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Tag Archives: thunderstorms

Complex Forecast with Severe Storms Likely This Afternoon and Evening

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A very complex and messy convective evolution is anticipated today due to a weak cap. Shortly before 9 AM we already had strong thunderstorms moving east across the Texas Panhandle. Some of those storms could become severe with a hail risk through the morning hours. By the early to mid afternoon its anticipated that convective development will occur from Northeast Texas into Central Texas. With little to no cap in place these storms could form pretty much anywhere versus off the dryline. Storm coverage could become widespread which would work to keep one storm from becoming too intense. Nevertheless the strongest storms will likely pose a severe weather risk with the threat of large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. At the same time a dryline will surge east into western North Texas into western Central Texas by the afternoon hours. With a weak cap its likely thunderstorms will fire up east of the dryline by late afternoon. The strongest storms could be severe with a risk of large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. Low-level wind shear is actually pretty favorable for rotating storms today but the ‘messy’ storm evolution lowers my confidence in a more significant severe weather threat at this time. If we see any supercells become established that can dominate their local enviornment they could produce baseball size hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. Storms will continue into Northeast Texas and East Texas overnight with the potential for one to four inches of rain through Saturday. That could cause some flooding issues since soils are saturated and rivers are still full.

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Above is the latest severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. They have an enhanced risk (category 3) placed across Texoma into North Texas and Northeast Texas. A category 2 severe weather risk includes the Texas Panhandle, North Texas, Central Texas, South-Central Texas, the Brazos Valley, East Texas, and portions of Southeast Texas. As stated above the forecast today is very complex – also known as uncertain. The enhanced risk has been placed where confidence is at least medium that there will be several severe weather reports today. That is also where the threat for isolated tornadoes is highest due to a warm front that will enhance low-level wind shear. Large hail is likely with the strongest storms today. If we see any dominant supercells take hold than the threat of very large hail up to the size of baseballs will increase. Localized damaging wind gusts are possible. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out – but that threat could locally be enhanced where the warm front sets up along the Red River if we see supercells this afternoon.

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7:10pm Severe Weather Update

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We continue to monitor the storm situation in the Texas panhandle this evening.  Scattered supercell thunderstorms have developed over the past few hours.  So far, no confirmed reports of tornadoes, but the storm currently northeast of Matador has the best potential we’ve seen so far.  Winds in excess of 70mph and hail up to 2 inches is possible with these storms as they continue to move northeast this evening.  A Tornado Watch remains in effect for the southern Texas panhandle and rolling plains of west central Texas until 11pm.  A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is also in effect for much of the Texas panhandle until 11pm as well.  Not everyone will see severe weather as these storms are widely scattered, but if you’re under one of these supercells, they pack a punch.

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Further south across central Texas, we will be monitoring for scattered storm development later this evening and into the early overnight hours.  The storms across the panhandle will not impact north Texas this evening, but the development anticipated across central Texas later this evening will move up into north Texas overnight into an atmosphere that will become increasingly unstable through the early morning hours.  Large hail will be the main threat overnight mainly north of the I-20 corridor towards the Red River counties.

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Severe Weather Risk Returns This Evening & Especially on Friday

There will be two potential regions of thunderstorm potential through the morning hours Friday. The first region is across the Texas Panhandle, South Plains, and West-Central Texas late this afternoon and early this evening. A surface low pressure taking shape in eastern New Mexico will cause favorable wind shear for organized thunderstorms. At the same time marginal moisture levels will be on the increase across the aforementioned regions throughout the day. The quality of moisture looks limited which will likely keep storms that develop this afternoon high-based. I mention high-based storms because they typically have only a very low risk of producing tornadoes. The overall tornado risk today is very low, fortunately. The primary severe weather threat with the strongest storms this afternoon and early evening will be large hail up to the size of golfballs and localized damaging wind gusts over 65 MPH. As storms move northeast they should begin to weaken by the early evening hours as they move into a more stable environment. That leads us into the second region of potential thunderstorm activity. A warm front will be moving north tonight. As the warm front moves north moisture levels will quickly increase and the atmosphere will become more stable. Lift associated with the warm front will help generate scattered thunderstorms overnight across Northwest Texas, Texoma, and portions of North Texas. Right now the highest chance for a few severe storms with hail will be within 50 to 70 miles of the Red River. The strongest storms will be elevated (rooted above the cap) with a threat of hail up to the size of ping-pong balls. Otherwise storms will produce frequent cloud to ground lightning and brief heavy rain. Don’t be surprised if you get woken up by a boomer overnight if you live in the aforementioned regions.

