Posts Tagged ‘southeast texas’
Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for Coastal SE Texas
- Published on Sunday, 31 March 2013 14:54
- David Reimer
- 0 Comments
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a small severe thunderstorm watch for portions of the Southeast Texas coast. This does include the cities of Houston, Galveston, and Beaumont. This watch is in effect until 10 PM with the threats being large hail and damaging winds.
Looking Back: March 28, 2000, Fort Worth and Arlington Tornadoes
- Published on Thursday, 28 March 2013 18:18
- David Reimer
- 17 Comments
If you lived in the D/FW Metroplex back in 2000, there’s a good chance you remember March 28th. The day started out normal but ended with a day many of us will never forget. I was in the first grade at the time, home sick from school with the flu. Ironically, it was my mother’s birthday. We were planning on having a fun night by going to dinner and coming back home to open gifts. Without going into my long story, I lived about three-quarters of a mile southeast of the Interstate 20 and Highway 360 interchange. The Arlington Tornado passed within a mile of my home. While we didn’t lose power, we did have insulation litter the yard. I actually saw the tornado and power flashes but didn’t realize it at the time. I thought it was just cool blue lightning! My mother didn’t think it was so cool and rushed us into the closet.
Many of you have stories of your own from that night. Around 6:20 PM, I was watching the local NBC affiliate’s KXAS do their evening weather-cast. The meteorologist, David Finfrock, was talking about the severe weather setup that was producing the evening’s storms. Without warning, the shot cut to the Fort Worth tower-cam high above the city. The shot was jaw-dropping and frightening! Debris was flying around downtown Fort Worth, power flashes reflecting against high-rise buildings, and the camera shaking to the point I thought it would simply blow away. This footage was uploaded to YouTube back on the 10th anniversary. You can watch it here.
At the same time, radar imagery was a mess! The supercell responsible for the Fort Worth Tornado was very difficult to spot visually unless you were in relatively close proximity. Another supercell was in eastern Parker County while another storm was rapidly developing to the southeast.
While the reflectivity picture was a mess, base velocity showed a well-defined couplet approaching Downtown Fort Worth. This tornado was rated F-3 with several buildings destroyed and many others damaged, including high-rises.
The first tornado damage was reported near Castleberry High School, about 4
miles west of downtown Fort Worth at 6:18 pm. Additional roof and tree damage
occurred in the Monticello neighborhood of River Oaks. A number of businesses
were then damaged or destroyed near the intersection of Camp Bowie and
West 7th at 6:20 pm. The tornado then moved east along West 7th, striking the
Montgomery Ward building and the adjacent Linwood neighborhood.
The tornado then extensively damaged the 6-story Cash America building, nearly
destroying it. The Mallick Tower and Calvary Cathedral buildings are sustained
significant damage at approximately 6:24 pm.
The tornado weakened as it entered downtown Fort Worth, but wind-borne debris
broke thousands of windows in buildings and high rises. Particularly hit hard was
the Bank One building, which had 80% of its windows broken. The Union Pacific
Resources building sustained damage to 1,300 of its 5,000 windows. Numerous
automobiles in the streets and parking lots were also damaged. The tornado
dissipated as it moved east of downtown, although minor damage occurred to
roofs, trees, fences, and billboards about 3 miles east of the city near I-30 and
Brentwood Stair. Hail also severely damaged roofs and automobiles in Lake
Worth and Saginaw.
Two people lost their lives as a direct result of the tornado. A man was killed while
trying to reach shelter after warning others of the tornado, while a homeless man
was killed by a wall that collapsed on him. Some 80 other people were injured,
but only 6 required hospitalization.
The night was not over, however. While many media outlets began to cover the damage in Fort Worth, the rapidly developing storm in Southeast Texas began to pick up where the Fort Worth storm left off. The storm quickly began to develop rotation in southwest Arlington. By the time it reached Matlock, south of Interstate 20, it had a tornado moving through a subdivision. Several homes lost their second story. A government building was destroyed just south of Interstate 20. When the tornado moved across the interstate, multiple tractor-trailers were thrown about, resulting in the closure of I-20 for several hours. The tornado then affected the Johnson & Johnson plant, destroying many windows. For those familiar with the area, you’ll remember the pedestrian bridge that spanned the campus. It was damaged by the tornado with all of the windows destroyed. Years later, it would become High Pointe Church.
