UPDATE 12/23/2009 07:01pm: Click here to see incredible photos and video of the tornado in the Longview area.
UPDATE 12/23/2009 05:38pm: There are numerous reports of several tornados having touched down in East Texas. We have reporters on their way to the areas affected most by the storms to gather information and assess the damage sustained across East Texas. Take a look at the pictures East Texans have sent in this afternoon and evening.
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A strong storm system will finally move into East Texas Wednesday and with it, a threat for severe weather, including tornadoes. Out ahead of this system, very moist air from the Gulf of Mexico is surging north across the Lone Start State. We are even seeing a few breaks in the clouds this morning and that could lead to extra instability Wednesday afternoon.
Winds out ahead of this system Wednesday afternoon will increase out of the southeast around 18 mph gusting as high as 25 mph. This will help set the stage for the turning of wind with height that could lead to tornado development in the afternoon and evening. The greatest risk of tornadoes appears to be from Tyler to Longview to Marshall and points south from 4PM through the overnight hours. Scattered thunderstorms will develop ahead of the cold front during this time and it will be these scattered storms with the best chance to rotate. A strong line of storms will develop late Wednesday night around the Metroplex and race east early Thursday morning. Along this line we will see the possibility of strong winds and even an isolated tornado, although the tornado threat will not be as high as it will with any discreet storm Wednesday afternoon and evening.
After this strong line of storms moves through, very cold air will rush in Christmas Eve. Many of our forecast models are now indicating all the moisture may not be out of the area before the cold air moves in, especially north of I-20. What does this mean? It means there is a chance areas north of I-20 could see a few snow flurries. It all depends on the exact track of the upper low pressure system Thursday. If this system moves farther south, the chance of snow could move into the Tyler and Longview areas however, no accumulation is anticipated at this time. Right now, it does appear there could be a light accumulation north of I-30 and if you are planning travel into Oklahoma, several inches of snow could accumulate Thursday.
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