Record Heat Will Turn to Snow, Ice in Southern Plains

Jonathan Belles
Published: February 11, 2017

The southern Plains are in for a wild weather weekend, with temperatures dropping, in some spots, more than 50 degrees in just two days.

These temperature drop-offs may be followed by snow in some spots, after reaching 85 degrees days before.

(MORE: Four Things To Know About the Weather Next Week)

Record Warmth

Southwest winds out of Mexico and south winds from the Gulf of Mexico will turn up the heat for one more day in parts of the southern Plains.

Forecast temperatures

Temperatures in eastern New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas will reach the 80s and even the 90s on Saturday.

(MAPS: Current Temperatures)

In Denver, the heat was on full-blast Friday. Denver also broke the record for earliest 80-degree day by more than a full month. The previous record was March 16, 2015.

Amarillo also broke its all-time record high for February by reaching 89 degrees, which beat the previous record of 88 on Feb. 1, 1963.

Dalhart, Texas, broke its daily record high by 8 degrees when it hit 89 degrees, breaking the old record, which was set last year.

Forecast Record Highs

Here are a few potential record highs in the region, with the previous record in parentheses:

  • Saturday: San Angelo, Texas (86 degrees); Midland, Texas (85 degrees); Lubbock, Texas (85 degrees); Roswell, New Mexico (84 degrees); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (82 degrees); El Paso, Texas (80 degrees); Tulsa, Oklahoma (77 degrees); Fort Smith, Arkansas (76 degrees) and Springfield, Missouri (73 degrees).
  • Sunday: Houston, Texas (84 degrees); Beaumont, Texas (80 degrees) and Galveston, Texas (75 degrees).

Due to the combination of low relative humidity levels, warm temperatures, dry conditions and gusty winds ahead of the approaching low-pressure system, red flag warnings have been posted for much of the region Saturday. Any fires that develop will have the potential to spread quickly.

A potent cold front will push into the southern Plains this weekend, ending the record warmth. In addition, an upper-level area of low pressure will track slowly from the Southwest into the Southeast into next week. This will result in rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain over this region for several days.

The player that will drastically change the weather this weekend in the Southern Plains.

Temperatures Sunday night into Monday morning will be cold enough to bring snow to the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. A mix of rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain is possible in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and perhaps as far north as southwestern Kansas.

(MAPS: Weekly Planner)

Daytime high temperatures on Monday will be as much as 20 degrees below average in parts of southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico but should support a changeover to rain for much of the region during the day.

Monday Morning's Forecast

Snow may return Monday night into Tuesday morning in parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Snow will also persist in portions of New Mexico.

Although it's too early to nail down specifics on snowfall amounts, most areas that receive snow will see lighter amounts, with larger amounts in the higher elevations of New Mexico and Colorado.

(FORECAST: Santa Fe, New Mexico | Amarillo, Texas | Lubbock, Texas)

Snowfall Outlook

There is some uncertainty regarding precipitation type, as some areas will likely see a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain. Some ice accumulation is also possible, so be sure to check back frequently for updates.

MORE: Animals in Snow

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.