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Author Archives: David Reimer

Strong Storms Return to Texas beginning Saturday into Next Week

The first four days of May have come in like a lamb across the Southern Plains of the United States. I’ve been reliving major tornado outbreaks the past couple of days while enjoying clear skies and temperatures in the 60s and 70s. As a storm chaser its nice to have a little downtime after a busy end to April. As a resident its also nice not having to worry if my apartment would still be where I left it before a chase. As usual for May the quiet weather won’t last and we’ll undoubtedly have a little payback from Mother Nature. The eastern United States has been dealing with severe weather since Sunday with plenty of hail, wind damage, and a couple spin up tornadoes. Today folks in southern Florida are dealing with a threat of severe storms along with widespread rain. Meanwhile our state is clear with temperatures in the 70s to lower 80s just after lunch. We note that a strong storm system is heading towards the California coast. It’ll make landfall later tonight into Thursday. That storm system will bring a return of more active weather to western sections of Texas by Saturday. That storm risk will spread east on Sunday towards Interstate 35 with continued storm chances into next week. I’ll say now that the skill in forecasting specific severe weather threats five days out is very small. We’re not dealing with a synoptically evident event where a high-end severe weather risk is expected a long ways out. Its May and we deal with severe storms. Lets chat about the upcoming weather shift.

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The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted Saturday and Sunday for possible severe thunderstorms. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add Monday and Tuesday of next week to the risk maps as we get closer. For Saturday we’ll be watching the Texas Panhandle, South Plains, and Permian Basin as a dryline sets up near the TX/NM border. Moisture return will have begun in earnest on Friday with dewpoints in the 40s to lower 50s possible. Those dewpoint levels are fairly marginal but with the higher terrain could be enough for a few high-based supercells with large hail and damaging wind gusts. The tornado threat, if any, will depend on mesoscale factors and pockets of higher moisture. I really don’t see Saturday being a big tornado day but as always we’ll watch it.

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The severe weather risk on Sunday greatly expands in aerial coverage to include the eastern Texas Panhandle, Northwest Texas, Texoma, North Texas, the Big Country, Concho Valley, Hill Country, and Southwest Texas. That’s a large area under a severe weather risk on Sunday but not everyone will see storms or severe weather. With a lot of time between now and Sunday there will undoubtedly be refinements to the forecast. Compared to Saturday we should have dewpoints up into the 60s across the risk area. The dryline will be further east as an upper level storm system makes a closer approach from the west. If we were going to have more significant severe weather issues Sunday would probably be the day to watch. All we can do is watch data and wait to see how things set up. Don’t be surprised if the risk areas change as we get closer.

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Monday is not highlighted in any risk outlooks at this time but could certainly bring a threat of storms to the I-35 corridor and Northeast and East Texas. Some storms may be severe. The previous two days will largely dictate how Monday sets up. This is May and storms are to be expected. Saturday should be good for most folks except up in the Panhandle and West Texas. Sunday will be muggier and with a increase in storms across more sections of Texas. Monday could be an I-35 and points east day as the dryline surges east. Take time while the weather is nice to review your severe weather safety plans.

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Isolated showers possible today with rebounding temperatures

After a cool spring day yesterday temperatures are beginning to rebound. We continue with relatively quiet weather this week as a ridge has set up overhead. That ridge will break down by the weekend with the chance of thunderstorms returning to the Panhandle and West Texas on Saturday. More storm chances could occur over a larger section of the state next week as a upper level trough digs in to our west.

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High temperatures this afternoon will climb into the upper 60s to middle 70s across the northern two-thirds of Texas under partly cloudy skies. Seventeen years ago today a major tornado outbreak impacted Oklahoma and Kansas. The most noteworthy tornado was an F5 that developed near Chickasha, Oklahoma and moved northeast through Bridge Creek, Moore, into Del City and portions of Tinker Air Force Base in the OKC metro. I share that tidbit to show how volatile our weather can be in the southern United States in May. Luckily our weather today will be polar-opposite with wonderful conditions. Deep South Texas will be on the warm side of the spectrum – as usual – with high temperatures in the low to middle 80s.

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For this afternoon and evening we will have the opportunity to see a few showers and storms across the eastern Texas Panhandle into Northwest Texas. Mediocre moisture levels will preclude the risk of severe weather. One or two storms may pulse up briefly with pea size hail and 30 to 40 MPH wind gusts. Otherwise the primary hazard will be a few cloud to ground lightning strikes and a brief rain shower. Most folks will remain dry and outside of the regions listed above rain chances are NIL today.

06Z Global Forecast System | Surface dewpoint projection by early Saturday evening.

06Z Global Forecast System | Surface dewpoint projection by early Saturday evening.

The dryline will become a player again on Saturday as it sets up across western portions of the Texas Panhandle south into the Permian Basin. Isolated thunderstorms may develop by the late afternoon hours to the east of the dryline. A few of those storms could become severe with large hail. Moisture levels look on the marginal size right now so that will likely keep cloud bases high. Rain/storm chances could spread east on Sunday into the Big Country, Northwest Texas, and western North Texas. The time of year suggests some severe weather risk may be possible but we’ll wait until we’re closer to define potential risk areas.

