Stormy night in Central Texas with a Tornado Watch until 10 pm
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A stalled frontal boundary in Central Texas paves the way for a strong area of low pressure to blast through our area.
Severe thunderstorm chances are higher today than they were yesterday and the coverage of storms is expected to be fairly widespread.
Strong wind gusts are the main threat today, but very large hail and tornadoes are possible too!
Today’s overall severe weather risk outlook is either at a level 2 or, for most of us, at a level 3 of 5. The overall severe weather risk hasn’t changed, but the potential for a few tornadoes and very large hail has gone up compared to yesterday.
Storms that initially fire up in the afternoon will likely be isolated so the main concern will be hail and potentially a strong tornado, but the isolated storms that congeal into a line around and after sunset will greatly increase the wind gust potential.
Although the main concern is with potentially up to 80 MPH straight-line wind gusts and up to baseball size hail at the largest, the tornado risk is one to take seriously. We may not see tornadoes, but there’s enough instability and wind shear in the atmosphere that a stray strong tornado is possible. The highest tornado risk comes along and north of Highway 84.
Today’s storms may last deep into the night
Unlikely recent severe weather days this year, today’s storm risk is going to be highest close to and after sunset tonight as potentially two rounds of severe storms roll through.
We’ve already addressed the potential for isolated strong storms containing large hail and maybe a tornado, but those isolated storms are expected to start to form around 3 PM and are most likely to form west of I-35. These isolated storms will be moving generally northward so the storms could strengthen locally to become severe but may continue to strengthen even more as they move out.
The main severe weather risk comes from those isolated afternoon storms congealing into a line of storms as a cold front approaches the area. The line of storms could move into our area as early as about 6 PM, but that line of storms is more likely to arrive around 7 PM. The line of storms brings with it the best potential for all types of severe weather, primarily in the form of straight-line wind gusts, but the hail and tornado potential will remain too.
The initial wave of storms should rake across the area through about 10 PM and then exit, but the arrival of the low may cause another round of storms to kick up, especially near I-35, as we approach midnight. The overnight storms may be “weaker” than the early evening storms, but hail, strong wind gusts, and maybe a tornado could be possible with that second round of storms. The second round, which is also the last round of storms, exits the area before daybreak Thursday.
Isolated instances of flooding are possible too
Although today’s storms should move through at a decent pace, the potential for multiple rounds of thunderstorms and the moisture-rich environment they’ll form in could lead to localized flooding.
Widespread rainfall totals through Thursday morning will be between 0.25″ and a 1.5″ with most of us seeing around an inch of rain, but there will be some slower-moving storms that produce heavy rain bumping isolated totals over 2″. Flash flooding isn’t very likely with tonight’s storms, but nuisance flooding is certainly expected and some standing water could be left on roadways by daybreak.
Stay with the KWTX Weather Authority Team as we track more active weather and make-sure-you-monitor storms. A great way to do that from home is with our free, KWTX Weather app. Download here!
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