A complex forecast is making for a few headaches this morning. Let me start off by saying there remains uncertainty on how today will evolve. For that reason I encourage you to check back for updates throughout the day. As usual we’ll have a major presence on social media and here on the weather blog. Multiple rounds of thunderstorms could occur today with the first as soon as a few hours from now. A second round of storms is forecast for late afternoon. Before we dive into specifics lets go over the current severe weather outlook.
We now have an enhanced (category 3) risk of severe weather for today. This enhanced risk includes portions of North Texas, Northeast Texas, and East Texas from Lufkin and points north. A category 2 risk runs along and east of Highway 281 from Wichita Falls to Mineral Wells southeast to Temple, to College Station. Folks tend to get hung up on where the brightest colors/biggest risk areas are. At this close juncture to the event it doesn’t really matter as much. Thunderstorms certainly don’t care where the enhanced risk starts or ends. I do expect the highest number of severe weather reports to be across North Texas and Northeast Texas today. As previously stated we are expecting at least two rounds of thunderstorms today. The first round could start to form as soon as mid-morning. Those showers and thunderstorms could form from the D/FW Metroplex into Northeast Texas. Initally they would be elevated above the cap with perhaps a few large hail reports. It isn’t out of the question that they become surface-based towards lunchtime in Northeast Texas. If those storms do become surface-based we would become more concerned about a damaging wind and tornado threat. Depending on how fast the storms clear out of North Texas will determine the extent of the severe weather risk later this afternoon and evening. A dryline should set up near Highway 281 by late afternoon. Conditions west of the dryline will be very warm with low humidity and critical fire danger. East of the dryline is where we’ll have to watch for another round of severe storms. If we can get clouds/rain to clear out by early-afternoon then we’ll definitely have the potential for a couple supercells by late afternoon. Any storm that fires up this afternoon off the dryline could rapidly become severe. These storms would have the potential of producing very large hail up to the size of baseballs. Localized damaging winds and a low-end tornado threat may also exist. They would progress to the east and potentially impact the D/FW Metroplex by late afternoon/early evening – depending on where the dryline sets up and what time the storms form.
Weather models are really struggling to get a grip on what will evolve later today. That itself indicates how complex today’s forecast is and why it is important to check back for updates. Don’t be surprised if things change by this afternoon as factors become more clear. A high-resolution weather model run by Texas Tech may have a grasp on what may evolve today.
By late-morning the TTU-WRF has an area of showers and thunderstorms underway across Northeast Texas to the east side of the D/FW Metroplex. A couple storms may be severe with hail up to the size of ping-pong balls in Northeast Texas. Notice this activity is a good 75-100 miles east of the dryline which you can faintly make out by the weak echos towards Highway 281 in western North Texas.
The same model breaks out a couple supercells by 4-5 PM in western North Texas. These storms would be severe with a risk of very large hail, damaging winds, and perhaps a tornado ro two. We also note that thunderstorms are underway in East/Northeast Texas where low-level wind fields would promote a severe weather threat. Don’t get too locked in on exactly where this model has any thunderstorm’s placed – its only a simulation. I definitely do see the potential for a few severe storms to fire up west of D/FW towards Highway 281 by late afternoon. Those storms would progress east/northeast towards I-35 by the late afternoon/early evening hours as supercells with very large hail, damaging winds, and at least a low-end tornado threat. They may move into the D/FW Metroplex by early evening.