Scattered light rain showers mixed with sleet will move across East Texas Wednesday morning.
Surface temperatures are well above freezing so no travel problems are expected. Low level dry air is causing rain to evaporate as it falls to the surface. This is causing the drops to cool to the freezing mark allowing sleet to form.
As more moisture moves into the area the sleet will stop and East Texas will only see scattered light rain showers off and on Wednesday.
A strong storm system will move across the Great Plains Thursday, dragging a cold front through East Texas in the morning. Along this front a line of strong to severe thunderstorms will develop and race off to the east. These strong will be capable of producing strong gusty winds and hail but the tornado threat appears low at this time.
The wind field across East Texas is very favorable for tornado development Thursday. In fact, this is the type of set up that would typically produce wide spread severe thunderstorms with long track tornadoes. However Thursday's thunderstorms as they move through East Texas will be what we call "elevated thunderstorms." This means the air rising into the thunderstorm will originate above the cooler air at the surface, or around 5000'. In order to get thunderstorms to produce tornadoes the air must originate from the surface allowing the tornado to touch the ground. But with that said, the winds around 5000' will be around 70 miles per hour so any thunderstorm will be capable of producing very strong winds.
In addition to strong winds, large hail will be possible with a few of the storms. Mid level temperatures tomorrow are very cold which would allow for the tallest storms to produce hail between the size of quarters and golf balls. Right now it does not appear the large hail threat will be as great as the winds threat but I do expect a few severe hail reports.
So what time will we see these storms move through the area? Right now it looks as though the line of storms will move east of Dallas around 8 a.m. and enter our western counties around 10 a.m. Then the line will progress through the Tyler and Longview areas between 11 a.m. and noon followed by our eastern counties between noon and 2 p.m. Shortly after the line moves through we should see skies clear and much of East Texas will probably be sunny before Thursday is over.
Again this is a developing situation. If the lower level warm air moves farther north than expected much of East Texas would be under a significant risk for tornadoes. Right now it looks as though this warm air will be confined to the Gulf Coast regions. Everyone across East Texas need to pay attention to the latest weather information and if you have not done so please go to your smart phones app store and download the KLTV weather app.
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