PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

December 20, 2012

Light, dusty rain to blame for dirty cars

Julie Garcia
The Port Arthur News

— After less than an 800th of an inch of rain, Southeast Texans woke up Thursday morning with foreign brown soot covering their parked vehicles.

Along with colder temperatures and strong gale force winds, a storm system brought dust from West Texas Wednesday night to Mid-County and surrounding areas. The small amount of rain brought just enough dust to ruin a good car detail job.

“It was just enough to get wet and get dust on top of everything,” said Montra Lockwood, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, La.

On an average weekday, Simoniz Car Wash on FM 365 in Nederland will wash and clean between 300 and 400 vehicles, said employee Kimberly McCollough.

“Oh, it’s been busy,” McCollough said. “We’ve gotten over 500 cars just today and most every car was covered lightly with brown dust.”

Lockwood said that a series of Pacific cold fronts are to blame for the recent roller coaster of temperatures in Southeast Texas.

She said that Beaumont and Port Arthur are in kind of a progressive pattern, which means that cold fronts move through the area quickly from the West coast to East coast. When they’re gone, warm and moist Gulf air moves in.

“Instead of a Canadian cold front, which will bring much colder temperatures and stick around for a while, these fronts are more Pacific in nature,” Lockwood said.

So far in December, there have been multiple days with highs in the high-70s and low-80s, which Lockwood said is about 10 degrees hotter than normal.

Cool temperatures remain for Friday, but there is a warming trend through the weekend with a 40 percent chance of showers on Christmas Day.