9:45 AM CDT | September 17, 2017
First off, there is a Slight Risk of Severe Weather for the Texas Panhandle this afternoon and evening. Large Hail to the size of Golf Balls, Damaging Winds to 65 MPH, and even a brief Tornado will be possible. Widespread Severe Weather is not anticipated at this time, but a few Severe Storms capable of the above hazards are expected. Cities at risk include, but are not limited to, Dalhart, Amarillo, Hereford, Dimmit, and Plainview. It is normal to see increasing severe risks during the fall as the jet stream starts to shift southward and gradually breaks down the ridge over the Southern US. More on this below.
The biggest change with the forecast over the next few days is that Tropical Storm Nora is unlikely to be picked up early to mid next week. If you recall from the last discussion, it looked like Nora in the Eastern Pacific would be picked up by a disturbance rounding the base of the western trough. Several of the weather models showed decent storm chances across Texas Tuesday-Wednesday as the moisture tracked northwest into the state. Unfortunately, it looks like Nora will likely continue to spin over water next week as the models have trended too far north with the disturbance. What this means is that the good rain chances for areas outside the Texas Panhandle and Northwest/West Texas will at least be delayed.
The weather pattern will continue to feature a large trough in the West with a ridge in the East. This part of our pattern has resulted in good rain chances for much of the state, especially northwest sections, in past cycles. The problem is that what is left of the late summer ridge is taking slower to erode than expected. As such, the eastern portion of the state will continue to be influenced by it in the short-term. The good news is that there are signs it will indeed break down the last week of September. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center sees this as well, and they have above-normal rainfall forecast for all but far East Texas during the September 24-30th time-frame. Again, the pattern is changing as expected, but it is just taking a little longer for the stubborn ridge to break down.
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