What we know about weekend weather: Chilly November rain to make Saturday soggy in Austin

·3 min read

Break out the umbrellas again, folks: Rain is expected to make Saturday soggy in Austin, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain typically arrives in Austin either ahead of a cold front bringing cooler air or by way of a low pressure system moving into the area. The counterclockwise motion of air can result in lower air pressure and allow warmer air to rise.

An upper-level low pressure system — which meteorologists describe as unstable air more conducive to forming rainclouds — will move into West Texas this weekend, drawing moisture into the Austin area as well.

"The upper low will continue to move east into Texas during the day Saturday and the light rain will overspread (South and Central Texas) Saturday morning," a weather service bulletin stated Friday. "The rain will begin to end from west to east by the late afternoon Saturday with the drying initially beginning to take place across the western half of the area."

Weather service forecasters said rainfall totals across Central Texas on Saturday could average up to three-quarters of an inch, and that the prolonged rainfall would prevent daytime temperatures from climbing much higher than morning lows in the 50s.

"Some areas could struggle to get out of the 40s and highs Saturday should be in the lower 50s for most areas," the weather service said.

More: This look back at Austin's October weather may surprise you

Saturday's outlook for Austin includes an 90% chance of rain that will help keep temperatures limited to only 53 degrees. Forecasters said Austin could see up to a half-inch of rain. At night, rain chances ease to 40% before midnight with overnight temperatures slipping to 47 degrees.

Once the low exits to the east by Sunday, dry air and sunshine will return, bringing warmer temperatures, the weather service said.

Austin on Sunday should be partly sunny with a high near 65. But brace for biting north winds of 5 to 10 mph with gusts as strong as 20 mph. Clear skies and dry air at night will allow temperatures to sink to as low as 42 degrees.

Any precipitation will help Austin close the shortfall in November rainfall this year. The city on average gets about 2.48 inches of rain by Nov. 26, but the rainfall total for the month as of Friday was only about 1.8 inches.

But drought conditions in the Austin metro area remain better than in the rest of Texas. According to data this week from the U.S. Drought Monitor, about two-thirds of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions or moderate to severe drought.

The Austin-area counties — Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell — remain drought-free, but the dryness has intensified in the Panhandle and East Texas over the past few months. As recently as 90 days ago — the week of Aug. 24 — about 94.5% of Texas was drought-free. On Friday, that proportion was down to 33.4%.

Although water volume in the Austin area's largest reservoir at Lake Travis stood at 72% of capacity, the lake's elevation was less than normal, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages the lake for flood control and hydroelectricity.

The water elevation at Mansfield Dam, which creates Lake Travis, was about 662.5 feet above mean sea level, which was about 3.9 feet less than the historical average for November.

For better or for worse, the weather service's extended forecast doesn't include any more rain for a while after Saturday. Instead, it calls for more sunshine with temperatures rebounding into the lower 70s:

Monday: Sunny with a high near 69. Mostly clear skies at night with a low around 43.

Tuesday: Sunshine with a high near 71. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 49.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 71. Mostly cloudy at night with a low around 52.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: What we know about weekend weather: Chilly rain to make Saturday soggy

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