Today is the 50th anniversary of the massive tornado that struck Lubbock. It ended up causing over $1.66 billion (in 2020 dollars) worth of damage and killed 26 people. There will be a 30 minute special airing on KLBK at 6:30 this evening commemorating this event. The weather will try to get active in west Texas this evening, as well. The yellow area on the map above in highlighted by the Storm Prediction Center has the area likely to see thunderstorms. The higher threat for severe storms will be in eastern New Mexico. However, the storms will move east-southeast into west Texas and try to hold together. The farther they travel on the Texas side of the state line, the more they will weaken. Still, any thunderstorm has the potential to produce 60 mph wind gusts and up to golf ball size hail; especially in the northwest counties.
The timing for the storms will be from 6:00-9:00 pm for Lubbock. The line of storms should be east of Lubbock after 9:00 pm. Obviously that window is earlier if you live closer to the state line. Strong wind is going to be the highest threat, so tree branches and some smaller trees could get blown down. Just keep an eye on things this evening.
I am sure you're used to me mentioning hail sizes in either inches, or compared to solid objects. The picture above shows you the different hail sizes compared to household items. The National Weather Service will issue a severe thunderstorm warning once indicated hail size reaches 1" in diameter. You can see that is quarter size. That is when it will start to cause damage to cars, homes and people. The larger the hail size, the stronger the thunderstorm. The larger hail size also indicates a very strong updraft which continues to push the hail up above the freezing level. Once the hail gets too heavy for the updraft, it will fall to the ground. Today, any thunderstorm will have the potential for 1.75" diameter hail, or golf ball size.
The computer forecast for this evening is showing thunderstorms rolling through Lubbock by 6:00 pm. -The above picture is showing the computer forecast as of 6:45 pm. It is indicating a line of thunderstorms pushing east, with heavy rain, strong wind and likely hail. I look at eight different computer models when making a forecast and several of those are showing basically the same thing. When models agree like that, you tend to lean towards something similar actually taking place. Coverage will not be as high as depicted, but there will be several storms working their way out of New Mexico and moving into west Texas. By 9:00 pm, the storms are forecast to be east of Lubbock; and by midnight just out of our area to the east. If anything changes during the day, I will be sure to keep you updated.