Texas Still Weeks Away From Peak Severe Weather Season

8:45 PM CDT | March 27, 2019

We have seen a few rounds of severe weather this month, including this past weekend's big hail event. There were a couple strong to severe storms in the Texas Panhandle earlier, and we could see another opportunity for isolated severe storms across parts of North Texas late Friday. The Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk highlighted for far North Texas, where a conditional risk exists. As discussed yesterday, it will depend on the strength of the cap. If anything is able to break through the capping inversion, it could produce large hail and damaging winds. The greater risk will be north of the Red River, closer to the system, however. Climatology favors an increasing severe risk as we get into the month of April. I have created a video showing the historical severe weather risk through April 7th.

The worst of the severe weather season for the state is usually in May, so we still have several more weeks before we get into the peak of the season. It is a good time to review severe weather plans if you have not already done so this year. I have attached a helpful graphic illustrating the difference between a watch and a warning.

Severe Weather Watch Vs Warning Definition

You will also hear the term "cap" or "capping inversion" a LOT over the next 2-3 months. There are three main ingredients needed for shower/storm development - moisture, instability, and lift. Lift can come in the form of surface heating, low-level convergence near a boundary, the approach of an upper-level system, etc. For storms to develop, parcels of air at the surface need to be able to lift upward and rise. When there is a layer of warm air above the surface, this prevents these parcels from rising. This is because the surrounding air is warmer than the parcels, and they stop rising. The warm air originates from the higher terrain of Mexico. When there is southwesterly flow aloft, it pulls this warm air across the state. Since the cap allows the air below to continue to warm and moisten, the potential instability increases. If the cap can break, explosive thunderstorm development can occur. The following graphic illustrates cap vs no cap. For the latest local weather information for your area, please visit the National Weather Service website. You can also find Texas Storm Watch on Facebook. To help make sure you do not miss any updates, LIKE the Facebook page and join the Facebook group.

Capped Atmosphere Vs Uncapped Atmosphere