Wintry mix

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Al Key/DRC
City of Denton Parks landscape workers mulch the beds in the median of Teasley Lane during the freezing but sunny weather Monday.

Weather experts say warmer days, rain in forecast

Denton County hit a low of 11 degrees overnight Monday, one of the coldest readings recorded since temperatures have been measured at the Denton airport the past 18 years.

But that warm air from the Gulf of Mexico that takes the edge off winter in Texas will be back today.

Steve Fano, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said winds overnight were expected to be light and variable before coming out of the south by morning. And even though the overnight low was expected in the teens again, meteorologists expected big moves on the thermometer throughout the day, with a high of 45 today.

“That’s a pretty decent warm-up,” Fano said.

Denton County’s low of 11 degrees was the sixth-lowest on record at the airport but still fell short of the all-time record low in Denton of minus 3 degrees on Jan. 18, 1930.

The lowest temperature ever recorded at the airport was 6 degrees on Dec. 9, 2005.

The next coldest days were recorded in 2010, on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, when the mercury dipped to 7 and 9 degrees, respectively.

The temperatures dipped to 10 degrees on Feb. 4, 2011, and Jan. 29, 1997, according to records.

The low temperatures are being blamed on northwest winds that brought dry, Arctic air to much of the nation. Residents in the northern and Great Lakes regions have had to cope with some record-low temperatures and dangerous wind chills because of that same system, Fano said.

The official overnight temperature at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport of 16 degrees was the second-coldest temperature recorded for the day, but well above the single digits in the all-time record books, Fano said.

The coldest temperature recorded in Dallas came in December 1989, when temperatures dropped to 1 degree.

Still, the cold temperatures were a problem for the state’s electric grid early Monday. Two power plants were offline early Monday morning because of problems from the cold, prompting the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to issue a warning about possible rolling blackouts. But the advisory was withdrawn soon after it was issued.

The moist air that begins arriving today could trigger rain later this week.

“The chances come in two waves,” Fano said. “On Wednesday and Wednesday night, when the heaviest rain will be east of Denton County. Chances are better on Friday for more appreciable rain in the area.”

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

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