All things considered, the 2010 severe weather season has been remotely quiet not only here at home but across much of the United States. Many afternoons with a small threat and a severe storm here and there...but that's been about it. That is until Tuesday when a tornado near Bushland, Texas...in the Panhandle...bursted that bubble setting the opening act for what could be much more severe weather across Texas the rest of this week. Great photos and video from yesterday's storm coming out of the High Plains today which can be found here and here.
We'll have to be on our toes for the chance at a few severe storms by week's end here at home as well. A large upper level low (what we refer to as a "bowling ball") is currently moving across the Desert Southwest. As that approaches the Panhandle and then swings northeast across Kansas and Oklahoma, a cold front will drag with it southeast across the Lone Star State. For us, it looks like that front will impact us late Friday into Early Saturday...bringing with it a chance for a few strong to severe storms.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of Central and East Texas under a slight risk for a severe outbreak on Friday. While the better chance remains just off to our west (lets call it the I-35 corridor and points west), there is still a shot at some scattered storms forming Friday afternoon that may become quite strong. However, the better chance at severe weather comes with the arrival of that front overnight Friday to Saturday, in which we could find storms with strong, damaging winds and large hail. While it looks like there will be a bit of rotation in the atmosphere, the tornado threat at this time remains small...with the better chance for weather of those sorts well north of the Brazos Valley.
The biggest question out there is how far north will the "cap" on the atmosphere set up and how well will it hold up heading into the warm, afternoon hours as highs push towards the low 80s. Some of our computer models switch the upper-level winds out of the southwest by Friday afternoon which would add a warmer, dry layer to the atmosphere... this is the cap and could possibly hold storms at bay. As of Thursday morning, a line from Caldwell to College Station to Madisionville and points north hold the best chance to not be "capped" Friday afternoon therefore holding the best chance for shower and thunderstorm development.
As always, check back in the next few days as we fine tune the forecast and plan on keeping mobile KBTX.com close for those Friday afternoon / evening plans.