Central Texas forecasters are saying bye-bye to this month’s near-record highs, with a midweek cool-down that might not be so dry.
Austin hit a daily record of 94 degrees on Sunday, and at 4 p.m. Monday, temperatures at Camp Mabry had soared to 92, only three degrees shy of the heat record for Oct. 17 set in 1993.
The unusually warm October temperatures should continue for a few more days, with highs in the lower 90s. But by Thursday, the storm system that doused the Pacific Northwest earlier this week will have crossed eastward into the Plains states, according to forecasters, bringing a cold front that should reach into Central Texas. That should drop the high temperatures into the 70s and lows into the 50s or even 40s, as well as bring isolated showers Thursday morning.
KVUE chief meteorologist Albert Ramon’s forecast described the Friday, Saturday and Sunday weather as “much cooler,” “brisk morning” and “feels great,” respectively. Those heading to Circuit of the Americas this weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix and Taylor Swift concert might want to bring a long-sleeve shirt.
“The coolest air so far this fall season will settle over the area Friday night, with a mostly clear and mild weekend to follow,” according to the National Weather Service forecast.
Those sudden drops in temperature, the result of atmospheric churn, often bring rainfall. And October is historically the second-wettest month for Central Texas, with a tendency for flash flooding — as during the catastrophic Halloween floods of 2013 and 2015.
Camp Mabry normally gets about 3.88 inches of rain in October and 4.24 inches normally falls at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to Fox 7 chief meteorologist Scott Fisher. But Mabry has seen just 0.17 inch so far this month and only 0.25 inch has fallen at the airport. The isolated showers expected Thursday will probably not add that much to that total, according to the latest forecast.
Longer-term projections are not much wetter. Late last week the National Weather Service projected that a weak La Niña will persist through the fall and winter. La Niña is a weather pattern that happens when surface temperatures are cooler than usual in equatorial Pacific. It is basically the inverse of an El Niño, which made the end of 2015 and much of 2016 wetter and cooler than typical in Central Texas.
“Rainfall is forecast to be below normal across Central Texas” during the fall and winter, Lower Colorado River Authority forecaster Bob Rose wrote in a recent blog post.
The good news, according to Rose: This should be a weak La Niña, which decreases the odds it will last into summer and do not augur the arrival of the hotter-than-Hades temperatures that periodically hit Central Texas.