Since the weather is not terribly busy, let’s start with a couple housekeeping items today. First, the National Weather Service surveyed the damage from Wednesday’s tornado in Onalaska yesterday. They found that a tornado traveled from at least near Waterwood, on the west side of Lake Livingston through at least Barnes, in northeast Polk County.
Preliminary track and summary details of the Onalaska tornado from the NWS Houston. Click to enlarge. (NOAA)
That’s a little over 30 miles, though it could change as more reports are examined. The survey team found mostly EF-1 and EF-2 damage in Onalaska, but they did find low-end EF-3 damage in Paradise Acres, just north of Highway 190 on the northeast shore of Lake Livingston. Maximum winds were estimated to be 140 mph.
Radar image from around 5:40 PM Wednesday, as an EF-3 tornado was bearing down on Onalaska. (RadarScope)
We’ll update if any new significant findings emerge.
One of the other issues we have had that we’ve touched on from time to time, is dry weather. The latest drought monitor from yesterday shows the northern side of the Houston area mostly drought free, but steadily increasing drought conditions as you go south of the city.
Most of Texas is drought-free. For our area, drought steadily increases as you go south of I-10 or southeast of US-59. (US Drought Monitor)
The entire Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, which has been dominated by a ridge of high pressure for most of the winter and spring, is under some kind of abnormally dry or drought condition. Until that stagnant pattern can break or the daily afternoon thunderstorms of summer fire up, we will probably continue to see most organized storms pass us by to the north. We will keep tabs on things and let you know if that does change of course.
Alright, onto the forecast.
Most areas are crystal clear this morning, but some patchy fog has shown up in a couple spots. Either way, that will clear and we should expect mostly sunshine today with highs making a run for 90° this afternoon.
As a cold front begins to approach the area this evening, it could be carrying some thunderstorms. Areas north of Houston, unfortunately, stand the best chance of seeing these. Those storms could be locally strong to severe north of Houston, but they should be quick moving and the main threats would be isolated damaging wind or hail. Storms should begin to weaken as they approach Houston, and the most likely areas to see rain this evening would be along or east of I-45.
Bottom line: With a cold front approaching this evening, don’t be shocked to see a little rain or hear some thunder for an hour or two.