AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) - The potential for significant travel impacts is increasing heading into Thursday night & Friday for the Southwest Texas Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico as a powerful low pressure system will bring heavy snow, cold temperatures and windy conditions to the Southern Plains.
The combination of high winds and heavy wet snow through Thursday night into Friday will create white out conditions which will make travel extremely dangerous. This will be a very localized event where we believe the southwest Texas Panhandle including Clovis, Friona, Dimmitt, Hereford, Tulia, Plainview, Lubbock, Levelland and surrounding communities could see significant snow accumulations of 6 to 10"!
Just a minor shift in the track of this upper-level low and a minor temperature change could drastically change what areas are impacted. Right now, The southwest Texas Panhandle is under the gun for copious amounts of wet heavy snow for a 24-36 hour period starting as early as 12PM CST Thursday and lasting as late as Saturday morning.
This could make some roads impassable between Clovis, Lubbock & Amarillo. If you have plans to travel in this area on Thursday evening or during the day Friday, we strongly encourage you to reconsider making that drive as visibility could be reduce to 50 yards at times with heavy and blowing snow. Snow rates of 1-2"/hr are very possible in localized areas.
The impacts will change drastically from one county to the next where this band of snow sets up. You could drive 20 miles and go from no snow to well over 6" very quickly.
There is potential for snow totals to exceed 12" in areas where banding snow does not stop.
Worst case scenarios have shown generational snow totals while best case scenarios show little to no snow so the forecast remains very tricky.
This has to do with the marginal temperatures around 32 degrees and the exact placement of this closed upper-level low.
Regardless, a lot of moisture will be squeezed out of the atmosphere with this system similar to one experienced in November of 2004. That event in 2004 dumped 2.5" of rain on Childress, Texas while 4-8" of wet heavy snow fell between Amarillo, Clovis, & Lubbock. This could be a very similar event for the Southern Plains with locally higher amounts possible.
If you plan on traveling, make sure to have your winter weather kit with you as this will be a prolonged event. If you get stuck due to heavy snow, you could be stranded for for more than 24 hour before conditions improve.
Isolated power outages will be possible given this will be a wet heavy snow and winds could gust up to 40 MPH at times which will weigh down branches and powerlines.
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