Autumn arrives to summer-like conditions

September 21, 2016 GMT

The first day of fall is Thursday, Sept. 22, with the Autumn Equinox in Plainview and across the Texas Panhandle-South Plains at 9:21 a.m. It’s the day of the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator, moving southward from Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere.

Aside from the date on the calendar, it should feel like summer outside today, before changing to more autumn-like conditions this weekend.

The National Weather Service in Lubbock advises that an upper level low will push southeastward toward West Texas by the weekend. It will bring with it a strong cold front that will lower highs into the 60s and 70s by Sunday and Monday, with lows in the 40s and 50s.

Showers and thunderstorms also will be possible ahead and just behind the front.

In the short term, the NWS indicates that an upper level ridge over Texas will weaken by early Wednesday while the next storm system comes ashore in the Pacific Northwest.

The region should see a warming trend going into the weekend as surface flows continue to be out of the south to southeast ahead of a cold front over the Central Plains.

As the cold air mass begins to move south, rain chances will begin to improve late Saturday afternoon with some isolated amounts of up to 1.5 inches, particularly across the Rolling Plains.

The main cold front is expected to push through the northwestern portion of the South Plains by Sunday morning, and through the remainder of the area by the afternoon. It promises to be the region’s first strong cold front this fall, bringing with it fairly strong winds gusting from 25 to 35 mph.

Next week will start off with below average temperatures across the region, forecasters predict. Monday will likely be the coolest day with highs ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s throughout the region, while lows Tuesday morning will range from the low 40s to mid-50s.

Temperatures will gradually warm into the mid-70s to low 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday as the upper low moves off to the northeast and upper-level ridging begins to push in from the west.

In Plainview, rainfall chances have been set at 20 percent Friday night, increasing to 50 percent Saturday through Sunday night, before decreasing to 30 percent on Monday.