To say that the next few days will be busy in the weather department is an understatement. I know many of you are wondering about the potential for winter weather on Friday and we’ll have much more on that a bit later. However, before we reintroduce winter to Texas, we have a few other matters to look over. The main topic of this discussion will be the potential for a few strong to marginally severe thunderstorms on Thursday across Northwest and North Texas. The latest severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center has the northwest portion of North Texas in a standard risk of severe weather.
The main time-frame for the chance of a few strong to marginally severe storms will be from 4 PM to 11 PM (based on the latest data). The main lifting mechanism that will help showers and storms develop tomorrow evening will be the approaching arctic cold front. Temperatures behind the front will be in the 30s, but the airmass ahead of the front will still have temperatures in the 60s and 70s along with plenty of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
By Thursday afternoon, the atmosphere will have plenty of juice in it with surface-based instability values exceeding 1,500 J/Kg (joules per kilogram). That indicates the atmosphere is moderately unstable and is capable of supporting stronger updrafts in thunderstorms. That’s why our main concern for the stronger storms tomorrow evening will be the potential for large hail. As the cold front quickly moves southeast, it will undercut these thunderstorms (essentially cutting off the warmer surface air). Storms will still have energy to work with above the cooler air, but at least they should weaken a bit and become more of our garden-variety storms.
This is a simulated radar image from one of our high-resolution weather models. As you can see, it shows rain and a few thunderstorms extending across North Texas and in proximity of the cold front. A few strong storms with penny to nickel size hail will be possible with the strongest storms. As the cold front pushes south of Interstate 20, thunderstorms should begin to weaken. This will not be a significant or widespread severe event, but a few hail storms will be possible. Our evening weather models will begin running shortly and we’ll post an update if data suggests any changes to the forecast. Otherwise, we’ll have our next update on Thursday’s storms after midnight.