Enjoy it while it lasts

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Al Key/DRC
Mary Sawyer and her dog Lumber are color-coordinated as they take a brisk jaunt around their neighborhood in Denton recently.

Another strong cold front expected to push through later today

Area residents who shed their coats this afternoon will want to keep them nearby.

“It will warm up like it did New Year’s Day and get into the 60s,” said Matt Bishop, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

But another strong cold front is expected to push through late today and send temperatures plummeting back to the 20s overnight into Sunday. No precipitation is expected, though overnight lows Sunday and Monday will be in the teens, Bishop said.

Temperatures will begin to creep back up Tuesday, with a high Wednesday expected to be back in the 50s.

The fluctuation of temperatures is fairly normal for a North Texas winter, with warm air often getting drawn up from the south as a cold front approaches.

Moreover, the current pattern of cold fronts isn’t different from a normal year, “but they have been a little more persistent,” Bishop said.

The lowest mean temperature for December was 43.1 degrees, about 4 degrees colder than normal, Bishop said. Overall, December 2013 was the 12th coldest December on record. But, it was still well above the lowest mean temperatures for December 1983 and 1989, which were bitterly cold at 34.8 and 39 degrees respectively.

Much of the Arctic air usually stays a little farther north on the Great Plains, but this year the colder air has made it all the way to North Texas, Bishop said.

Through Dec. 31, North Texas has already seen 24 days of sub-freezing temperatures for the season that sees 33 such days on average.

Denton’s director of environmental services, Ken Banks, welcomes the freezing weather when it comes to the city’s mosquito surveillance program.

The city saw its worst outbreak of West Nile virus in many years during the summer of 2012. It followed a mild winter with just 12 days below freezing.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.


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