Today has the potential to be an active one in the weather department – but there are several complicating factors with the forecast. At the time of this writing widespread showers and thunderstorms were underway from North Texas south through Central, South, Deep South Texas into the Rio Grande Valley. Elsewhere east of the dryline we have low overcast and some fog. Not only will the ongoing precipitation help keep the atmosphere comparatively stable this morning it will also hinder moisture transport northward and more inland. Some of the storms this morning may be severe with hail and gusty winds, especially in South Texas. So a big factor in today’s forecast will be how quickly we can get the clouds/rain out of the way. If clouds stay in place into the afternoon hours we’ll see the atmosphere get moderately unstable – but not to the extent it would if skies cleared out. Regardless we’re going to have strong wind shear in place this afternoon so the severe weather threat would only be slightly mitigated.
Compared to the forecast I made last night the dryline looks like it’s going to stay further west. That means more of Texas will be included in a severe weather risk this afternoon and evening. At this time the Storm Prediction Center has placed an enhanced risk of severe weather across all of North and Northeast Texas for this afternoon. A slight/possible risk includes the Hill Country, South-Central, Southeast, and East Texas. The enhanced risk area is where coverage of severe thunderstorms is expected to be relatively highest with less widespread severe weather in the slight/possible area. It looks like we may end up dealing with multiple rounds of stronger storms today. The latest high resolution weather models develop individual supercell thunderstorms between 1 and 3 PM very near I-35 in North Texas and quickly move them east. That may or may not happen based on cloud cover/rain this morning. A more likely scenario is that we see storms fire up just east of the dryline this afternoon. Those storms would move across I-35 around 5-7 PM with a severe weather risk. Storms would move east into Northeast/East Texas during the evening hours.
Large hail and damaging straight-line wind gusts are the primary hazards today but there will be a tornado risk with discrete thunderstorms this afternoon. An elevated tornado risk may develop this afternoon and evening if we have discrete supercells interact with any boundaries in Northeast Texas. Likewise if we end up with too much rain/clouds this morning the overall threat for severe weather will lower somewhat – but no where near completely. This is a good day to stay up to date with the latest weather information coming from your National Weather Service office.
West of the dryline there will be strong west/southwest winds with the potential for areas of blowing dirt. Elevated fire danger will also be a concern.
I’ll be out chasing later today – I just don’t know exactly where yet. Depending on where the highest tornado potential sets up I may end up in Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas. Talk about a spread of potential targets!