An unseasonably strong cold front will plunge south through Texas tomorrow into Saturday. Locations across the western half of Texas will remain capped with no severe storms expected. The same cannot be said farther east. A broken line of thunderstorms will likely develop along the cold front as it pushes south tomorrow evening. Some storms could be severe with damaging straight-line winds and hail.

Severe Weather Outlook

Visit our severe weather outlook page for more outlooks and an explanation of the risk scale. 

A level one risk of severe weather is in place across western North Texas south into Central Texas. Wichita Falls, Stephenville, Burnet, Austin, Columbus, and Houston are included. This zone has a five percent (5%) chance of severe weather occurring within 25 miles of a given point.

A level two risk of severe weather – the standard risk level – includes the eastern two-thirds of North Texas, portions of the Brazos Valley, and portions of Southeast Texas. Sherman, D/FW, Waco, Bryan/College Station, Conroe, Beaumont, and Woodville are included. This zone has a fifteen percent (15%) chance of severe weather occurring within 25 miles of a given point.

A level three risk of severe weather – an enhanced risk – includes Northeast Texas and portions of East Texas. Paris, Winnsboro, Tyler, Jefferson, Marshall, Texarkana, and Nacogdoches are included.  This zone has a thirty percent (30%) chance of severe weather occurring within 25 miles of a given point. This risk is where we may see more numerous reports of hail and damaging wind gusts. 

Hazards

Damaging straight-line wind gusts over 60 MPH and hail up to the size of golfballs are the primary threats. The threat for destructive straight-line winds over 75 MPH and short-lived tornadoes will be possible in any particularly intense line segments in the level three risk. Thunderstorms along the cold front will be most numerous east of Interstate 35 across Northeast Texas.

There is a low chance that one or two isolated storms may develop well ahead of the cold front. Should that scenario unfold the threat for very large hail (over 2″) would exist.

Timing

There is a low chance of an isolated severe storm or two during the late afternoon hours (after 4 PM).

The more likely scenario is we have to wait until the cold front’s arrival for thunderstorm development. The cold front should cross the Red River in Texoma and Northeast Texas between 4 and 6 PM. They have a tendency to move more quickly than expected, so don’t be surprised if those times move up.

At what point we see initiation on the cold front remains uncertain. The simulated radar shown above is from the morning run of the North American Model. This model keeps the most intense storms in extreme East Texas and Lousiana as the cold front moves south. That may end up verifying, but we’ll have to see what data tonight and Thursday morning shows.

Times on the top-left part of the graphic are in Zulu, so I’ll convert. The graphic starts out at 4 PM Friday and progresses forward three hours per frame through 7 AM Saturday.

Summary

A strong cold front will blast south through Texas tomorrow evening into Saturday. Strong northerly winds and a drastic temperature drop are expected behind the front.

The atmosphere will likely remain capped across the western half of Texas. The cap will be weaker along and east of Interstate 35 – where thunderstorms along the cold front will be possible.

Some storms along the front may be severe with damaging winds and hail. The threat of a more widespread damaging wind event may unfold in far East Texas into Lousiana.

Storms will continue to progress south Friday Night into Saturday Morning in the Brazos Valley, East Texas, and Southeast Texas. Some may be strong with high winds and small ahil.