A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the eastern Texas Panhandle, Northwest Texas, and adjacent sections of western and southwestern Oklahoma. This watch is in effect through 11 PM this evening. The strongest storms in their initial discrete phase may produce very large hail and localized damaging wind gusts. Low-level wind shear is very weak, but a tornado cannot be completely ruled out. As storms grow upscale into a squall line or a cluster the threat for damaging wind gusts could increase. This uptick in the damaging wind threat is especially true once we get into the evening hours in Northwest Texas and Southwestern Oklahoma.
Our first thunderstorm of the afternoon has developed just north of Memphis in the southeastern Texas Panhandle. Thus far this storm remains below severe limits, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it become a hailer before long. Additional thunderstorms may develop over the next one to two hours. Storms will be moving east/southeast around 20 MPH. There is some uncertainty on how long it’ll take for storms to grow upscale into a cluster or squall line.
Strong to extreme instability values, high cloud bases, and modest amounts of wind shear all support upscale growth into a cluster or squall line. Specifically, storms should be able to produce outflow winds quite efficiently. Once a solidified ‘cool pool’ of stronger thunderstorm winds develops we’ll likely see that upscale storm growth occur. Once a cluster is underway it may tend to turn more east/southeast. That storm movement would put Northwest Texas and western North Texas in the path this evening.
The complex of thunderstorms may make it into North Texas tonight. In all likelihood, the threat for damaging winds and hail would be decreasing. Plenty of lightning, gusty winds, and brief heavy rain would remain possible into the night as the storms move southeast.