Fort Worth

February 24, 2014

Freezing temperatures might return to DFW this week

There’s a chance of rain Tuesday, which would bring much needed relief from the ongoing drought.

Ken Johnson resisted the urge to buy tomato plants that sprouted last weekend at his neighborhood nursery.

But, he said, “I’ve put in onions sets, cabbage and broccoli.”

Johnson, a Tarrant County Agrilife Extension Service agent, knew better than to gamble that winter was over.

Freezing weather is possible today and probably Wednesday, said Matt Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. The cold nights won’t be record breakers, but in terms of the number of hard freezes since the first was recorded Nov. 13, they could elevate this winter in the books.

One more day with freezing temperatures would make 50 for this season, putting 2013-14 alone in the No. 8 spot. If the count reaches 51, it will tie for seventh with the winters of 1976-77 and 1983-84.

Wednesday’s low will be around 30, Bishop said. He expected Thursday to warm up to the high 50s and Friday temperatures to be close to 70. But he wouldn’t hazard a guess whether that warmup heralds winter’s end.

Another front could come in Friday evening, turning Saturday’s temperatures down to 57, said Dennis Cavanaugh, another weather service meteorologist.

“Sunday we have even another front, but not until the evening,” Cavanaugh said. “So we’ll be a little warmer, about 62. We may have a chance of storms with that front.”

Knowing when the threat of freezing temperatures has passed is a tricky business, Johnson said.

“It’s too early to count out another freeze after this week,” Johnson said. “I don’t feel comfortable about being past freezes until late March.”

Instead of warm days, what people should be yearning for is rain, Johnson said.

“It’s dry,” he said. “We’re still in a drought.”

Indeed, measuring from Jan. 1 through Sunday, this winter is the driest in more than 70 years, with 0.71 inch of rain at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Bishop said.

“We’re 3 1/2 inches below normal for the year, counting from Jan. 1,” Bishop said.

That could change, however, today when there is a 50 percent chance of showers.

“A few spots may get a half inch,” Bishop said.

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