The severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center has been upgraded as of this morning. The areas in red have the highest potential for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Severe storms are already rolling through portions of central Texas early this afternoon. Although the areas in red have the highest threat for severe storms today, locations in orange and yellow still need to take caution out there today. Below is an explanation of the different threat levels and the hazards anticipated.
You may have noticed on television, or social media, that meteorologists and weather enthusiasts often talk about there being a slight, or moderate risk for severe storms. If you're confused as to what all of this means, it's broken down in simple terms in the photo above. Today, for example, the areas in red have the potential to see several severe storms, with 1-2" diameter hail, 70 mph wind and a few tornadoes. The yellow and orange areas could see 1-2" diameter hail and 60-70 mph wind gusts as well.
The three different forecast models above agree that thunderstorms will happen, generally in the panhandle, South Plains, Rolling Plains and portions of the Red River Counties and Permian Basin. The timing will be after 2:00 pm until midnight. There will also be severe storms possible for the Austin area and I-35 corridor this afternoon. With that said, most of this post will focus on the storms in West Texas and the panhandle, since the highest risk is in those locations.
Be prepared for the potential of tornadoes for the Lubbock and Amarillo areas. There is a 10% risk for tornadoes across the central South Plains, which is actually pretty high. The "normal" risk for tornadoes in a severe weather setup is 2%, for reference. There is a very high risk for large hail, with a diameter of 1-2" which would be quarter, to tennis ball size. The areas in west Texas have the highest probability for that large hail. Central Texas could see quarter, to half dollar size hail with any storm this afternoon.
Please be prepared, especially in West Texas, for these severe storms today and this evening. Have multiple ways to receive warnings. Have items ready in case the power goes out for a prolonged period of time, too.
The severe weather threat for Tuesday will shift to the areas highlighted in yellow in the photo above. This includes Austin, Round Rock, Waco and Bryan/College Station and Dallas/Fort Worth. The threats for any severe storms tomorrow include 1-1.5" hail, 60 mph wind and an isolated tornado can't be ruled out. Please be prepared and stay weather aware tomorrow.
The computer forecast is not showing too much for tomorrow. However, this is only one model and we're still a day away from the event. Regardless, there will be isolated, to scattered thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon. The timing for the storms looks to be from noon until 6:00-7:00 pm. The storms will move across central, south and northeast Texas from west-to-east. If a line of storms forms, strong wind gusts to 70 mph will certainly be possible. But you do need to be on the look out for 1-1.5" hail stones. The tornado threat is low, however it is not 0%. The storms tomorrow will affect a larger number of people, since Austin, Round Rock, Waco, Bryan/College Station and Dallas/Fort Worth are included in this risk.
The outlook for storms on Tuesday will be updated after midnight and I will post an update around lunch time on Tuesday. The outlook for severe storms will be updated around 11:30 am. I will have time to look at the forecast and provide a detailed update for you. Please stay tuned and remember that watches and warnings post automatically to my Facebook and Twitter pages.