Monday, March 19, 2012

Severe Weather Update - Oklahoma Through Texas...

A large area of rain and embedded thunderstorm activity continues to move slowly East through Oklahoma at this hour. Strong, gusty winds were reported along the leading edge of some of the thunderstorms near Tulsa during the last hour.

Very heavy rain continues to fall over central Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City Metro area, where flash flooding will continue to be a concern this afternoon and evening.  This threat will also expand into northeast Oklahoma as the afternoon progresses and additional heavy rains fall in this area as well.

We are continuing to monitor an area from southcentral and southeast Oklahoma into northcentral Texas for two reasons:  (1).  the line of storms moving in from the West is likely to intensify this afternoon and (2).  new thunderstorm development is likely to take place along and ahead of the existing line during the mid and late afternoon hours (click to enlarge/clarify image):

Large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes can be expected with this activity.  I would expect a tornado watch to be issued for this region during the next couple of hours.  This threat includes the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

Further South, we are monitoring the southern end of the frontal boundary for new thunderstorm development from west-central into southwest Texas.  This activity will then move into the Hill Country (to the West of I-35) by early evening (click to enlarge/clarify image):

Large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes can also be expected in this region.  Hail may become particularly large in this area, with some hailstones greater than 2 inches in diameter.

The severe storms that move into the Hill Country by late afternoon will eventually impact the I-35 corridor from Austin to San Antonio later this evening and tonight, including a threat of large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes.  Present trends suggest that this will not likely take place until after sunset.  It is possible that scattered showers and a few thunderstorms could form by mid to late afternoon well ahead of the main line, including portions of the I-35 corridor area, however a severe weather threat from this activity is not certain at this time.

If you live in the above outlined areas, make sure that you have identified the safest place to seek shelter at home, work or school.  Take a few moments to ensure that your severe weather safety kit is stocked and ready to go should you need it.

If you live in the areas where the severe weather risk will continue into the night (which includes the Austin/San Antonio area), make sure that you take steps today to ensure that you have a way to receive severe weather warnings at night.

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