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12/29/06 NOW: KS / OK / TX

Billy Griffin

Might as well go ahead and start the "now" thread, since numerous thunderstorms are firing now over the high plains of the TX and OK panhandles, along with southernmost Kansas. USPLN showing an explosive development in the number of CGs associated with initiating thunderstorms. Winds are all backed throughout Oklahoma, but dewpoints are still sluggish ~ 50.


I would expect this activity to increase in coverage throughout the morning hours, with a continued risk of severe activity from the OK/KS border, south.

An absolute perfect setup for cold-core activity in OK today, with most of the true gulf moisture kept near the Texas coast. I can foresee more of a linear event in this system, but perhaps a few isolated cells in Texas and the "needle in a haystack" cold-core stuff in Oklahoma.

Everyone stay safe today, and good luck!
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The Cell NE of Austin and the cells NE and W of Waco have intensified and are starting to look more organized. Wont be surprised to see a watch issued pretty soon. The cells in and around Dallas/Ft. Worth are looking healthy as well. Look for things to get going within the next 30 min to and hour in S central and central Texas.

Also for those of us who live N of where all the activity will be today theres going to be alot of rain put down over the next couple of days. Flood Watch's will be needed in the next 36 hrs for parts OK, KS, MO, AR.
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Fairly impressive thunderstorms around here in Dodge City now... fairly frequent thunder by end-of-December standards. Sitting at 37F now, the front went through a couple hours ago... but the large majority of this event will be plain-old cold rain for here in Dodge. A couple hours west of here could be another story entirely. This event, if we get 1.6" or more, which it looks like we will, will put us in top-5 wettest Decembers on record... dating back to 1874. And another fairly close CG... wow... I really wish I was in Goodland, though :(
First Warning of the day comes with a storm in N central Texas for Freestone Co. Penny Size hail and 60 mph winds possible with this storm. NWS in Ft. Worth says the storm is traveling N at 45 mph but I think the track of these storms in general will be N to NNW untill one starts spinning and then we will see some right turns. Matter of fact Ill bet you the first storm that starts tracking in a NE direction will be the first to go tornadic.
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Problem in Texas is going to be the orientation of that warm front. I haven't had time to do any surface analysis as I am concentrating on the winter storm that is about to hit the South Plains (near Blizzard potential expected tonight with up to 10" of snow, which is a LOT for West Texas). If the depiction of the warm front on the last mesoscale discussion graphic is correct, your only going to see a very short term tornadic potential as storms cross the warm front.

Seems to me the only chance a storm has to sustain tornadic status would be along the component of the warm front that is oriented NE and only then if you could get one to turn right and run along it. I wouldn't rule out a straggler grabbing on to some weak boundary and running with it further south and east of I35, but given the terrain, the overall setup and storm motion and I don't like the way the warm front is oriented, chasing that and scoring will be difficult at best. I've chased these type of warm front setups in late winter/very early spring across that area and it's a royal pain in the ass and has never resulted in any significant catches for me. A lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time to score a tornado on camera there today.
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SPC is saying that the potential for tornadoes is still there and a watch will be needed soon. Cyclonic shear has already been noted with in relatively shallow convection near the Tx coast, and rotation potential regionally will increase with continued deepening of convection. Discrere supercell probability is greatest in the free warm sector out ahead of the cold front. The storms that do cross the warm front will interact with the associated relative peak of low level vorticity along with shear and ascent.

Edit* TORNADO WARNING FOR Coryell CO. Texas until 115pm. NWS detected and developing tornado 12 miles SE of Gatesville, Tx. WOW that was fast.

Edit* Erath Co in Tor Warning until 2:15 pm. At 1:12pm a storm with a history of producing tornadoes was 10 miles Se of Dublin, TX moving north at 35 mph.
Also Bosque Co has just been tor warned until 2:15pm.
Also Central Falls Co. has been warned until 2:15.
They all just started spinning LOL.
3 confirmed tornadoes so far with damage done to a mobile home in near Oglesby, Tx and some other minor damage.

