First Severe Weather Threat of 2021

It's March and even though it's still winter for eight more days, severe weather season has arrived. The yellow counties in the photo above have the potential to see a few, isolated, severe storms tonight. The threat is a bit conditional on cloud cover. Where the clouds linger through the afternoon and evening, the threat there will be much less than where we will see breaks in the clouds. Those breaks will present sunshine, the sun will help to create more instability, which will give way to the thunderstorms.

Not everyone in every yellow county highlighted will see severe storms, as they will remain generally isolated. However, if you live in the yellow counties, stay weather aware tonight as large hail and strong wind will be possible with any storm that gets its act together. Flooding will be less of a concern because the storms will be moving quickly. But at least some of us will actually be receiving some rain with the storms tonight.

Above are three different computer forecasts for tonight. Two of them are showing just a few isolated storms, moving quickly to the northeast. The first one, top left, is the high resolution model which shows more of a line of storms. The window for the storms looks to be between 7:00 pm and midnight. However, if there are more breaks in the clouds, giving way to sunshine, the storms will initiate earlier; likely around 3:00 pm. Those spots who see the sunshine this afternoon, even for a short amount of time, will have a higher probability of seeing a severe storm, or two.

The main threats for these storms tonight will be ping pong ball size hail and 60 mph wind gusts. There is a small tornado threat, which looks to be around Childress, Hall and Cottle Counties, then into southwest Oklahoma. The areas that see the clouds sticking around all afternoon will see less of a shot of seeing any thunderstorms. The storms will move quickly to the northeast just after midnight. There will be scattered storms possible Saturday afternoon well east of Lubbock. Those storms could have 60 mph wind and quarter size hail. They will quickly move east Saturday afternoon.

Lubbock is looking to stay dry Saturday, but a scattered storm before sunrise can't be ruled out. The main issue on Saturday afternoon and Sunday will be dry air and gusty wind. So the fire concern will be elevated for this weekend. There will be more blowing dust and dirt around west Texas on Sunday afternoon, with wind gusts to 45 mph in the forecast.