There’s actually quite a bit to talk about, so we’ll break the blog up into topics with the first item being snow/rain chances for the panhandles tonight and the chance for a few showers and storms along the cold front later tonight from around Dallas eastward. Light rain is showing up across the central and eastern panhandle and far northwest Texas and is expected to continue over the next several hours before moving into western and southwestern Oklahoma. As the upper level low we’ve been talking about for the past couple of days begins to lift off to the northeast overnight, there is a chance for light wintry precipitation across the OK and northern Texas panhandles through early tomorrow morning as a secondary (Canadian) cold front arrives behind the current Pacific front. Rain/snow amounts are expected to be very light across the northern panhandle tonight and into tomorrow with no significant travel impacts expected except for the far western corner of the OK Panhandle. For the eastern half of the state, we expect to see a small line of showers develop along the leading edge of the Pacific front as it heads closer to the I-35 corridor and interacts with better moisture. Best timing for the line to begin developing would be between 9pm and Midnight near the I-35 corridor, then continue east overnight into Tuesday morning as scattered showers. Storms that have recently developed just west of Wichita Falls will continue heading northeast this evening will continue heading northeast into Oklahoma with gusty winds and some small hail possible. No severe weather is expected otherwise, but don’t be too surprised if you hear a clap or two of thunder before sunrise tomorrow.
Next topic for discussion will be the chance for dense fog tomorrow along the upper coast and inland counties across southeast Texas by tomorrow morning. The NWS office in Houston/Galveston has issued a Dense Fog Advisory for the coastal counties between Matagorda Bay and Sabine in effect through 6am tomorrow. This should clear out from west to east early tomorrow as the cold front arrives, but until then, it will be pretty soupy with decreasing visibilities for those right along the coast. Check driving conditions before you leave for work or school tomorrow and allow extra time for your commute if it’s looking like pea soup outside when you leave.
As for the cold fronts…yes, there’s actually two fronts…a north/south oriented Pacific front which was the driving force behind the wall of dust which traversed west central Texas earlier this afternoon. This front will continue its eastward progression overnight into tomorrow, but will not have too much of an impact on temperatures for us tonight. Its greatest impact will be the gusty west winds it brings with it. Gusts this afternoon across west Texas have reached greater than 50mph across a large swath of the region…with some locations exceeding 60mph. Thankfully, these gusty winds will temper a bit overnight and not be quite that strong as the front passes through central Texas and into east Texas buy tomorrow morning. It will be the Canadian front that arrives tomorrow, after the Pacific front, which will have the greatest impact on surface temps for the next couple of days. Lows tonight will drop down into the mid to upper 20s across the western panhandle and portions of far west Texas. For the eastern panhandle, eastern Trans Pecos and Permian Basin region, we’ll be looking at lows just above freezing overnight. For north central down into central and southwest Texas, lows tonight will drop into the mid to the 40s. Ahead of the front overnight, we’ll see some balmy 60 degree readings.
Highs tomorrow, chilly across the northern half of the state, but still quite warm across the southern half with highs once again reaching the 70s and even some low 80s across deep south Texas before the cooler and drier Canadian air has a chance to filter south. After that, a surface high builds in across the state and remains in place for several days keeping us cool and a bit below seasonal averages through the rest of the work week. Looks like we remain quite dry as well with our next chance for rain not showing up until the weekend. More on that in our forecast blogs tomorrow!
December 26-27, 215 Tornado Outbreak Damage Survey Information
A deadly outbreak of tornadoes struck North Texas the day after Christmas on December 26, 2015. A total of ten tornadoes impacted North Texas during the afternoon and evening hours. Some tornadoes became large and significant in northern Ellis and Dallas counties. The tornado that struck Garland produced EF-4 damage – the first EF4 or stronger tornado ever recorded in December in Texas. This outbreak unfortunately also became the deadliest December tornado outbreak in Texas history. Several victims were killed when the Garland tornado crossed Interstate 30. Two additional tornadoes occurred during the afternoon hours of December 27 in Northeast Texas. A strong tornado occurred just north of Marshall in Northeast Texas. We’ve compiled the damage surveys and associated track maps to this page. As further information becomes available we’ll update this post. Our prayers go out to those impacted by this event.
Click any image for a full-resolution version.
December 26, 2015 Tornadoes
Public Information Statement…Updated National Weather Service Fort Worth Tx 605 Pm Cst Tue Dec 29 2015
…Nws Damage Survey For December 26Th Tornado Event…
Update…Information Statement Has Been Updated To Reflect An Additional Damage Path That Was Discovered By A Team Of Nws Fort Worth Meteorologists Across North Central Collin County. This Damage Path… Located Near The Community Of Farmersville…Was Initially Thought To Be Associated With The Same Tornado That Struck Copeville. However…Eyewitness Accounts And Evidence From Radar Suggest That This Is Indeed Separate Damage And Is With That Of Ef-1 Intensity.
