10:30 PM CDT | March 26, 2019
North Texas saw its first significant severe episode on Sunday. I will be the first to admit that the coverage of the severe storms was greater than I had anticipated when I wrote Saturday's discussion. The cap gave way late in the afternoon, when several strong to severe storms fired north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The worst storm of the day was the one that tracked through Denton and Collin Counties. This is a look at it from Decatur as it was maturing over Denton.
I traveled down 287 to catch another developing storm closer to my location. This one was over the Rhome/Justin area. I got a nice panorama of the sky. Off in the distance to the right (northeast), you can see that monster supercell that was near Frisco. This was about the time it began producing that tennis ball to baseball size hail. People shared pictures of some of the hail drifts in that part of Collin County on social media. Some drifts appeared to be up to 2 feet high! Below the image, I have also attached the storm reports that were sent to the National Weather Service. The black triangle represents "significant" hail which is 2.00" or larger. Worst hail report was grapefruit size (4.50") just southwest of McKinney near Alma and Collin McKinney Parkway. This would have been a little while after I took that picture.
Now, what is next for the state? We have another system that will arrive by Friday. This is the one I have been discussing for some time now. The latest model guidance shows a more northerly track, so there is some concern about the cap. We of course do not want severe weather, but if the cap remains pretty much intact, rain chances will be low... period. I have attached a loop from this evening's NAM (North American Mesoscale) model. It shows the mid-levels of the atmosphere from Thursday morning through Saturday morning. You can see the piece of energy rolling eastward through the Rockies and into the Central Plains. By the end of the loop, it gets pulled northward and starts to be absorbed by a deepening trough over the Northern US/Great Lakes. For Friday, the Storm Prediction Center already has a risk of severe weather highlighted north of the Red River, closer to the system. Depending on the eventual track and strength of the cap, we could see at least an isolated risk of severe weather for parts of North Texas late Friday. It is still a bit too early to get into specifics, but we should have a much better idea by Thursday. Cooler weather will follow in the wake of the system.
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