The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has a Tornado Watch posted until 3 p.m. this afternoon for parts of eastern Texas and most of western Louisiana. The image below shows the Tornado Watch, along with a radar snapshot taken at 11 a.m. CST. Note the squall line (marking the leading edge of a cold front) that has prompted the watch box.
We've yet to see any tornadoes reported along this line, but there have been numerous reports of wind damage in eastern Texas, primarily in the form of downed trees and powerlines. The image below again shows the watch, but note all of the counties in blue in east Texas. Those represent areas under Severe T-Storm Warnings as of 11 a.m.
The squall line should represent our primary threat for severe weather late tonight into the early morning hours of Thursday. However, we'll need to watch out for any storms developing in advance of the main line by mid to late afternoon. If we see some breaks in the clouds, that could be enough to help some t-storm cells develop in south-central and SE Louisiana later today. For any storms that do develop, there would be plenty of shear in place, indicating a threat of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.
While the current Tornado Watch only extends as far east as Acadiana (Lafayette & surrounding vicinity), the Storm Prediction Center does have most of the WAFB viewing area outlined under a 'slight risk' of severe weather through 6 a.m. Thursday.
The 'slight risk' region shifts eastward on Thursday in anticipation of the eastward movement of the cold front and its associated squall line.
So here's the bottom line:
- Things should be pretty quiet locally through early afternoon.
- We'll be watching for isolated storms to potentially develop in advance of the main line by late afternoon. Any that develop could turn severe.
- The greatest threat of severe weather -- coming primarily in the forms of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes -- will be from late tonight into the early morning hours of Thursday.
- The severe threat ends from west-to-east pretty quickly on Thursday.
We'll bring you any updates on WAFB as needed through the day. You can also follow us on Twitter -- @WAFBweather or @stevecaparotta to have watches/warnings delivered directly to you. And don't forget to check out our free weather app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry if you haven't already done so.