Strong storm chances returning Friday

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 5:34 AM CDT
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Impactful weather is set to return to Central Texas Friday afternoon and Friday night as strong storms move through, but let’s give it up for the returning sunshine. It has felt like weeks since we’ve had full sunshine across Central Texas and it FINALLY returns today. Of course, we’ll have to pay back that sunshine “debt” with severe storm chances on Friday, so enjoy today’s weather with morning lows in the low 60s and afternoon highs warming into the mid-80s. We could see some morning clouds, but the sunshine won’t be in short supply for the midday and afternoon hours. Tomorrow’s weather will be about the same as today with morning lows near 60° warming into the mid-80s in the afternoon with full sunshine again. A small bump up in humidity Thursday may make it feel like the low 90s out there, but the biggest jump in humidity will come Friday.

As a cold front approaches and eventually surges through Central Texas Friday into Saturday, the returning humidity will be tapped into and joined by hot temperatures to give us a severe storm risk. Morning lows Friday in the mid-60s will warm into the upper 80s in the afternoon with heat index values climbing into the mid-90s. Although Friday’s front should stay north of I-20 by 4 PM, isolated pop-up storms could form near and west of I-35 mid-afternoon and linger later into the day. At the same time, the front will be approaching from the north and will keep the atmosphere unsettled. The afternoon round of storms should zap some energy out of the atmosphere ahead of the approaching front, but the front should continue to kick up scattered showers and storms as it moves through overnight. By daybreak Saturday, the front should be completely clear of our area. The scattered showers and storms could be a bit rambunctious too. Storms forming ahead of the front likely contains large hail, strong wind gusts, and maybe a stray tornado. The front itself also carries a wind gust and hail risk with a lower tornado potential. Heavy rain is possible with any of the thunderstorms that could produce over an inch of rain, but most should see less than a quarter-inch of rain.

After Friday’s front clears Saturday morning, we’ll still be stuck with mostly cloudy skies but north winds will send high temperatures into the upper 70s and low 80s. Morning lows will also drop back into the low 60s. Even though this cold front will swing through the entire area, it’s not like cold fronts we see early in the year; instead of wiping all the humidity out across the state, the front will push some of the humidity away for parts of the state. There still may be enough moisture lingering around the state to kick up showers and storms Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and evening into early next week, but most of this rain should stay out of our area. Without an organized storm system to kick up the storms, confidence in storm coverage and timing next week is low and will increase over the coming days.

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