Storms moving out with much cooler weather

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The radar is lit up this morning across portions of the state but no severe weather is expected. We did deal with a rather unexpected severe weather situation overnight across Southeast Texas. Some storms were able to pop up and become hailers. Some spots received quarter to golfball size hail. I won’t lie when I say that was fairly unexpected on my part. No additional severe weather is expected today with the strongest storms now off-shore. Radar estimates indicate almost 10 inches of rain has fallen offshore of Galveston this morning. Luckily we don’t have anywhere near that much rain indicated inland. Just before 8 AM it is almost 80 degrees before Brownsville down in the Rio Grande Valley with Amarillo and Dalhart in the low/mid 30s. The western Panhandle experienced a late-season freeze overnight with temperatures dropping briefly to 30-32 degrees. So with that we get to play another instance of pick your season! Do you want to be down in the Rio Grande Valley where its essentially a summer’s morning or do you prefer to wake up with fall weather up in the Panhandle?

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With a cool front pushing south today temperatures will be on the cool side for May 2nd. High temperatures today will only top out in the 60s to low 70s across the northern half of Texas this afternoon. Folks in Southeast texas into the Rio Grande Valley will stay in the 70s to lower 80s.

This afternoon's high temperature forecast

This afternoon’s high temperature forecast

Tonight’s low temperature forecast looks similiar to what I’d expect to see in early April – not early May. I suppose it beats out dealing with severe storms or a humid airmass. Folks within 50 miles of the coast will bottom out in the 50s to low 60s tonight. Everyone else will likely drop off into the 40s to mid 50s. It might not be a bad idea to have a light jacket ready to go for your Tuesday morning activities. I know I’ll need one after getting used to waking up in the 60s and 70s.

Tuesday morning low temperature forecast

Tuesday morning low temperature forecast

Your Overnight Severe Weather Forecast

Shortly before 9 PM we’re down to a couple severe thunderstorm warnings in the state. A large area of rain and thunderstorms continue to move northeast across Northeast Texas and East Texas. Several locations have received 3 to 5 inches of rain today with flash flooding an issue. Be mindful of flooded roadways and that you might not be able to see them easily at night. I myself almost had an issue with a flooded road on a chase today. Some storms may produce quarter size hail and localized damaging wind gusts over 60 MPH. The tornado threat – while not zero – has diminished compared to this afternoon in those two regions.

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A squall line is in the process of developing from near Paris southwest through Terrell to Waco and Fort Hood.   This line of storms is slowly pushing east. Some storms may produce hail up to the size of quarters and localized damaging wind gusts over 60 MPH. An isolated tornado is not out of the question but the overall tornado threat is diminishing. Localized flooding could occur especially in locations that have already received heavy rain today.

Overnight it’s possible a squall line takes shape in South-Central Texas into East Texas. Some of the storms in that squall line could be strong to severe with quarter size hail, damaging wind gusts over 60 MPH, and isolated tornadoes. The severe weather threat will not be as high compared to storms earlier this afternoon. Flash flooding is also a threat in East and Southeast Texas. The squall line itself could approach the Houston metro between 4 AM and 8 AM Saturday as it pushes into Southeast Texas and the Coastal Plains overnight. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a way to receive weather warnings tonight. WeatherRadio by WDT is a wonderful app my family and I personally use.

Tornado Watch for North-Central Texas until 10 PM CT

A tornado watch has been issued for North and portions of Central Texas until 10 PM. This watch includes Sherman, D/FW, Stephenville, and Waco. Storms are already firing up across the watch area due to a very weak cap. Unlike most days where we have to wait for the dryline storms today could fire up on old outflow boundaries or randomly where the cap breaks. The strongest storms could become severe with a threat of tornadoes, large hail, and damaging wind gusts.

 

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   TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 124
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   105 PM CDT FRI APR 29 2016

   THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

   * TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF 
     NORTH CENTRAL AND CENTRAL TEXAS

   * EFFECTIVE THIS FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 105 PM UNTIL
     1000 PM CDT.

   * PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
     A FEW TORNADOES LIKELY
     SCATTERED LARGE HAIL LIKELY WITH ISOLATED VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS
       TO 2.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
     SCATTERED DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

   SUMMARY...THUNDERSTORMS ARE BEGINNING TO DEVELOP IN MULTIPLE BANDS
   ACROSS CENTRAL AND N CENTRAL TX.  THE STORM ENVIRONMENT WILL BE
   FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS WITH LARGE HAIL AND POTENTIALLY A FEW
   TORNADOES THIS AFTERNOON...AS WELL AS A FEW DAMAGING GUSTS.  STORM
   COVERAGE WILL INCREASE THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND THE SEVERE WEATHER
   RISK SHOULD CONTINUE INTO THIS EVENING.

   THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 75 STATUTE
   MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 60 MILES NORTH OF DALLAS TEXAS
   TO 10 MILES SOUTH OF TEMPLE TEXAS.  FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF
   THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS
   WOU4).

   PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

   REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
   TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
   AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
   THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
   AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

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