We don’t call this time of year the Big Country’s other severe weather season for no reason! Atmospheric conditions are setting up to create some potential severe weather ahead of the cold front passing through the area tomorrow night.
THE GOOD NEWS – This is likely to be a more linear event in the form of a squall line. That rules out the strong super-cellular tornadic possibilities that we can sometimes see in the Spring time on big severe weather days/nights. After this event, temperatures are going to drop down into the 60s and 70s for high temps for the rest of the week.
THE BAD NEWS – This event is expected to occur entirely overnight for the Big Country. Our primary threats will be straight-line winds with some large hail embedded in the line. Straight-line winds could spike to as high as 70 to 80 mph in the strongest areas of the squall line, leading to potential damage to buildings, vehicles and unsecured objects outdoors. As well, if we see sections of the line “bow” out ahead of the rest of the line we could also see the potential for some brief spin-up vortexes/tornadoes. (My analogy is when you sweep your hand through some water, you’ll usually see some mini-vortexes spin off to the side as you continue to push through). These possible tornadoes are usually brief and short-lived but can still cause some damage.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has increased our risk of tornadoes for some of the Big Country to 5% which is slightly enhanced but still low. The reason for this is due to what I described above, sections of the line bowing out, creating opportunities for these spin-ups to occur. An example of elevated/high risk for tornadoes would be 10% to as high as 50% or more.
Aside from that, this line of storms will move quickly and fiercely, pushing through the Big Country over the course of about 4 to 5 hours, with some rain/storms lingering behind the initial front edge of the line until sunrise tomorrow for some.
To sum it up: A strong line of storms will push through the area tomorrow night ahead of the cold front. Strong straight-line winds and some large hail are the primary threats, with a secondary threat of an isolated tornado or two possible as the line moves through. Secure loose objects outdoors and keep your vehicles in the garage if you can manage.