Tag Archives: east texas

Updated Drought Monitor for Texas

With all the active weather the past couple of weeks I haven’t had the time to sit down and post a detailed drought update. That in itself is good news because that means we’ve had several rounds of precipitation events over the past couple of weeks including in areas that need rain. There has not been much change this week in drought designations across Texas. There has been a small drop in those under severe, extreme, and exceptional drought categories. That means some areas have been upgraded (say from D4 to D3, D3 to D2, D2 to D1) which is the result of rain over the past week. As a whole though nearly ninety percent of Texas is in drought conditions which is a increase from just below eight nine percent last week. East Texas remains in the best shape with little to no drought outlined. Northwest Texas and the northern Texas Panhandle continue to remain in the exceptional drought category. Nevertheless this graphic looks better than it did a month ago. The good news is we continue to head towards an El Neno (possibly a strong one) which typically results in above-average precipitation across Texas. The problem is we may not end up in that more rainy pattern until the fall/winter months. Still we continue to see signs of rain during the next week. While it won’t break the drought it certainly is better to get a little rain verses none at all.

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You’ll notice in graphic below that much of Texas has shown an improvement in drought categories over the past month while the Rio Grande Valley and the El Paso region have shown increasing drought conditions. The good news is we’ll see the monsoon season pick up over the next month which should help the El Paso area a bit. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some rain down into the Rio Grande Valley as well. We’re still in a historic drought across Texas but compared to the last three years we’ve been lucky with the rain over the past month. Here’s hoping the luck continues into the end of June!

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Here is a discussion to go along with the above graphics from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Despite temperatures in the 90s, rainfall during the week was sufficient to warrant some modest reductions in drought from northern and central Oklahoma southward into central Texas, while hot, mostly dry conditions in western and northeastern portions of Texas led to small increases in drought intensity. Showers and thunderstorms dropped 1 to locally more than 2 inches of rain across much of central and northeastern Oklahoma, which – while not nearly enough to warrant widespread drought reduction or removal – were enough to improve pastures and summer crop prospects. In Texas, similar amounts of rainfall were reported from Lubbock southeast toward Waco and southward into Austin and San Antonio. Consequently, reductions in drought intensity were made in areas where the heaviest rain fell, although long-term impacts continue (i.e. reservoir storage and ground water supplies) despite recent 60-day surpluses. Rain largely bypassed the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, where 90-day rainfall averaged 35 to 55 percent of normal at the end of the period; Severe (D2) to Extreme (D3) drought was increased to reflect the deteriorating conditions. Likewise, temperatures approaching or exceeding 100°F (locally as high as 108°F) in Texas’ Trans-Pecos region coupled with 6-month deficits approaching or exceeding 3 inches (locally less than 20 percent of normal) led to increases in Moderate Drought (D1) in western-most portions of the state.

4 PM Temperature Roundup

Several locations are very near or have hit record high temperatures this afternoon as an early-season heat takes over parts of Texas. Those east of Interstate 35 across East Texas are only dealing with temperatures in the 80s to around 90 degrees. While warm that is cool compared to what’s going on in Northwest Texas.

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As of 4 PM Vernon has hit 100 degrees with surrounding areas not far behind. Wichita Falls has already set a new record high and are sitting at 98°F with Amarillo at 94°F and Lubbock at 95°F. Childress is at 99°F with D/FW International Airport at 94°F. Pecos is at 95°F, San Antonio at 92°F, Houston at 86°F, and Longview at 88°F.

With several hours of daylight left temperatures will likely climb a few more degrees so I expect more triple digit readings by 5 PM. We’ll have a complete list of new or tied record high temperatures later this evening once we’ve set the high temperatures for the day. This should be the warmest day but temperatures will remain hot for the early work week.

Severe Storms Northeast of Texas Later Today

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The new severe weather outbreak from the Storm Prediction Center was released shortly before 1 AM. They have removed all of Texas from the severe weather risk zone for today based on the expectation that the cap will prevent much thunderstorm development south of the Red River today. Combined with the cap will be weaker wind shear and upper level forcing since the main energy with the storm system will be passing north of Texas. The result will be only low chances of thunderstorm development across East Texas this afternoon. North of the Red River across eastern Oklahoma, the northwest half of Arkansas, and much of Missouri the story will be different since the upper level forcing will be stronger and the cap will be eliminated. A line of thunderstorms should develop across those areas later today and into tonight with a risk of large hail, strong straight-line winds, and perhaps even one or two tornadoes. Overall the severe weather threat isn’t overly impressive but the atmosphere will be quite unstable. Even in Texas the atmosphere will be unstable and supportive of severe thunderstorms, but it looks like the cap will win out this time.

I can’t rule out one or two thunderstorms breaking the cap in Northeast and East Texas this afternoon. Any storm that does manage to develop could become quite strong with a large hail and damaging wind threat. Our severe weather threat increases on Friday as a cool front (really just a boundary with drier air north/west of it) moves into East and Southeast Texas where the atmosphere will be very unstable. The boundary should be able to lift the cap and cause thunderstorm develop by early Friday afternoon with a risk of very large hail and damaging winds. Here is the severe weather outlook for Friday. We’ll be keeping a close eye on data pertaining to both today and Friday and will definitely have the latest on Friday’s setup throughout the day. While low level wind shear is going to be marginal tomorrow (keeping the tornado threat low, but not zero), the atmosphere is going to be very supportive of large hail. Here’s the risk zone for Friday as of the latest outlook released moments ago from SPC.

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Severe Thunderstorm Watch for East Texas

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued until 8 PM for extreme East Texas. Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, Shelby, Houston, Newton, Sabine, Trinity, Jasper, Panola, San Augustine, and Tyler counties are included. The strongest storms will be capable of producing straight-line or microburst winds in excess of 60 MPH along with small hail. While a brief tornado cannot be ruled out the setup does not favor tornado activity.

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A broken line of thunderstorms currently extend from Marshall southwest to Mount Enterprise, Grapeland, Madisonville, to College Station. A few additional storms are currently impacting the Houston area as well. Storms will move east/northeast at 45 MPH. Thunderstorms should move east out of the state within a few hours and I do expect the severe thunderstorm watch will be cancelled for the Texas counties well before the 8 PM expiration. Storms will continue to intensify and bring widespread severe weather to our neighbors east of Texas.

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Broken Line of Storms in East Texas; A Few Strong Storms Possible

A broken line of heavy showers has developed from Vivian, Louisiana southwest to Marshall, Jacksonville, and Centerville. These showers will develop into thunderstorms over the next hour as they move east/northeast at about 45 MPH. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted a small portion of extreme East Texas in a standard slight risk of severe weather for the next few hours. We MAY have a watch issued for a few counties in East Texas but the good news is I expect that the majority of severe weather will occur after the storms move east and out of Texas. Never the less a few of the strongest storms could produce damaging wind gusts up to 60 MPH and small hail. The tornado risk is low in Texas due to a wind profile favoring linear thunderstorms verses discrete supercells.

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A severe weather outbreak is expected in the Mid-South (Dixie Alley) later today with widespread damaging winds and a few tornadoes. Conditions do not favor a tornado outbreak and the primary issue is going to be widespread straight-line winds with some wind gusts exceeding 80 MPH. Overall it looks like today will feature the first severe weather outbreak of 2014 for the United States. Fortunately for us it should remain just east of Texas for the most part. We’ll post updates as needed today even after the storms move east of Texas.

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