Thursday, March 8, 2012
Strong Storms and Heavy Rain Likely Today
A strong cold front was moving south across the Southern Plains this morning and will be moving into our northern counties later this afternoon pushing all the way through East Texas by Friday morning. Out ahead of this front showers and an occasional thundershower will develop this morning into the early afternoon hours.
By late afternoon as the front moves into the I-20 corridor during peak afternoon heating, there will be a chance of a severe storm or two. Right now the overall severe threat does not appear that great but the strongest storms will be capable of producing wind gusts to 60 mph and hail up to the size of quarters. The tornado threat appears to be fairly low today as most of the stronger storms will develop right along the cold front which will make the storms slightly elevated, thus not allowing them to ingest the surface air needed to produce tornadoes. However, if an isolated strong storm or two develops out ahead of the cold front, a tornado threat could develop briefly this afternoon.
Once the front moves through the threat of rain and thunderstorms will not end any time soon. An area of low pressure in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere will keep southerly winds just off the surface forcing warm moist air to move over much cooler air at the surface as highs will struggle to reach the middle 50s. This will provide the perfect situation for an over running precipitation event starting tonight and lasting through most of Friday. Forecasts show an average of 1 to 3 inches of rain occurring with this event before ending late Friday.
Another disturbance will move to our north on Saturday providing the same type of over running precipitation event once again. This event will last through Saturday evening before a warm front is pushed north across the area Sunday morning. This will not shut of the rain either. An area of low pressure at the surface will surge north from the Gulf Coast into the Ozarks on Sunday. This will give East Texas another chance of showers and storms. Before all is said and done early Monday morning, much of East Texas could see at least 5 inches of rain with some local areas receiving up to 8 inches.