This storm exhibited classic supercellular characteristics with a well-defined hook echo apparent. Both reflectivity and velocity data were impressive with this storm. These radar images were taken as the tornado was about a mile northwest of my house. As someone who is very familiar with the area, these images still bring me a certain amount of anxiety when I see them.
Here is another snippet from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth about this tornado.
In Arlington, the initial tornado damage occurred at a restaurant on South Cooper
St. The tornado moved east, causing F-3 damage near Bardin and Matlock, south
of I-20, at approximately 7:07 pm. The tornado then struck the Arlington Airport
before it paralleled I-20, crossing the interstate about 1 mile west of Highway 360.
The tornado then moved northeast, causing F-2 damage to a neighborhood just
northeast of Grand Prairie airport. In spite of the damage, there were no deaths
or serious injuries in Arlington or Grand Prairie.
As this event occurred before the Internet and social media age, there isn’t much video online from this event. However, a local HAM radio operator has uploaded over 25 minutes of damage video he captured moments after the tornado struck Fort Worth. Here is the first of three videos he took that fateful evening.
We know many of you have stories from this day. We would love to hear your story. Please chime in on our comment form below!
3 PM Severe Weather Update: Central Texas Destabilizing
- Published on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 14:07
- David Reimer
- 13 Comments
Not much has changed in our thinking since our update around noon. The Storm Prediction Center maintains their standard slight risk of Severe Weather for much of Central Texas, southern North Texas, and a small sliver of Southeast Texas. I’ve included the latest severe weather outlook with more specific timing for locations. Storms will begin developing by 7 PM in the western part of the risk area. Storms will then expand in both coverage and intensity as they spread east towards Interstate 35. Current indications are that the storms will be very close to I-35 by 10 PM, but don’t be surprised if they approach a bit earlier.
Temperatures have warmed quickly across Central Texas as the warm front has lifted north. Temperatures have warmed into the 70s across Central Texas with even a few 80 degree readings starting to pop up. This is causing the atmosphere to rapidly become unstable. With favorable wind shear in place, it continues to look like severe weather is a decent bet across Central Texas this evening. A few supercell thunderstorms are likely initially before storms congeal into a complex. While not all storms will be severe, the strongest storms could produce hail larger then golfballs. That’s large enough to damage vehicles, so be sure to have a way to receive warnings this evening and be ready to move your vehicles to shelter.
In summary, conditions are setting up to support severe weather in Central Texas later this afternoon and evening. The main concern will be large hail with the most severe storms, but localized areas of damaging winds are also possible. The tornado threat is low, but we can never rule out a brief tornado. We don’t expect storms to fire before 6 PM, so it looks like we’ll have a few more hours of quiet weather before we get busy this evening.
Severe Weather Threat Tonight into Thursday: Analysis and Timeline
- Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 14:34
- David Reimer
- 0 Comments
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. If a graphic says Wednesday, it is for Thursday. Sorry for the hiccup!
You wouldn’t think we would be talking about severe weather tonight with the weather we have going on right now. Temperatures across North Texas are in the 40s with cloudy skies and light rain. We even had a period of sleet this morning! The atmosphere over the state is going to undergo a rapid transition tonight as our next storm system influences the state. While the lowest two thousand feet of the atmosphere will likely remain cool and stable, warm air above that will make the rest of the atmosphere unstable. This is referred to as mixed-layer instability and will result in elevated thunderstorms tonight.
Are you wondering what in the world are elevated thunderstorms? I’ll tell you!
Thunderstorms that are elevated develop above an inversion layer, known as a cap. This cap prevents surface parcels from towering upward into thunderstorms. It’s a thin layer of stable air in the lower atmosphere. For tonight’s case, air above this lid is going to be unstable. Tonight, thunderstorms will form on top of the cap, hence the term elevated thunderstorms. Since these storms will be in an unstable air-mass, they could become strong to severe with large hail and gusty winds. The tornado threat will be minimal with these elevated storms since they are rooted above the stable air in the lower atmosphere.
This is the type of setup we expect across much of Texas tonight. The one exception could be part of South-Central Texas. More on that in a bit. Lets talk about the time-frame for our storms tonight.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday at 12 AM.
The next few graphics come from a high-resolution version of the North American Weather Model, known as the 4 KM NAM. The NAM is just like any other weather model and thus don’t expect the radar later tonight to look exactly like the graphics you’re about to see. This first graphic is for midnight tonight (12 AM Thursday) and shows what the NAM believes the radar will look like at that time. It is showing moderate precipitation occurring over the Texas Panhandle and the northern parts of West Texas. Some of that could be frozen precipitation.