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Friday is setting up to be a potentially busy severe weather day. The warm front that will be moving north tonight should push north of Interstate 40 in Oklahoma by Friday afternoon. At the same time a dryline will surge east into the Big Country, Northwest Texas, and Western Oklahoma. The surface low in New Mexico today will be located near Amarillo by the afternoon hours tomorrow. Wind shear values will support organized thunderstorms while the atmosphere – assuming we don’t have widespread clouds/rain hold around – should become very unstable. If we have widespread rain continue near/east of the dryline the atmosphere will be less unstable and the threat for significant severe weather will be lower.

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The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted a category 2 severe weather risk for North Texas, Central Texas, South-Central Texas, the Brazos Valley, East Texas, and Northeast Texas. Isolated to widely-spaced supercell thunderstorms may develop after 3 PM just east of the dryline. The strongest storms would become intense with very large hail larger than the size of baseballs, localized damaging wind gusts over 70 MPH, and a threat for isolated tornadoes. Those storms would move east/northeast through the early evening hours. As a cool front overtakes the dryline by early evening more widespread thunderstorm development should occur as the dryline ‘unzips’ from north to south. Another squall line – similar to the one on Tuesday – would move east into the late night and early morning hours on Saturday. That squall line would be capable of producing damaging straight-line winds, hail up to the size of ping-pong balls, and brief tornadoes. There are still uncertainties which is why we’re looking at a broad category 2 risk area. Once confidence increases on where the highest coverage of severe weather will occur there may be upgrades in the risk zone. MayFest also starts up tomorrow and something always seems to happen during that period soooooooooo we’ll be watching it closely.

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Widespread precipitation starting Friday evening through Saturday could bring one to four inches of rain to locations along and east of Interstate 35 from the Red River through the Brazos Valley. Soils remain saturated and some flash flooding is anticipated. If we can get all that rain to fall over a period of a day we shouldn’t see too much flash flooding. If we have all that rain fall in the period of a few hours I do expect flash flood warnings will light up East Texas. Additional river rises are anticipated although the extent of which will depend on how much rain falls upstream. This shouldn’t be a major flood event but after last week we’ll be watching it closely.

 

Quiet weather Tonight through Thursday – Rain/Storm Chances Return Thursday Night

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Quiet weather is expected for the next 24 hours, then mother nature will be kicking things back into gear beginning Thursday night with rain and storms back in the forecast once again.  The next upper level system is currently over central California and will be diving southeast into Arizona and New Mexico by tomorrow.  While much of north Texas down into central Texas has enjoyed less humidity today thanks to drier air filtering in behind last night’s storms, moisture will be on the uptick again beginning tomorrow. Lift from the approaching upper level system will kick off a round of rain and scattered thunderstorms late tomorrow and into tomorrow night from the southeastern Texas panhandle and rolling plains across much of north central Texas along the Red River.  It’s likely that we’ll see storms develop first along the dryline across the southeastern Texas panhandle/rolling plains Thursday evening, with development further east across north Texas during the overnight hours.  The rain and embedded thunderstorms expected across north Texas will be building in from south to north overnight Thursday into Friday and are expected to drop anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch of rain before moving into Oklahoma Friday morning.  Widespread severe weather is not expected; however we do have a chance at see at least a few strong to severe storms with large hail and high winds as the main threats.

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For Friday, another risk of strong to severe storms exists across much of central and north Texas as the upper level low continues to drift east.  We may have scattered rain and storms ongoing early Friday morning across north Texas, but at this time those are expected to move up into Oklahoma in time for the atmosphere to recover by Friday afternoon.  If the atmosphere can recover sufficiently by early Friday afternoon, strong to severe storm development is expected east of the dryline across the eastern Permian Basin, eastern Big Country, central Texas, north Texas and western portions of east Texas.  Ample instability will be in place and any storm that becomes severe will carry the threat of large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes possible.  There is still some uncertainty as to which areas within the Slight Risk will be most impacted by severe storms on Friday, so be sure to check back for updates as this gets closer!

