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The Latest on the Sharp Cold Front and Wintry Precipitation Potential for the RGV and Deep S. Texas Brush Country

The 2021/2022 winter season's sharpest cold front will change April to January on the 20th, with "feels like" temperatures crashing into the 30s by the afternoon. Those apparent temperatures will drop into the upper teens to mid 20s by early morning Jan. 21, and be joined by a mix of sleet and ice across the Brush Country and Brooks/Kenedy ranches, possibly reaching the RGV. Details here. Read More >



Effective Tuesday, March 22, 2022, NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley, Texas, will add three new barrier island zones to the Lower Texas coast in Kenedy, Willacy, and Cameron County, and renumber current zones TXZ-256 (Coastal Willacy) and TXZ-257 (Coastal Cameron). The current configuration of six zones for these counties (inland and coastal) will expand to nine zones (inland, coastal, and island).  For Cameron County, Boca Chica Beach will be incorporated into the new barrier island zone, even though it is not a barrier island location. 

Below are graphics depicting the change. Current (pre-March 22, 2022) coastal zones are on the left; the new coastal and barrier island zones are at right.

Old Lower Texas coastal zones numbers, as of late 2021



Messaging inconsistencies arise in situations when a hazard may directly impact the barrier island, but not the coastal land areas immediately across the Laguna Madre. Some of the coastal hazards that often only impact the barrier island and Boca Chica Beach, but not the rest of the coastal zone west of the Laguna Madre, include dense sea fog, life-threatening rip currents, and coastal flooding. Conversely, hazards associated with sea breeze convection and temperatures (freeze and heat advisories) are some of the products that may only impact the portion of the current coastal zones west of the Laguna Madre, but not the barrier island or Boca Chica Beach. These situations lead to messaging challenges for the daily forecast and pertinent hazards. The proposed configuration will allow for better consistency between watches, warnings and advisories that impact the surf zone and the immediate coastal strip that may not affect the coastal counties just west of the Laguna Madre.

The proposed new zone break-outs, as well as the zone renumbering, have been closely coordinated with local partners and customers.

These zone changes require partners and users to take appropriate action to receive the new zone products using the Universal Generic Code (UGC) zone code format (Z) listed in Table 1. Products affected by this change are listed in Table 2. 


Table 1: NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley's Affected Public Weather Forecast Zones

Current Zone Name Updated Zone Number Name Remark
TXZ-251 Inland Kenedy TXZ-251 Inland Kenedy Unchanged
TXZ-351 Coastal Kenedy TXZ-351 Coastal Kenedy Unchanged
    TXZ-451 Kenedy Island New/Barrier Island
TXZ-254 Inland Willacy TXZ-254 Inland Willacy Unchanged
TXZ-256 Coastal Willacy TXZ-354 Coastal Willacy Renumbered; TXZ-256 Retired
    TXZ-454 Willacy Island New/Barrier Island
TXZ-255 Inland Cameron TXZ-255 Inland Cameron Unchanged
TXZ-257 Coastal Cameron TXZ-355 Coastal Cameron Renumbered; TXZ-257 Retired
    TXZ-455 Cameron Island New/Barrier Island

Table 2: NWS Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley's Text Products Affected by the Change

Product Name Identifier World Met. Org Header
Tropical Cyclone Watch/Warning TCVBRO WTUS84 KBRO
Hurricane Local Statement HLSBRO WTUS84 KBRO
Coastal Flood Watch/Advisory/Warning CFWBRO WHUS44 KBRO
Non-Precipitation Watch/Warning/Advisory NPWBRO WWUS74 KBRO
Winter Weather Watch/Warning/Advisory WSWBRO WWUS44 KBRO
Fire Weather Watch/Red Flag Warning RFWBRO WWUS84 KBRO
Hazardous Weather Outlook HWOBRO FLUS44 KBRO
Public Information Statement PNSBRO NOUS44 KBRO
Special Weather Statement SPSBRO WWUS84 KBRO
Drought Statement DGTBRO AXUS74 KBRO
Hydrologic Outlook ESFBRO FGUS74 KBRO
Area Forecast Matrices AFMBRO FOUS54 KBRO
Point Forecast Matrices PFMBRO FOUS54 KBRO
Tabular State Forecast SFTBRO FPUS64 KBRO
Fire Weather Forecast FWFBRO FNUS54 KBRO
Zone Forecast ZFPBRO FPUS54 KBRO
Surf Zone Forecast SRFBRO FZUS54 KBRO
Area Forecast Discussion AFDBRO FXUS64 KBRO


If you are affected by these changes, take the appropriate action so your system(s) recognize the new zone (Z) Universal Geographic Codes (UGC) and the new zone alignments. The official NWS designation of the proposed new zones and zone numbers can be found at

An updated public zone map shapefile is available for download at:

An updated fire zone map shapefile is available for download at:


If you have any questions, please contact:


Mike Buchanan


National Weather Service 

Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley

20 S. Vermillion Avenue

Brownsville, TX 78521

956-504-1432 ext. 222

Barry Goldsmith

Warning Coordination Meteorologist

National Weather Service 

Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley

20 S. Vermillion Avenue

Brownsville, TX 78521

956-504-1432 ext. 223

Melinda Bailey

Dissemination Services Program Manager

National Weather Service

Southern Region Headquarters

819 Taylor Street, Room 10A06

Fort Worth, TX  76102