Further to the east, the light blues indicate what I expect to be low clouds, fog, and probably occasional mist and light rain. It is not going to be a pretty night. The green blotches over North Texas are indicative of isolated showers and thunderstorms.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday at 3 AM.
By 3 AM Thursday, we expect a line of thunderstorms to be developing generally from Vernon down to near Abilene and San Angelo. Keep in mind that the timing may be off by an hour or two, but our thoughts remain the same. By this point, elevated instability values and wind shear will support the possibility of this line being strong to severe with large hail and gusty winds. Isolated thunderstorms may begin forming ahead of this line over parts of Central and North Texas. These storms would also have a threat for large hail.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday at 6 AM.
By 6 AM, the NAM has a line of strong to severe thunderstorms extending from Henrietta south to Breckenridge to San Saba. This line will likely be producing large hail and gusty winds. Isolated to scattered thunderstorms ahead of this line across North and Central Texas, will also be capable of producing large hail. Lots of cloud to ground lightning could also occur with these cells.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday at 9 AM.
The line of thunderstorms will approach Interstate 35 between 7 and 9 AM. The NAM has this line running from Sherman, Dallas, Waco, to just west of Austin and San Antonio by 9 AM. Still capable of producing large hail and damaging winds, this line will make a mess of the Wednesday morning commute. Additional thunderstorms will have formed ahead of this line across Northeast and East Texas. There are some indications that a second line of storms may form 25 to 50 miles ahead of the original line by this time. Should that occur, the new line would likely begin to weaken the original line. This is something we’ll watch for in the morning, but isn’t something we can predict with accuracy until it begins to happen.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday at 12 PM.
By lunch time on Thursday, our line of thunderstorms will be moving into East Texas and likely building southward towards the Gulf Coast. We still expect it to be strong to severe with the possibility of large hail and damaging winds. Cells ahead of the line will be capable of producing large hail.
Here is the severe weather outlook for tonight through sunrise Wednesday. The severe weather threat is expected to develop sometime after midnight. Don’t pay much attention to where the risk ends to the east as the severe weather risk is highlighted in tomorrow’s outlook. The main issue we will be watching for tonight with discrete thunderstorms and the initial development of the squall line will be large hail. While most hail will be between dime and quarter size, the strongest storms could produce hail up to golfball size. Not all storms will produce hail. The threat for damaging straight-line winds could increase as the squall line pushes east and becomes better organized.
There is a narrow zone where we will be monitoring for the chance of surface-based thunderstorms. Along and south of the warm front, the cap will be weaker. In this area, we will have to watch for any discrete thunderstorms that develop and can become organized. With a weakened cap and strong wind shear, if any storms were to become organized and surface based, they would likely have a tornado risk. At this juncture, the threat for tornadoes is low, but not zero. We’ll be watching this possibility closely this evening and will update the risk if it appears that surface based storms are more likely to develop.
NOTE: Graphics have Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is for Thursday.
Here is the severe weather outlook for later on Thursday. As you can see, the risk continues for all of East and Southeast Texas. The risks will continue to be large hail and damaging winds, although we cannot rule out a brief tornado. Within the red shaded zone, there is a higher concern about the threat of discrete supercells capable of producing tornadoes. Most of this threat is east of Texas, but we will have to watch parts of Southeast Texas closely.
I won’t spend too much time talking about rainfall totals right now. With the line of storms expected to be moving eastward quickly, rainfall amounts won’t be too high. Generally speaking, we will average between 0.25 inches of rain upwards to 0.75 inches of rain. Where some training of cells occurs, rainfall totals could top out over one inch.
We’ll be here all night providing updates as needed. Make sure you have a way of receiving weather warnings tonight.
Warm front moving north across Texas
- Published on Saturday, 26 January 2013 16:40
- David Reimer
- 0 Comments
With the exception of Central, North, and Northeast Texas, Texas is warming up this afternoon. A warm front is moving north across Central Texas causing low clouds and fog in North and Northeast Texas. South of the warm front, temperatures have warmed into the 70s with mostly cloudy skies. Where the colder air remains in North and Northeast Texas, temperatures are in the 40s to lower 50s with overcast skies and some fog. As the warm front moves northward tonight, fog will become a problem along and north of it. As the front passes north through any given location, the fog may lift a bit. However, high moisture values south of the front in East and Southeast Texas will cause a dense fog problem as well.