Monday forecast for Austin: For the first time in almost a month, rain is back in the forecast — and the rainfall might not let up until Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The work week will begin with two waves of strong to severe storms, each late in the day Monday and Tuesday, forecasters say. The weather service isn’t ruling out the possibility of tornadoes.
Our weather story begins in California, where an El Nino-inspired storm system is dumping rain along the coasts and snow in the mountains on Monday. The system will move quickly into northern Mexico and far south Texas by Monday night and, when coupled with warm, moist air from the Gulf, could produce storms in the Hill Country and the western parts of the Austin metro area.
The rain should continue into Tuesday morning, the weather service says, with brisk south-southeast winds that could include gusts as high as 25 mph.
A worse storm threat looms Tuesday night as a fast-moving squall line of severe thunderstorms is expected to roll through the Austin metro area, with temperatures climbing to a muggy 80 degrees, the weather service says. The complex of storms could deliver hail and damaging winds as it erupts over the Hill Country in the afternoon. Forecasters say an isolated tornado or two east of Interstate 35 is a possibility.
The bigger question is: How much rain are we going to get?
Parts of the Austin metro area could get 2 to 4 inches of rain by Tuesday through Wednesday, the weather service says, with heavier pockets of rain east of I-35.
Do lake levels need some goosing from heavy rains? Always, some say, but levels at Lake Travis are holding steady, and the Lower Colorado River Authority says it is 95 percent full. Meanwhile, the combined storage for lakes Travis and Buchanan, which provide water for Central Texas residents, is at 90 percent full.
Rain chances of at least 50 percent continue on Wednesday.
Statesman Weather app keeps Central Texans forewarned
The all-new American-Statesman weather app is available for iPhone and Android devices. Statesman Weather features include radar, a 7-day forecast, real-time severe weather alerts, as well as the latest weather news and social sharing. Download for free in the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores by searching for “Statesman Weather.”