My apologies for the lack of blog content yesterday. A majority of the team was chasing and it’s rather difficult to blog while driving. Remember – we are storm chasers. Sometimes that’ll take precedence over writing blog posts. We’re always looking for ways to improve, so shoot us a note if you have any thoughts.
The severe weather threat for Texas has mostly come to an end. There may be a few storms in Northeast Texas at the time this post is published. Those will exit the state to the east quickly as a front pushes into Lousiana. A significant severe weather threat is expected across Tennesee, eastern Mississippi, Alabama, and portions of Georgia this afternoon and evening. With the exception of hailers, we dodged the tornado bullet yesterday.
Another day of wildfire concerns
Focus once again shifts solely back to the wildfire threat. Multiple wildfires broke out across the Texas Panhandle and West Texas yesterday. Several occurred near Amarillo with at least one near Lubbock. Fast action from local fire departments along with pre-staged state resources kept most of these fires from directly impacting structures. Those crews – and all emergency responders across Texas – deserve our continued gratitude.
The highest wildfire threat from a meteorological perspective today will be across the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, Edwards Plateau, and Southwest Texas. This risk has expanded farther east. Elevated to near-critical fire weather concerns include West Texas, the Big Country, Central Texas, and South Texas. These outlooks are drawn based on several criteria including surface temperatures, relative humidity values, and expected wind conditions.
A different outlook issued by the Texas Forest Service might be a bit more representative of the actual fire danger. These outlooks use a variety of factors but aren’t strictly confined to set meteorological conditions. That is quite helpful during periods of extreme drought conditions. Very high to extreme fire danger is forecast across the western half of Texas. Simply put: any fires that develop have a substantial potential to rapidly spread.
Strong winds out of the northwest will be common this afternoon. These strong winds will occur thanks to a frontal passage and an area of low pressure over Tennessee by this afternoon. Relative humidity values will drop into the single digits across the Borderland, Permian Basin, eastward towards the Edwards Plateau.
Humidity values will be comparatively higher with 20-30% values across West Texas, the Big Country, Northwest Texas, and North Texas. However – northwest winds gusting over 35 MPH will create a very high fire danger. The ongoing drought has delayed the spring green-up in some of these locations. Cured fuels combined with the strong northwest winds will allow for rapid fire spread.
Fire weather conditions will moderate some on Tuesday. Relative humidity values should be in the 20-40% range thanks to cooler temperatures. North/northwesterly winds will continue but should be much lighter than today. The highest Wind speeds will be east of Interstate 35 in East Texas. The threat of wildfires across East and Southeast Texas is quite low thanks to recent rains and the spring green-up. If future data looks drier or windier the threat of elevated to near-critical fire weather concerns would return on Tuesday to the western half of Texas.
Another upper-level storm system may arrive around Friday. This system could bring another round of significant wildfire concerns to parts of the state as we head into the weekend. On the other side of the spectrum – more storms may occur across the eastern half of the state.