ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As a cold front slowly but surely inches its way to the Lone Star State, more information has become available regarding the storm potential for the early week in the Abilene area. Tuesday evening will be like the appetizer before the main dish ahead of Wednesday.

With the cold front still in New Mexico, there hasn’t been much change to the severe weather potential today. Due to a dryline ahead of the front, there is still a slight risk for severe storms for the western parts of the area.

Models predict the storm activity weakening as it gets into the Key City and the rest of the Big Country, but storms are just starting to become active with a few severe thunderstorm warnings already south of Odessa near Crane and southeast of Fort Stockton as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night for Scurry, Mitchell, Coke, Nolan, and Fisher counties – plus more out west. The main hazards will be hail in the sizes up to golf balls, damaging winds, and dangerous lightning.

Monday, it was predicted that the storm potential on Wednesday could have increased, and that held true as the Storm Prediction Center has increased the storm potential from a marginal to a slight risk.

The Storm Prediction Center has also expanded the coverage area for the risk. Essentially, all of the Big Country has the potential for strong to severe storms. Below is the latest Severe Weather Outlook for Wednesday:

Initial storm development is expected to begin early Wednesday afternoon, ahead of a dryline as the cold front finally gets going and moves through the panhandle region. All hazards will be possible along with flood concerns.

Storms are expected to be discrete initially, resulting in large hail, then merge together into one system as the evening progresses. That will increase the threat for damaging winds and localized flooding. Rainfall amounts have somewhat decreased, but roads could still be flooded in areas.

New rainfall amounts range from 3/4 to an inch here in Abilene. We could see higher amounts, around two inches in areas from Haskell to Brownwood as they are in a slight risk of excessive rainfall Wednesday. The rest of the us are under a marginal risk.

This cold front is a slow mover. It won’t enter the Big Country until around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday night, the rest of west central Texas by mid Thursday morning, keeping storms active through the overnight hours and possibly early morning hours depending on the location of the front.

The slight risk of excessive rainfall extends into Thursday morning from Junction to Mason to San Saba, as the cold front moves through the rest of West-Central Texas. Showers are still possible here in the Big Country Thursday, but the heavier rain will be to the south of the area.

Make sure to have multiple ways to receive warnings and updates regarding the severe potential for this evening and tomorrow as BCH meteorologists continue to gain more information with the front approaching the area.