Also SPC just put out a mesoscale discusion for C Oklahoma. The storms that fire in Texas are expected to keep moving north and will affect Oklahoma later this afternoon. Still a chance for a good cold core event in OK. I also want to point out NW right now. If you go to a radar site for that area you'll se a large area of very heavy rain falling. That big red blob has hung over that area now for almost 3 hours.... thats a crap load of rain.

Does Anyone have a Video Link to one of the News stations down in Tx covering this event?
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Hey all... myself and Jason Doss also from this site are heading to the McClennon County/Bell County line for possible intercpet.
Look at that storm in W Texas riding the cold front. THAT THING IS HUGE and looks like its trying to rotate. Anyone else notice that cell. Also the pressure cooker has cracked every mature looking cell is exploding. I cant get over this storm riding the cold front in W texas. That thing is a monster. Oh this is only the beginning the area for tornado development will be W and NW of Houston and is being caried to the N. E Texas get ready!!! According to the models the best stuff is yet to come.

EDIT* SPC has now upgraded todays convective outlook to a Moderate Risk for C Texas. And a tornado watch has been issued for N central texas/ S Ok untill 8 pm. This event has turned into a tornado breeding ground I thought that it was going to be linear dominate with some discrete supercells. I look at the radar right now and im counting 7 supercells on radar in C texas. WOW what a day. This is very unusual for Texas this time of year. On average from Dec. 25- Jan. 3 they see a tornado once every nine years.
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At the present time, it looks as though a small outbreak of tornadoes is underway. Instability is much higher than forecast, with CAPE values of over 2000 j/kg near the Gulf Coast. Earlier WRF forecasts showed at most 1000 j/kg for the same area just yesterday. Consequently, the threat for supercells and tornadoes has dramatically increased (since there hasn't been a question regarding the strength of the wind fields---obviously).

Right now, I would expect that most of the tornadic activity would be limited to areas with locally higher instability and with storms that can remain relatively discrete. I've noticed that, for the Southern Plains, low instability/high shear setups are not as conducive for a widespread threat of tornadoes. Thus, I would expect that most of the tornadic activity will be limited to the regions of higher instability (though I wouldn't rule out an isolated tornado or two near the Red River).

Given the magnitude of the low-level shear (0-1 km SRH >300), unseasonably strong instability, and the low LCL heights, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see a strong (or even violent) tornado in E TX.

Very complex situation to pin down. Widespread SVR ongoing from TX coast northward into OK. In regards the cold core situation, I'd anticipate new development in southwest / south-central OK within the next hour, as those storms will race to the NNE ~ 40+. Shear is almost "too good." Numerous reports of damage now coming in from those tornadic storms south of the DFW metroplex. A more classic situation, both linear and isolated cells, appears to be an increasing threat over much of eastern Texas, along the I-45 corridor.
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I think we'll see a warning soon on the cell just south of Ft. Worth. This cell was warned before but I'm seeing some rotation again on radar (if I'm seeing things right). I live near Denton, TX so I might head out for a quick 1 hour chase. Anyone else seeing this same rotation. Just as I'm typing this I have hail outside. I believe that most of the action for stronger tor. will be in the Red River later today which is tough chasing territory. Good luck to all.

The cell I was talking about just went warned. I'm packing up and heading out.
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4 New tornado warning have been issued for areas North of Houston, Tx. WOW THINGS ARE EXPLODING!!! You know im still really impressed with those storms out in W Tx. They are not tornadic but are very big and once that line moves into a more unstable air mass we could see some really strong derechos later on this evening. Some of the counties just issued in the tor warnings include cherokee,Burleson, Washington, and Hill counties. The storm in Bosque Co. is the strongest storm at the moment. The storm just Nw of Ft. Worth is looking impressive as well not rotating yet but look healthy.

EDIT* The storm in Bosque co if it holds together will hit Ft. Worth. Storm spotters are observing a tornado on the ground. The guys at Fox Ch. 4 in the Dallas Ft worth area have already mentioned this.
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To me, the most impressive signature (currently) is on that one SSW of Austin, in Bastrop County. No warning on it as of yet, but it's been pulsing and is rather isolated at this time.
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For some streaming video as well.

