Severe weather possible as cold front moves in Monday evening
Strong, potentially damaging wind gusts up to 60mph and brief spin-up tornadoes are the main concern
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Fall temperatures return this week as a cold front moves into the Brazos Valley Monday evening. Ahead of the cooler air, rain and thunderstorms are expected to rattle across the area through the afternoon and evening. A few of those storms could be strong or briefly severe, especially after sunset.
Monday 7 p.m. Update
The storm prediction center is expecting to issue a watch tonight across the Brazos Valley for severe weather and/or thunderstorms.
The main threat continues to be strong wind gusts, but a spin-up tornado looks more and more likely. Storms are currently moving in from Southeast of Abilene, where several severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings have been issued.
Recent models have continually shown the potential for rotation in the atmosphere, which means supercell development is not out of the picture. However, most rotation stays north close to the Waco area.
Monday 4 p.m. Update
The first Severe Thunderstorm Watch of the day has been issued in parts of West Texas through 9 p.m. This watch is placed over Abilene south to just east of San Angelo, covering areas just west of I-35. Damaging wind gusts as high as 70mph, large hail to the size of a ping pong ball, and a tornado or two are possible as a line of storms sweeps out of West Texas.
No active watches or warnings are in effect for the Brazos Valley at this time.
Monday 2 p.m. Update
Skies have cleared and sunshine is starting to destabilize the air over the I-35 corridor between San Marcos and Waco -- specifically over the Austin area. The Storm Prediction Center issued a forecast discussion, mentioning a 40% chance some sort of watch (severe thunderstorm or tornado) would be needed by late afternoon or early evening.
Isolated storms could form ahead of tonight’s cold front and associated line of storms. These discrete cells could produce locally strong wind gusts. While the overall concern / structure of the storms remains unclear, the potential for a brief tornado remains through the evening hours.
Monday 10 a.m Update: The entire Brazos Valley remains under a 2 out of 5 risk for isolated severe weather. A notable change: brief tornado potential was increased for the area up to 5%. Isolated storms embedded in or ahead of the line could spin up a tornado or two.
The storm activity still looks to come in two rounds. The first, from 4 PM-10 PM, brings isolated storms that could create hail and possibly brief tornado concerns. The second, from 11 PM-2 AM, is a more widespread line of storms with strong, gusty winds.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed all of the Brazos Valley under a 2 out of 5 risk for isolated severe weather Monday.
What to Monitor:
- Strong winds: Sustained winds near 25 mph. Gusts between 40 - 60 mph.
- Brief spin-up tornado: Currently, the Storm Prediction Center has a 2% risk for tornado formation in the Brazos Valley. If any do form, they will remain weak and short-lived.
- Hail: Updrafts are strong enough to create hail, but will likely remain small in size. Expect pea-to-pocket change-sized hail.
- Localized heavy rain: A quick 0.75″ to 1.5″ will be possible, with localized higher totals -- particularly under any strong/severe storm that develops
Rain and thunderstorms are expected to be ongoing through the morning hours to the north and west of the Brazos Valley. By afternoon, scattered activity along I-35 and in Central Texas will have the chance to drift into the northwestern Brazos Valley. A line of rain and embedded storm activity could come together as early as 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
While any early activity will need to be monitored -- heavy rain and lightning could slow down or hinder after-school activities and the drive home, if nothing else -- the evening hours seem to hold the greater potential for severe storms to develop. An approaching area of low pressure will add enough “twist” in the atmosphere that storm activity between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. could occasionally turn severe as it drifts steadily south and southeast.
After the front, temperatures drop into a comfortable 70 degrees during the middle of the week. A secondary front arrives Friday evening, halting the gradual warm-up back into the 80s.
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