Strong/severe storms arrive Friday. Here’s what you can expect

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 8:10 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -The next cold front approaching the Brazos Valley will bring a chance of strong to severe storms Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Storm Prediction Center increased the threat level for severe storms to a 3 out of 5 risk for much of the Brazos Valley.

10:30 pm Friday Update: The Tornado Watch has been allowed to expire for the majority of the Brazos Valley. The watch remains in place for Walker, Montgomery, and San Jacinto counties.

As the cold front continues to advance, the severe threat is coming to an end across the Brazos Valley. This will be the last update for this weather event.

A TORNADO WATCH has been issued for the majority of the Brazos Valley -- Milam, Robertson, Leon, Burleson, Brazos, Madison, Houston, Trinity, Washington, Grimes, Walker, Montgomery, and San Jacinto Counties -- until 12am. (More details are in the link over the text)

As we move through the midnight hour, storms will come to an end as cooler air takes over.

Friday 4 p.m. Update

The first storm of the day developed in far Northwest Milam County, moving across the northside of the county. While this storm will be out of our immediate area and further into Central Texas, between 4:30pm and 4:45pm, it has shown consistent signs of broad rotation. No immediate concerns locally, this storm could produce a tornado to the north of Robertson County over the next hour.

Friday 3:30pm Update

The Texas A&M Meteorology department released a second weather balloon this afternoon to get an understanding of the atmosphere over the Brazos Valley and Bryan-College Station.

Here’s what this tells us:

  • The CAP -- aka “lid” on the atmosphere -- is still in place keeping thunderstorms from developing, although it is very thin. On daytime heating alone, this data suggest the temperature would need to climb to at least 87° for storms to initiate.
  • The atmosphere is capable of intense tornadic activity, if the right storm takes hold. This is not a “every storm that forms will be intense” scenario, but it does provide insight why we will need to closely monitor storms if they manage to develop before 6pm
  • Storm motion today will be fast. Any storm that develops will likely move between 40 and 45mph

Friday 2pm Update

Friday midday update: Several model runs have shown the potential for discrete, individual cells to form in the early-to-mid afternoon. If this is the case, the chance of tornado formation increases. Individual cells support supercell formation and the rotation required for tornadoes. These storms, however, are still conditional.

There is still consistent agreement on the second round of storms moving in later this evening, with strong gusty winds.

The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded portions of Northeast Texas into a Level 4 out of 5 risk for severe weather. Portions of the Northern Brazos Valley continue to remain in a Level 3 out of 5 risk, with southern counties at a Level 2 out of 5 risk.

Friday morning update: The forecast remains consistent with overall timing and potential impacts headed into this afternoon / evening. Early morning models are hinting at a SLIGHTLY more likely development of afternoon storms. IF this was to pass, these storms could become severe quickly. For now, we will maintain that the biggest potential for widespread storms (and thus, the more widespread impacts) will come as we get our evening started.

Potentially two round of storms could bring severe weather for the Brazos Valley Friday, with...
Potentially two round of storms could bring severe weather for the Brazos Valley Friday, with the highest chance for rain coming this evening.(KBTX)

Timing: Breaking down your Friday ahead of our approaching line of storms.

  • FRIDAY MORNING TO 3 PM: When you wake up Friday morning, it is going to be muggy and mild. Even though there is ample moisture in the atmosphere, we will not need to be worried about fog. That is thanks to the winds, they are going to be breezy all day gusting 35-40mph. We cannot rule out a spotty shower or two through the morning and early afternoon.
  • FRIDAY 3 PM TO 8 PM: This is when we watch for the conditional chance for showers and thunderstorms. If these storms do form, they will need to be monitored for all modes of severe weather. These storms specifically will hold our highest tornado chance.
  • FRIDAY 7 PM TO SATURDAY 12 AM: This is our best chance of rain and thunderstorms, as a line makes its way into the Brazos Valley. The main hazards with the line will be damaging, gusty winds, lightning, and a possible spin-up embedded within the line.
  • SATURDAY: Once the line moves through, cooler and more fall-like air returns to the Brazos Valley. Skies behind the front will clear to sunny to mostly sunny. Winds should begin to calm after the morning hours, turning calm through the afternoon.

Thursday Night Update:

New data has arrived for what the radar could look like Friday afternoon and evening. Generally, the timeline remains on track: isolated storms rattle west to east for parts of the Northern Brazos Valley 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. followed by a more likely, widespread line of thunderstorms between 7 p.m. Friday and midnight Saturday.

The first round of storms Friday could bring a few tornado and hail concerns to parts of the...
The first round of storms Friday could bring a few tornado and hail concerns to parts of the Northern Brazos Valley(KBTX)

The biggest change to the outlook comes with the first round that brings a conditional storm chance to the Northern and Central Brazos Valley. A larger coverage of isolated activity is forecast to develop, impacting more of the area between the end of the school/work day and the start of the weekend. While these storms will need to be monitored closely, they could also provide a better outcome for the area. More thunderstorms fighting for the same airspace over the Brazos Valley may keep a significant storm from forming locally. Cautious optimism but the larger tornado concern of the day still looks to fall from the Red River to just north of our local area.

The evening round of storms is still expected to develop on the northwest corner of the 16 county area by 7 p.m. As the line rapidly develops, rain-cooled air will likely rush out at a high clip (40-60mph). Again, cautious optimism, but this cooler air could undercut instability out ahead of the storm line, helping to mitigate the overall severe potential for some.

The next update to this forecast data is expected shortly after 1 a.m.

Thursday Midday Update: The Storm Prediction Center has pushed the 3 out of 5 risk further into the Brazos Valley, with just the very southern portions remaining at a 2 out of 5 risk.

The severe risk has increased ahead of Friday's storm chances
The severe risk has increased ahead of Friday's storm chances(KBTX)

Damaging wind gusts of 60mph or higher are the main concern, especially once storms form into a line. However, a spin-up tornado embedded within the line remains a possibility. The very isolated and conditional chance for a significant tornado has increased as well, especially for our northern counties.

Tornado risk increased for the Brazos Valley ahead of Friday's storms
Tornado risk increased for the Brazos Valley ahead of Friday's storms(KBTX)

The timeline continues to be fine-tuned, with a possible round of more scattered activity in the afternoon. The main line looks to impact the Brazos Valley from around 7pm-12am with some activity lingering behind the initial line.

This includes the entire northern half of the Brazos Valley.

  • Main, Most Likely Concern: Damaging wind gusts in excess of 60mph or higher
  • Embedded brief, weak spin-up tornado potential
  • Very isolated and conditional chance for a significant tornado (should isolated storms develop in the afternoon ahead of the main line of activity. This threat currently seems more likely in parts of north and northeast Texas -- but something that will continue to be monitored for locally)
Storm concerns for Friday across the Brazos Valley
Storm concerns for Friday across the Brazos Valley(KBTX)

The timing continues to be fine-tuned, with a POSSIBLE round in the middle/late afternoon. This is where all types of severe weather will need to be monitored. The main line looks to make its appearance between 7pm and 12am. Then, we clear things out and get on to a beautiful rest of the weekend.

The most important note - every one of us will NOT experience severe weather with this next system. However, all of us have the potential to experience it. Bottom line: we all need to keep an eye on the forecast for the next 24-36 hours.