Temps are expected to be quite nice and warm for the next couple of days until a strong cold front moves through the state late Wednesday and Thursday. No worries…we won’t get down to freezing…but we will cool off and dry out for the remainder of the work week…and next weekend looks FAB-U-LOUS with NO RAIN expected and temps warming back up again! But, before then, we have a few chances for spring storms to talk about, along with a large upper-level trough of low pressure draped across the western US, and embedded in its flow will be a couple of smaller disturbances which will arrive Tuesday afternoon and then Wednesday afternoon.
Tuesday’s disturbance looks to be a bit too far north to bring Texas much chance for seeing severe thunderstorm development. But, a weak quasi-frontal boundary is expected to set up across north central Texas which could provide just enough of a kick to get a storm or two going. We will have ample atmospheric instability, but the capping inversion (a layer of warm air at roughly 5,000 ft.) over us tomorrow afternoon will be pretty strong and should inhibit storm development. However, if something is able to kick off, it could rapidly intensify and bring the threat for hail and damaging winds. The Storm Prediction Center has outlined north central Texas under a Marginal Risk tomorrow afternoon which basically means storms are not very likely, but it’s not completely out of the question. Just keep an eye to the sky tomorrow afternoon if you have any outdoor plans.
Wednesday, a second bit of energy arrives pushing further south and into the Texas panhandle by Wednesday afternoon. At the same time, a cold front will be pushing south through Oklahoma. The atmosphere will once again have plenty of instability to work with. The disturbance, being further south than Tuesday’s, will add to the forcing available for storm development, especially across parts of southwestern Oklahoma. Once again, we’ll have to deal with a capping inversion overhead which will keep storm development more isolated across northwest and north central Texas. Right now, it’s a bit unclear if anything at all will develop across northwest and north central Texas as most forecast models are keeping the bulk of the storm development across Oklahoma. Still, given the moderate instability and decent wind shear (winds changing direction with height), anything that does develop will rapidly become severe with threats for damaging winds, hail and possibly an isolated tornado. Regardless of severe storm development Wednesday afternoon, once the front approaches north Texas later that evening and overnight, thunderstorms will still be likely although their severity will be diminished. I’m sure we’ll have more updates on these two systems tonight and tomorrow so be sure to check back!
Last but not least…it’s quite evident that we’re now at the beginning of this year’s Spring and early Summer storm season, it’s a good time to remind everyone to review their family’s severe weather and tornado safety plan and make sure everyone knows what to do when the time comes. Having a plan is key to you and your family’s survival should a tornado strike. The Storm Prediction Center has some great information that will help you decide what you need to do and what instructions you need to give your family at the following link: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html
Having a way to receive severe weather and tornado warnings is also key…especially if you’re away from the TV or radio. There are dozens of free weather radio alert apps out there today for iOS and Android smartphones. The most important feature to look for with any weather radio app is the ability to track where you’re at and issue alerts based on your GPS location. I use Weather Radio by WDT (formerly iMap Weather Radio) and love it. It’s $4.99, but there’s also some out there that are free. Use what works best for you and make sure your kids with smartphones also have it downloaded and set up.