Severe storms expected Thursday

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 12:22 PM CDT
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It’s been a few weeks since Central Texas has been under the threat of severe storms which is a bit abnormal, but those storm chances will come back Thursday and the entire area is under threat of severe thunderstorms. We could see some peeks of sunshine later today with partly cloudy skies returning for some, but not for all. There is a chance for a stray storm in the afternoon, but most should remain rain and storm free. Highs will reach the upper 70s and low 80s, but some mid-80s are expected near and west of Highway 281 where sunshine is more likely. Today’s gusty south winds, as high as 30 MPH, sets the stage for tomorrow’s storms as humidity pumps into the atmosphere.

Tomorrow’s storm risk comes as a cold front approaches our area during the afternoon hours. Tomorrow’s front won’t actually move through until Friday, but the majority of the energy with this system impacts us Thursday. We’ll start out with morning clouds and could see midday and afternoon sunshine which will help to destabilize the atmosphere. A stray sprinkle is possible at any point in the day but the storm chances won’t start until after 2 PM as the cold front approaches. Widely scattered to numerous thunderstorms bubble up mid-afternoon and will rake across the area through sunset. The strongest storms will contain gusty winds near 65 MPH, up to golf-ball size hail, and potentially even a stray tornado. In addition to the severe weather risk, the moisture rich atmosphere will lead to extremely efficient rainfall producing storms. Storms may contain rainfall rates exceeding an inch an hour. On a very isolated basis, tomorrow’s storms could potentially drop 2″ to 4″. Rainfall totals will likely range between a half-inch and one-inch on average, but there will be spots that receive less rain too. Rain chances Thursday are near 80% with morning lows near 70° warming to near 80°.

Thursday’s storms should clear out of the area by midnight as the cold front stalls and pulls northward as a warm front. Despite tomorrow’s front bringing us storms, the front won’t clear the area until Friday. As it returns around midday, it’ll potentially bring us some scattered rain and non-severe storms, but Thursday’s storms should zap most of the moisture and energy out of the atmosphere so rain chances dip to 40% and most of Thursday’s rain will be near and east of I-35. Morning clouds and humidity with temperatures in the mid-60s will give way to mostly sunny late-day skies as highs only reach the mid-70s behind the front. Friday’s front pushes the humid air and clouds out of our area for Saturday. Sunshine and north winds will combine to drop morning lows into the mid-40s Saturday with highs reaching the low 70s. Forecast model data is suggesting that another storm system will move through the state Sunday. Unlike Thursday’s storm system, Sunday’s storm system will likely just be a good rainfall maker. Rain chances Sunday have climbed to 40% and could go higher as confidence in rain goes up. With clouds and the threat of rain, highs will settle in the mid-60s. Despite Sunday’s rain, next week is shaping up to be one of those soggy April weeks with multiple days of storm chances as multiple small storm systems swing through. As of now, the best chance for rain will be Sunday, likely Monday, and next Wednesday but confidence in rain coverage drops greatly after Tuesday.

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