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Last but not least, my personal thoughts on yesterday’s “busted” forecast….

For days leading up to yesterday evening, the various forecast models were spitting out solutions that looked downright scary.  Solutions that we don’t always see each Spring which elevated concerns about a potential tornadic outbreak across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.  The media, like it always does, latched onto that from the beginning and continued to spread the message that something really really bad could happen. And we did have a few bad things happen…namely the three tornadoes that touched down in Grayson county last night (EF-1 in Whitesboro, EF-1 in Howe, and an EF-0 in Bells).  For the residents impacted by that storm, the forecast for dangerous tornadoes verified. For the rest of us, not so much…and now forecasters are under fire for over-hyping the event by getting the forecast all wrong.  In the storm chasing community, we call it the Hype Train…and everyone was onboard, including us.  Why? Because it really could have happened.

There were so many ingredients in place yesterday which made the atmosphere quite volatile…more volatile than we typically see in April.  But, as always, the devil is in the details, and not all those details can be picked up by any of the forecast models until just shortly before or as the event unfolds.  Uncertainty was continually part of the message conveyed by the Storm Prediction Center in their Severe Weather Outlooks for yesterday’s event.  Uncertainty about how far east the dryline would migrate…uncertainty about how far south into Texas the threat would extend given the colossal cap in place early on…and considerable uncertainty existed on how quickly storms would transition from discrete to linear given the lack of low to mid-level directional flow.  So, in one hand you have a forecast that looks like a tornado outbreak is possible, and in the other hand you have a forecast for a raging squall line. The question then becomes how do you warn the public that it could get really bad, but then again it might not.  Do you go with the lesser threat and just cross your fingers that all heck doesn’t break loose?  Or, do you warn the public based on the potential of more significant weather and hope it doesn’t materialize?

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.  That will always be the stance taken by forecasters.  Why? Because a busted forecast doesn’t mean lives or property were lost by getting the forecast wrong.  There is absolutely no 100% accuracy in forecasting…not by anyone.  The mechanisms that produce severe weather are so incredibly complex that nobody will ever be able to achieve 100% accuracy…at least not in our lifetime..and probably not even our grandkids’ lifetimes.  The job of forecasters is to forecast the potential impacts…which sometimes means the worst possible outcome, then prepare their forecast in hopes that people will listen, take action and stay safe.  We will continue to do the same here with our forecasts.

830PM Severe Weather Update; Squall Line organizing as it marches east

At 8:20 PM a line of severe thunderstorms extended from just west of Nocona south along a line to Jacksboro, Palo Pinto, Rising Star, to 15 miles west of Coleman. Additional storms extended from 15 miles south of San Angelo to 10 miles northwest of Eldorado. Most of this activity is moving east at 35 to 40 MPH. We are also watching a small cluster of storms in Denton county moving north into Cooke county – this storm may become a hail threat over the next few minutes. The strongest storms in this line have a history of producing wind damage in Wichita Falls with wind gusts measured up to 70 MPH. The strongest storms will be capable of producing damaging straight line winds over 70 MPH, quarter size hail, and isolated tornadoes as it moves east towards I-35. At present course this line will likely move into the D/FW Metroplex between 10 PM and 12 AM. The line itself may strengthen with an enhancement of straight line winds possible. We’ll watch trends closely since if the line organizes more it could start producing brief tornadoes. Any discrete storms that develop ahead of the squall line could become supercellular with a tornado risk tonight. That isn’t expected to become a widespread/significant issue but its something we’ll have to watch for tonight.

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The 0Z HRRR weather model has the line of storms extending from near Paris to Corsicana to Waco at 2 AM – although I’m not sure it’ll take that long for the storms to impact Central Texas. We also note the HRRR starts to intensify the storms south of San Angelo into a second line/complex as they move towards San Antonio and Austin this evening. Large hail and damaging straight line winds would be possible with this cluster. The line of storms – in a weakened state compared to what will impact North Texas tonight – will be moving into Southeast Texas and the Coastal Plains after 4 AM. Some storms may still be strong.

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