SETX weather changes, with or without season

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The weather outside may not exactly be frightful, but it is temperamental and prone to cold spells.

In Southeast Texas, that could mean both hot and cold in a 24-hour period.

“We are warming up,” Andy Tingler, meteorologist for National Weather Service, said of the current SETX weather. “Temperatures across the area are in the mid 50s. That’s going to be the high for today.”

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The immediate forecast for the week details a warmer holiday season coming up.

“Tonight we’re going to cool back down, but not freezing,” Tingler said. “It’ll be in the low 40s. It’ll be a little cool inland, but it’s going to be quite a bit warmer than it has been.”

When discussing the noticeable extremes in temperature experienced over the weekend, where the temperature dropped 30 to 40 degrees, Tingler did not express concern.

“It was an exceptionally cold front, but not abnormal,” Tingler said. “West Texas got to record highs and record lows in a 24-hour period.

“That was an extreme example, but there are other occasions of that happening there.”

Tingler said that while Southeast Texas has had moist fronts off the Gulf and a strong cold front that resulted in record highs and noticeable colds, it was nothing abnormal.

As for the chances of Southeast Texas experiencing a white Christmas, the chances appeared slim.

“It’s not impossible, but it is improbable,” Tingler said with a laugh. “It’s not going to happen this time of year.”

Tingler said the temperatures would be quite warm this holiday weekend, averaging low to mid 60s for Christmas morning and low to mid 70s for the area.

“We had some ice years ago,” Tingler said. “For part of the area, there was snow along the (coast) area in 2004.

“It rolled out of South Texas and dropped snow in Corpus Christi and near Galveston. Then the snow band went off the coast.”

“Galveston and High Island had snow. They probably had some flurries right along the coast.”

According to Tingler, January 24, 2014 was the last time Southeast Texas saw even a little snow.

“We had multiple weather events in the area there,” Tingler said. “There was no real accumulation in Orange or Jefferson County; but, in Lumberton and Buna, they did pick up an inch to half an inch of snow.”

The maximum amount of snow was three and a half inches in parts of neighboring Louisiana.

“The last time we had frozen precipitation was March 4, 2015,” Tingler said.

For winter solstice, or the shortest day and longest night of the year, Tingler said there would be no freezing temperatures. Port Arthur should see a low of around 42 to 45 and a high of mid to low 60s.

The recent weather extremes have affected Southeast Texans whose work keeps them outside a lot of the time.

“I sell shrimp to people who request it,” Kevin Tran, shrimp peddler who does work for Lee’s Fresh Shrimp, said. “What we do is get the shrimp from the shrimp boat and bring it over there (to the customers).”

Tran prepares the shrimp, beheads them and fills out the packages. It is work he usually does outside.

“Sometimes I do it in front of the customer’s house,” Tran said. “It’s mainly for cleanliness and smell.”

When asked about the effect the sudden cold weather had on him and his work, Tran responded,

“It wasn’t warm, that’s for sure. The shrimp’s going to be fine; in fact, it’s better when it’s cold because it’ll help keep them fresh.”

Tran said he bundles himself in preparation for the cold weather, whether outdoors or indoors at his house.

“I have to wrap myself up almost 24 hours,” Tran said.

In describing his reaction to the sudden change in temperature and weather this past weekend, Tran said, “I was not wearing any coats. The next day, I changed to my usual clothes and quickly realized this wasn’t going to be enough.”

Tran bundled himself up in layers for the low temperature and wind chill.

“I wish the weather would make up its mind,” Tran said.

However, Tran is no stranger to frigid conditions; he has lived in states like Missouri and New York before.

“There are sudden changes (in weather) every now and then, but nothing quite like this,” he said. “Up there, it could be below freezing or in the 40s, but you’re still bundled up either way…

“Here, it’s more noticeable — you could be wearing shorts and shirt one day; then a jacket and a coat the next.”