In Addition…More Intense Damage Was Found Along The Damage Path Of The Blue Ridge Tornado Consistent With Ef-1 Damage And Thus The Rating Of This Tornado Has Been Upgraded To That Of An Ef-1.
Overview…Several Tornadoes Were Observed During The Afternoon And Evening Of Saturday December 26Th. The Strongest Tornado Produced Ef4 Damage In The City Of Garland…As Well As Ef3 Damage In The City Of Rowlett. This Tornado Produced A Continuous Path Of Damage For Approximately 13 Miles In Dallas And Rockwall Counties. The Tornado Caused 8 Fatalities Most Of Which Near The Intersection Of Interstate 30 And The President George Bush Turnpike. Two Tornadoes Were Confirmed In Collin County…Near Copeville…Where Ef2 Damage Was Observed By Nws Survey Crews. Tornado Damage Was Also Observed Near Blue Ridge…Where Ef1 Damage Was Observed. Two Fatalities Have Been Reported In Copeville…And One Fatality Was Reported In Blue Ridge.
In Total…There Are Now Ten Confirmed Tornadoes And 11 Fatalities During The Afternoon And Evening Of The 26Th.
Start Date: Dec 26 2015 Start Time: 601 Pm Cst Start Location: 5 E Midlothian / Ellis / Texas
End Date: Dec 26 2015 End Time: 613 Pm Cst End Location: Glenn Heights / Dallas / Texas
Survey_Summary: This Tornado Produced A Long And Narrow Damage Path From Just Northeast Of The Mid-Way Regional Airport Near Midlothian To The Border Of Desoto And Glenn Heights. There Were Several Homes With Damage To Roofs…With Several Homes Suffering Wall Failure Damage. Additionally…Two Churches And One Elementary School Suffered Extensive Damage.
Long-track tornado that began in Sunnyvale and moved through Garland and Rowlett
These images begin from the south as the tornado begins. Images and the damage track move north as the tornado progresses into Garland and Rowlett.
Start Date: Dec 27 2015 Start Time: 439 Pm Cst Start Location: 6.6 Miles North Northeast Of Marshall Start Lat/Lon: 32.6228 / -94.3216
End Date: Dec 27 2015 End Time: 451 Pm Cst End Location: 5 Miles South Southeast Of Jefferson End_Lat/Lon: 32.7299 / -94.2801
Survey_Summary: The Tornado Snapped And Uprooted Trees Along Suburban Acres Road…And Then Moved North Where It Caused Damage To Several Homes And Outbuildings Along Fm 1793. Two Mobile Homes Were Completely Destroyed Along Fm 1793. Several More Homes And Outbuildings Were Damaged Along Blackjack Road And Pope City Road As The Tornado Continued North. The Tornado Lifted Along Fm 134 Just Before Reaching The Little Cypress Bayou.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has published a preliminary finding on their storm surveys from today. Due to the number of possible tornadoes and the overall scope of the event it’ll take a couple more days to survey all damage areas. The strongest tornado struck Garland and was rated an EF-4. This was the first EF-4 tornado in Dallas county since the Lancaster tornado back in 1994. That was the first EF-4 tornado in the month of December to ever impact Texas. Finally this was the first EF-4 tornado to strike the United States in December since December 16, 2000.It goes without saying yesterday’s event was historic. The Garland tornado continued into Rowlett and eventually Collin County. Another significant tornado struck northern Ellis county and southern Dallas county. Other tornadoes impacted more towns and will be surveyed in Monday. A total of eleven individuals were killed with dozens injured. Hundreds of structures were destroyed and many lives were changed forever. Once the surveys are complete I’ll compile a post with specific survey graphics for each tornado. Since the results are still preliminary I’ll leave you with the report text.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX 755 PM CST SUN DEC 27 2015
…NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR DECEMBER 26TH TORNADO EVENT…
.OVERVIEW…SEVERAL TORNADOES WERE OBSERVED DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING OF SATURDAY DECEMBER 26TH. THE STRONGEST TORNADO PRODUCED EF4 DAMAGE IN THE CITY OF GARLAND…AS WELL AS EF3 DAMAGE IN THE CITY OF ROWLETT. THIS TORNADO PRODUCED A CONTINUOUS PATH OF DAMAGE FOR APPROXIMATELY 13 MILES IN DALLAS AND ROCKWALL COUNTIES. THE TORNADO CAUSED 8 FATALITIES MOST OF WHICH NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF INTERSTATE 30 AND THE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH TURNPIKE. TWO TORNADOES WERE CONFIRMED IN COLLIN COUNTY…NEAR COPEVILLE…WHERE EF2 DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED BY NWS SURVEY CREWS. TORNADO DAMAGE WAS ALSO OBSERVED NEAR BLUE RIDGE…WHERE EF0 DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED. TWO FATALITIES HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN COPEVILLE…AND ONE FATALITY WAS REPORTED IN BLUE RIDGE.