Storms firing everywhere, I'd be shocked if we don't end up with 20-30 tornado reports before the day is done at the very least.

Activity in Far N. Tx and Far S. Ok now developing as well...
From reports on Dallas TV Fox station, President Bush and wife had to take cover under a tornado warning...they took cover in an 'amored vehicle' on their ranch.

I am concerned about development over E Texas and possibly W LA later this evening, as RUC has the LLJ kicking up over 60kts over this area at the same time speed max of upper level jet rotates around the base of the trough. I know SPC in their latest outlook update predicts storms will go linear later this evening, but many times we see this type of nocturnal setup over the winter months fed by the LLJ in the presence of just enough environmental instability along with impressive wind shear at all levels. The wind chart at 850mb in itself is very impressive, especially considering strong backed winds at the surface right out in front of it. You might want to check it out.
Three distinct cells are of interest as of now, with those being the one east of Stephenville, one northest of College Station, and the other just east of Austin. These are likely difficult to observe, and potentially rain-wrapped, so do exercise extreme caution. I would imagine it's beginning to get dark, and night will fall quickly, so keep that in mind. In addition, as you head east, you're running out of ideal chase terrain.

* * * EDIT: I am a little suspect of areas near San Antonio, Victoria, and Austin at this time. Some linear activity is firing west of San Antonio, with more squalls out to the east from points east of Austin, southward.

***** TOR WAR for that cell north of Austin, south of Temple. Look out if you're in Temple! The one trailing that, just east of Austin, also has me concerned.

Watch that next cell..... now just east of San Antonio, moving rapidly north and intensifying. If I'm reading my map right, it looks like that new one is going up fast in Guadalupe (?) County!
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I agree that the cell south of Ft. Worth is going to move right between Ft. Worth and Dallas (more on the Ft. Worth side). The storms seem to be getting more intense. I don't see how the DFW metro area is going to escape this. I'm also seeing some new cells fire just south of Dallas that are popping up rapidly. I'd say we'll see about 40+ touchdowns before the night is over.
"I'd say we'll see about 40+ touchdowns before the night is over."

I certainly hope this isn't the case. Keep in mind that we have 11 reports so far, and most likely, some of these are second or even third reports of the same tornado. A 40+ tornado outbreak is very rare at any time of year, but nevertheless, I am hoping that as night and associated instability falls, we may see some of these embedded cells die down. Let's hope so, anyway.
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No worries, Evan. And no need to apologize. All I'm commenting on is I certainly hope that isn't the case. I'm thankful that this storm is coming in at this time of year, whereas instability is likely the least it could possibly be, and daylight hours are short. I'm hoping, for those who might be in the path of these storms, that as daylight fades, these storms will calm down. Again, no worries.

No matter how you look at it, this is a significant severe weather event, from Colorado all the way to the Gulf Coast. Thankfully, as I look at all data sources currently, the areas of most concern seem to be getting more confined to a few counties south of DFW. Obviously not good news for DFW, but I'm hoping we'll continue to see a downward trend in the severity of these storms.
Wow the storm got it back alright it's got a new hook on the radar and now that it is spinning watch for it to turn a little right and take on more of a N NE track E of Arlington and W of Dallas. Dallas TV News reporting vicious electrical storm occuring in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Tornado Warning is in effect for Tarrant Co. NWS saying tornado could develop at anytime. HERE WE GO.... could this be the one?
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It's a very cluddered warm sector given the strong synoptic-scale ascent (i.e. via pronounced large-scale WAA and deep-layer forcing from the cold front). SPC/RUC mesoanalysis does show decent surface-based CAPE for this time of the year, even for TX. Very low dewpoint spreads and robust boundary layer moisture is making LCL heights extremely low -- i.e. <600m AGL -- per current sfc obs/RUC analysis. SRH is also on the extreme side, with more than ~400j/kg 0-1km SRH in the open warm sector environment, with stronger low-level vertical vorticity available to storms that interact with the warm front.

I'm sure we'll see a few more tornado reports through the evening (before sfc diabatic stabilization occurs and an inversion layer develops with the onset of nightfall).