon relative humidity values dropped to less than 20 percent on the
19th, and to around 10 percent on the 20th.

Strong gusty west winds occurred on the 22nd, as a potent upper level storm system
moved quickly east across the southern and central Plains. The strongest winds
occurred across the Big Country, Concho Valley, and Heartland areas, where wind
gusts above 40 mph were common.  Peak wind gusts reached 51 mph at San Angelo
and 45 mph at Abilene.  The highest measured peak wind gusts were 55 mph at Haskell
and Wall.  The strong west winds were accompanied by blowing dust. During this
weather event, an area of blowing dust overspread the Big Country, reducing visibility to
near 2 miles at times. The west winds also brought an intrusion of very dry air
across the region.  Relative humidity values dropped into the range of 8-12 percent.

A significant, yet beneficial, rainfall event occurred across west-central Texas on
the 24th and 25th.  This was brought about by an upper level storm system which
tracked much farther south than the previous system (on the 22nd).  This system
moved east across the southwestern states on the 24th, and across the Texas Big
Bend Region on the 25th. 

As this system approached, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was pulled north into
west-central Texas, and the airmass became unstable.  Showers and thunderstorms
with heavy rain developed on the evening and early nighttime hours of the 25th, and
became more numerous across west-central Texas.  An extensive area of showers and
thunderstorms moved east out of west-central Texas during the overnight hours. 
Additional areas of rain developed during the day on the 26th and continued through
the early nighttime hours.

The rain ended overnight as the storm system lifted northeast out of west-central
Texas.  The coverage of rain was widespread with this event, and was beneficial in
the short term.  Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches were common across the southern
and eastern Big Country, Concho Valley and Northwest Hill Country. The heaviest
amounts of 2 to 3 inches occurred across much of the Heartland, parts of the Concho
Valley, and parts of the Big Country south of Interstate 20.  A few locations in the
Heartland received more than 3 inches. The lowest rainfall amounts, less than one
half inch, occurred across northern Throckmorton County, western Irion County,
southwestern Sutton County, and areas of western and southern Crockett County.

A quiet weather pattern occurred during the last several days of the month. Gusty
south-southwest winds occurred on the 27th, ahead of an approaching cold front.  A
peak gust of 40 mph was recorded at the Abilene Regional Airport.  A dry cold
frontal passage occurred during the evening and early nighttime hours of the 27th.

$$


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