Today is shaping up to be a potentially dangerous one for severe weather in west Texas. The 10:30 am Storm Prediction Center outlook (posted above) is showing a moderate risk for severe storms in red. That is the second highest threat level given for severe weather. This is not common any time of year, but certainly not common this early in the severe weather season. The red areas have the highest risk of strong tornadoes, tennis ball size hail or larger and wind gusts to 70 mph. The orange counties also have a threat of a few tornadoes, half-dollar to ping pong ball size hail and 70 mph wind gusts with any storm. The yellow areas, including Lubbock, have the possibility of seeing a tornado, or two, lime size hail and 60-70 mph wind gusts with any storm this afternoon.
The three photos above are three different forecast models for the time frame 5:00-7:00 pm. They are all in good agreement that, at that point, there will be a line of strong storms forming around Lubbock and moving east. This line will have heavy rain, quarter to half-dollar size hail and 70 mph wind gusts. I am expecting the storms to start forming in the vicinity of Lubbock by 2:00-3:00 pm. These storms will race to the northeast and begin to form that line and move east of the area by 7:00-9:00 pm. The storms will not be as late as we saw them last night, but will be very strong once again.
The greatest threat for the strongest severe storms will be in Briscoe, Hall, Motley and Cottle Counties, then north into the panhandle. However, like we saw Friday, other areas will still see some very strong storms forming this afternoon. The greatest tornado threat will be in the eastern panhandle and into our northeast counties.
The two photos above are model forecasts showing the likely area that will receive the highest tornado threat. Both agree that the vicinity of Amarillo, Pampa, to the eastern panhandle, as well as Briscoe and Hall Counties will be the targeted areas. The HRRR (right photo) is the one I am leaning toward for the targeted tornado areas. These tornadoes will have the potential to cause a lot of damage if they impact a populated area. Those that are included in the yellow and orange areas in the first photo should also prepare for a small probability of a tornado, but the red counties will see the highest risk of seeing several strong tornadoes today.
Please be weather aware this afternoon. There is a potential for a lot of damage and loss of life today. The best thing you can do is be alert and prepared. The best thing to do in a tornado warning is to seek shelter in the lowest level of your home, preferably a basement or storm shelter. Stay away from exterior walls and windows. Go somewhere like a closet, or basement and have blankets with you incase there is debris. Please stay weather aware today. If anything changes to this outlook this afternoon, I will post another update.