Cedric Said It Would: How the wintry weather developed - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Cedric Said It Would: How the wintry weather developed

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Cedric Haynes giving his weekend forecast on Friday morning. Cedric Haynes giving his weekend forecast on Friday morning.
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

So, why did portions of East Texas experience a rare phenomenon as thundersleet? Here’s a look back at the setup that created the wintry scene for the region.

A strong upper level low pressure developed across the Pacific ocean on Friday. This low pressure was throwing copious amounts of rainfall across portions of California. The upper low pressure began to move east over the weekend toward Texas. During this same time, the southerly flow ahead of this system allowed for warm and humid air to pour into the State. Temperatures over Texas warmed as high as the 90s in some parts of the region. 70s and 80s were widespread across East Texas.

During the weekend, an Arctic cold front was developing across northern portions of the United States. This front was pulling down some very cold, arctic air. The front moved south and approach Texas Saturday. Temperatures across East Texas were close to 80 degrees Saturday afternoon.

The clash in air masses allowed for an unstable atmosphere to develop across the region, Sunday. Thunderstorms looked like a good bet across the region with thunder and lightning likely.

A strong surge of Arctic air arrived faster than models indicated, allowing for thunderstorms to develop behind the cold front in the cold air mass. The storms were able to help enhance precipitation along with thunder and lightning causing heavy freezing rain and sleet to fall.

The heavy freezing rain occurred because temperatures were above freezing from the clouds all the way down to about the lowest 10,000 feet of the atmosphere. The heavy sleet followed after the depth of the cold air grew from about 10,000 feet off the ground to about 15,000 feet off the ground. This allowed the liquid precipitation to partially refreeze in that column of air into the ice pellets we saw add up to 0.50 to two inches total.

The weight of this ice on powerlines and trees caused numerous powerlines, tree branches, and transformers to come down leaving numerous residents in the dark. The thick coat of ice is also causing major travel hazards on regional interstates, highways and bridges and overpasses.

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