It’s just about time to trade in the shorts for the snow boots again.
Unseasonably warm weather that has baked the Denton area this week is on the way out, with a strong cold front expected to move into the area Thursday morning. Freezing temperatures, strong winds and precipitation could mean possibly icy conditions by Friday, said Matt Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
In the meantime, residents have been enjoying high temperatures in the 70s, about 15 degrees above average, Bishop said. The high temperature Tuesday was 77, and a high in the low 70s is expected for today.
“I think the main reason that it’s so warm is that we’ve had south winds that have allowed the Gulf moisture to increase,” he said. “When it comes in from the south, it allows your temperatures to warm up.”
The advancing arctic front — the second strong front of the season — is more characteristic of what’s expected in January and February than December, Bishop said.
Meteorologists anticipate light freezing rain overnight Thursday into Friday that could accumulate on the ground, but how much ice, if any, is likely to accumulate will depend on how much moisture is expected with the cold front, Bishop said.
“It doesn’t look like a major event,” he said. “That could change, and hopefully it won’t change for the worse. We could see some minor impacts, but right now it doesn’t look like a high-end winter event.”
The cold front will arrive with rain likely and highs Thursday in the upper 30s. Temperatures will fall to freezing around sunset or shortly after, Bishop said.
As Friday morning approaches, precipitation will begin with light freezing rain. A high of 32 degrees is expected for Friday, Bishop said.
The Denton Holiday Lighting Festival and the concurrent Wassail Fest are scheduled for Friday, and officials said they have no plans at this point to cancel or postpone the events, said Micah Pazoureck, co-chairwoman of the Denton Holiday Festival Association. Wassail Fest will be canceled or postponed only if the lighting festival is, officials said.
“The only way the festival will be canceled is if the roads are hazardous,” Pazoureck said in an e-mail. “We will be watching the weather reports and a decision will be made by the committee the day of.”
If it’s just rain, the festival is expected to go on, she said.
Details will be posted on the event’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/DentonHolidayLighting, if there is a delay or cancellation, she said.
Meteorologists say that there are additional chances for light freezing rain or light sleet on Saturday and Sunday morning. Highs are expected in the lower 30s Saturday. The skies will clear up Sunday afternoon and be partly sunny, with highs expected in the upper 30s.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.