Significant Severe Weather Outbreak

***11:30 am Update- The Storm Prediction Center has shifted the enhanced risk farther east and the moderate risk just to the east as well. Lubbock is still in the enhanced risk (category 3 out of 5) for severe storms this afternoon/evening. That means we still could see golf ball size hail, or larger and isolated tornadoes. The greatest risk for tornadoes is till in the pink counties, from Snyder, to Post, to Crosbyton, and Turkey. Several damaging tornadoes are expected in those areas from 4:00-7:00 pm and again after 10:00 pm. The next update is expected by 3:00 pm. ***

***8:00 am Update- The Storm Prediction Center has moved the moderate risk (level four out of five) farther east, just east of Lubbock. Lubbock has been shifted to the enhanced risk. We could still see golf ball size hail and 70 mph wind, with an isolated tornado. The high risk remains in place for the pink areas. A tornado outbreak is expected in those locations after 4:00 pm. ***

There has been an update to the severe weather outlook in our area for today and it does not look good. A high risk, or risk factor five out of five, has been issued for areas east of Lubbock in pink. This is very rare. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has not issued a high risk anywhere in the United States in two years (May 18, 2017). These locations include Silverton, Floydada, Ralls, Crosbyton, Post, Snyder and east/northeast into southern Oklahoma. Areas in pink need to keep in mind that several dangerous tornadoes are possible, along with softball size hail and 80 mph wind gusts. You need to have a plan NOW to keep you and your families safe.

Locations in red, risk factor four out of five, include Tulia, Plainview, Lubbock, Tahoka and Lamesa. These locations can expect isolated tornadoes, baseball-to-tennis ball size hail and 70 mph wind gusts with any storm that forms. These locations are still in a tough spot, because the moderate risk (four out of five) is also not issued too often by the Storm Prediction Center. The last time it was, we had four tornado reports in Swisher County alone.

Not to be left out, but the orange areas, or enhanced risk (risk factor three out of five) can still see golf ball size hail, 70 mph wind and a tornado. Those locations include Dimmitt, Littlefield, Levelland and Brownfield. Flooding is also going to be an issue where these storms form, because there will be several rounds of storms. You need to remember to be extra cautious around flooded roads and streams.

Ok, now to the timing. The first round of dangerous storms is expected to begin near Lubbock between 3:00-5:00 pm. These storms will quickly become severe and race to the northeast at 40-50 mph. AS they get farther to the east, the tornado threat will increase. These storms will last through 8:00 pm. Another round of severe storms is expected near Lubbock by 11:00 pm. This will form a line and although the tornado threat is lower, you can still see a strong tornado. The major threat with this line will be tennis ball size hail, or larger and 80 mph wind gusts. This line will race east and will exit the eastern counties by 1:00-2:00 am Tuesday.

So DO NOT let your guard down today, including Lubbock! Just because you don't see a storm in the afternoon, does not mean you are in the clear. Have a plan in place today. Remember, when a tornado warning is issued, the safest place to be is in a storm shelter, or basement. If you do not have one of those, go to an interior room, away from windows, like a bathroom, or closet on the lowest level of your home. Put as many walls between you and the exterior as possible. Have pillows and blankets with you in case there is debris. A mobile home is not a safe place to be in the event of a tornado. Those that live in mobile homes need to find a shelter, or a neighbor with a basement. Start thinking of that now, so you will be prepared.

As always, I will have updates on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I will also be on air on KLBK-TV, and when warnings are issued. Please, oh please, be safe out there today!