January 2013 Weather Highlights for West-Central Texas
Temperatures averaged above normal for January.
Precipitation for the month varied from well-below to well-above normal. The monthly amounts were less than one half inch across parts of the Big Country, northern Concho Valley, and Northern Edwards Plateau. Well-above normal monthly precipitation occurred across the far western Concho Valley, northwestern Crockett County, and across most of the area east of a line from Cross Plains to Junction.
Most of the January precipitation occurred early in the month, with a snow event on the 3rd and 4th, and a rain event on the 8th-10th. The coverage of the precipitation early in the month was widespread across west-central Texas.
At Abilene Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 46.1 degrees. This was 1.2 degrees above the normal average temperature of 44.9 degrees. Total precipitation for Abilene in January was 1.31 inches. This was 0.29 inches above the normal of 1.02 inches.
At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for January was 48.2 degrees. This was 1.8 degrees above the normal average temperature of 46.4 degrees. Total precipitation for San Angelo was 1.43 inches. This was 0.50 inches above the normal of 0.93 inches.
Total snowfall for January was 2.8 inches at the San Angelo Regional Airport, and 1.0 inches at Abilene.
With cold air in place and the approach of an upper level storm system from New Mexico, snow event occurred during the overnight hours of the 3rd and 4th. One inch of snowfall was measured in Abilene. At San Angelo, officially 2.8 inches of snowfall was measured for this event, at the San Angelo Regional Airport. Other locations within Tom Green County measured between 3 and 6 inches.
During the following week, a storm system tracked across northern Mexico on the 8th and 9th, before lifting out to the north across west-central Texas on the morning of the 10th. With the approach and arrival of this system, rain and a few thunderstorms occurred. Most of the rainfall occurred on the 8th and 9th (Figures 1 and 2 below).
Figure 1: Rainfall for the 24-hour period ending 6 AM January 9, 2013.
Figure 2: Rainfall for the 24-hour period ending 6 AM January 10, 2013.
The heaviest rainfall, in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 inches, occurred across parts of the Heartland and Northwest Hill Country.
Temperatures were colder than normal during most of the first half of January, with readings well-below normal on the 3rd, 4th, and 13th-15th. A warming trend occurred on January 18-20, with a return of southerly winds.
Temperatures were well-above normal on the 23rd to 26th, as an upper level high pressure system gradually shifted east across Texas. On the 24th, temperatures reached the 80s for highs across most of the area south of Interstate 20.
As southerly flow strengthened out ahead of an approaching storm system from the western states, unseasonably warm conditions occurred on the 27th and 28th across west-central Texas. Record warm minimum temperatures occurred on the 27th and 28th at San Angelo. The minimum temperature of 64 degrees on the 28th not only was a record for that date, but also established a new record high minimum temperature for the month of January. Afternoon high temperatures were in the mid to upper 70s on the 27th, and ranged mostly from the mid 70s to lower 80s on the 28th.
Thunderstorms and strong winds occurred on the 29th, as a strong upper level storm entered Texas and the southern Plains. Scattered thunderstorms developed along a cold front as it entered an unseasonably warm, moist and unstable airmass. Several of the storms contained small hail. The strongest storm produced hail larger than quarter size in callahan county (12 miles south of Baird). The storms also contained brief heavy rainfall, but the rapid movement limited rainfall amounts to less than one quarter of an inch.
Following the cold frontal passage, strong gusty west winds developed and continued into the nighttime hours. Sustained winds were in the 25-35 mph range with gusts exceeding 50 mph at times. Sporadic power outages occurred, but no significant damage was reported.
Table 1 (below) shows the measured peak wind gusts from Jan. 29-30, for ASOS, AWOS, and Mesonet stations across west-central Texas. The peak gusts for Sweetwater, Coleman, Brownwood, Brady, Ozona, and Sonora were based on automated observations taken at 20-minute intervals.
Table 1: Peak Wind Gusts from automated surface observations across west-central Texas.
Temperatures were much cooler on the 30th, when highs were mostly in the lower to mid 50s.