Weather pattern may deliver more cold to Rio Grande Valley

HARLINGEN — Everybody who was shaken up — or immensely excited — by an inch of snow last week may be in for some similar weather shortly.

Weather forecasters are not predicting a snow event, but they say the strong cold front that came through last week seems to be part of a pattern which is sticking around the Valley and beyond.

“Remember the winter outlook was warmer, drier than average, with a few cold snaps? And boom! We had a big one,” Barry Goldsmith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather service in Brownsville, said yesterday.

“We may not be done with cold snaps,” Goldsmith added.

The massive cold front that pushed through from the north last week dropped temperatures to around the freezing mark.

This Friday and Saturday, another cold front is expected which could drive daytime temperatures in the Valley into the 40s. The average temperatures in mid-December are highs in the low 70s and night-time lows of about 50.

“What we’re seeing here this month is interesting,” Goldsmith said. “We’re seeing the pattern we just saw dropping in again and again but not the same way. It’s so hard to make it snow twice, it’s like lightning striking twice, it’s hard to do.

“But the pattern itself can come back and in fact we’re seeing that Friday and Saturday this week,” he added. “That was not in the cards a week ago, but it’s really in the cards now.”

Goldsmith said temperatures may only reach the 40s or low 50s both Friday and Saturday, with some possible rain or drizzle, although this front will not be a “true tap from the Arctic regions to change it to snow, at this point.”

The NWS meteorologist said what is occurring in the Valley is a pattern similar to last year, when we had three cold outbreaks between Dec. 9 and Jan. 8.

“And then we warmed up and we never got cold again,” he said.

Christmas week, Goldsmith said, another cold front is a possibility but he said forecasters just don’t have the tools to confidently issue a forecast for two weeks out.

“It’s still way too far out to make a conjecture, we just don’t have the skill,” Goldsmith said. “The big picture is still warmer and drier in the Valley over the long half of the winter but sometimes we get two-, four- even six-week periods when the atmosphere gets in a groove where you get these cold outbreaks.”