Violent Storms to Threaten Texas, Oklahoma
By By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist.
February 02, 2012, 9:24:16 AM EST
Powerful thunderstorms are forecast to ignite in portions of Texas and Oklahoma beginning late Thursday and continuing Friday.
An early-springlike storm system will produce all sorts of wild weather over the South Central states to end the week ranging from a blizzard over the central High Plains, drenching rain near the central Gulf Coast and severe weather over the southern Plains.
Thunderstorms produced by the same storm system are forecast to ignite quickly and become locally violent in portions of west-central Texas and west-central Oklahoma beginning toward evening Thursday. In a matter of a couple of hours toward the end of the day Thursday, the weather may turn from tranquil to dangerous.
Cities that may be in the path of the storms late Thursday afternoon through Thursday night include Abilene, Amarillo, Childress, Wichita Falls and Lubbock in Texas as well as Clinton and Lawton in Oklahoma.
Many of the storms will bring frequent lightning strikes, damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, hail and flash flooding.
In this situation, a few of the strongest storms can produce tornadoes and very large hail.
The combination of a developing strong jet stream overhead, surging warm, moist air at the surface and an advancing wedge of dry air from the west will fuel the event. Wind shear will cause some of the storms to rotate, which in turn, can spawn tornadoes.
The threat of heavy, gusty thunderstorms and perhaps localized violent thunderstorms with tornadoes will carry over into Friday, shift eastward. During Friday into Friday night, the violent storm threat area is likely to reach from central and southeastern Oklahoma to western Arkansas, central and part of northeastern Texas.
There is a chance that locally severe thunderstorms also expand northeastward as well during Friday, reaching into southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri.
Into the weekend, it is possible a band of heavy to locally severe thunderstorms will extend from and push eastward through the middle Mississippi Valley to the central Gulf coast.
Meanwhile, thunderstorms affecting part of the lower Mississippi Valley and central Gulf Coast area today are associated with a weaker and separate storm system. A few of these storms will be locally heavy and gusty.
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