IN TOTAL…THERE HAVE BEEN NINE CONFIRMED TORNADOES AND 11 FATALITIES DURING THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING OF THE 26TH. NOT ALL OF THE TORNADO DAMAGE HAS BEEN SURVEYED AND ADDITIONAL SURVEYS ARE PLANNED FOR MONDAY. ALL TIMES LISTED ARE APPROXIMATE AND WILL BE FURTHER REFINED. AS OF SUNDAY NIGHT…THESE ARE THE CONFIRMED TORNADOES FROM THE 26TH. THIS NUMBER MAY GO UP WITH FURTHER SURVEYS.
6:30pm UPDATE: The circulation has diminished, but this storm could recycle again as it heads north and closer to downtown Dallas. The storm on its present course should clip the areas just to the southeast and east of downtown. Residents in the path of this storm are encouraged to seek shelter now.
Significant threat of a large tornado entering southern Dallas county and approaching the DeSoto area. This is a confirmed large and dangerous tornado and residents in DeSoto, Red Oak, Lancaster and Hutchins need to be seeing shelter now. This tornado is heading North/Northeast at approx 40mph.
ELLIS TX-DALLAS TX-
614 PM CST SAT DEC 26 2015
...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 645 PM CST FOR NORTH
CENTRAL ELLIS AND CENTRAL DALLAS COUNTIES...
AT 612 PM CST...A CONFIRMED LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO WAS
LOCATED OVER DESOTO...MOVING NORTH AT 40 MPH.
THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION.
SOURCE...WEATHER SPOTTERS CONFIRMED TORNADO.
IMPACT...YOU ARE IN A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. FLYING DEBRIS MAY
BE DEADLY TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT SHELTER. MOBILE HOMES
WILL BE DESTROYED. CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO
HOMES...BUSINESSES AND VEHICLES IS LIKELY AND COMPLETE
DESTRUCTION IS POSSIBLE. THIS DESTRUCTIVE TORNADO IS MOVING INTO
DESOTO AND LANCASTER. IF YOU ARE NEAR THIS STORM...TAKE COVER
IMMEDIATELY TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE!
THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
WILMER AROUND 620 PM CST.
HUTCHINS AND COCKRELL HILL AROUND 625 PM CST.
BALCH SPRINGS AROUND 635 PM CST.
UNIVERSITY PARK AND HIGHLAND PARK AROUND 640 PM CST.
GARLAND AND MESQUITE AROUND 645 PM CST.
THIS INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING INTERSTATES...
INTERSTATE 35E BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 410 AND 436.
INTERSTATE 20 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 457 AND 477.
INTERSTATE 30 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 34 AND 63.
INTERSTATE 45 BETWEEN MILE MARKERS 272 AND 284.
TO REPEAT...A LARGE...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY
TORNADO IS ON THE GROUND. TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE...TAKE COVER NOW! MOVE
TO A BASEMENT OR AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY
BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF YOU ARE OUTDOORS OR IN A VEHICLE...MOVE
TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING
LAT...LON 3252 9675 3252 9690 3255 9697 3287 9703
TIME...MOT...LOC 0012Z 202DEG 35KT 3258 9685
TORNADO DAMAGE THREAT...CONSIDERABLE
Significant Winter Storm Likely This Weekend – Panhandle/Western TX
Forecast confidence is increasing that the Texas panhandle and parts of the south plains and far western Texas will be impacted by a significant winter storm beginning Saturday afternoon and lasting through early Monday. By early Saturday, a strong upper level system will be approaching from the west, becoming cut off and lingering in close proximity to western Texas a good 48 hours before ejecting off to the northeast. A strong cold front will also arrive early Saturday and quickly drop temperatures across much of the panhandle down to freezing by Saturday afternoon. Wintry precipitation is expected to begin by Saturday afternoon or evening, increasing in intensity by early Sunday with periods of heavy snow continuing into early Monday. Blizzard conditions are also likely with strong north winds behind the cold front. Exact details have not been nailed down yet, and likely won’t be until we get closer to the weekend, but folks with travel plans across this region will need to begin making alternate plans now with the expectation of several days of travel disruption across the area.
I know the next question will be…”Will this make it to Dallas or Ft. Worth???” The answer right now is no…not likely. While north central Texas will see abundant rainfall across the region this weekend (and we’ll address that in a different blog) most of the forecast models are keeping this winter system off to the northwest with no impacts for the DFW metro area. We will continue to watch for any changes in the track or strength of the system in case any of that changes.
Snowfall accumulations across the panhandle may reach or exceed 6 inches, with some pockets of 12+ inches also possible. Both of our long-range forecast models showing a greater amount of consistency than we were seeing a few days ago which is why the forecast confidence in this significant winter storm is increasing…and concerning. Blowing snow is pretty much a given which will pile it up in some places more than others, so we’ll likely see quite a varied amount of snowfall reports across the region before it’s all said and done. In addition to blowing snow, residents across the region will also experience some pretty brutal wind chills on Sunday…likely down into the single digits…with strong north winds expected behind the front. Again, if you had planned on travel across this region this weekend, it would be best to pick a different route to your ultimate destination.