Severe storms possible during Friday afternoon rush hour in Austin metro area

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Friday forecast for Austin: For the second time in three days, severe weather will roll through the Austin metro area on Friday, possibly delivering large hail and damaging winds, the National Weather Service says.

Levitation Fest has already been grounded because of the threat of severe weather; organizers on Thursday cited safety concerns and the predicted severity of the storms as reasons for canceling the outdoor shows at Carson Creek Ranch, which had been scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Forecasters say threats include hail as large as 2 inches wide and winds with gusts of up 70 mph, and they aren’t ruling out the possibility of a weak isolated tornado. Rain is expected to be limited to about an inch in the urban areas of Austin, but some areas east of Interstate 35 and the metro area could see up to 3 inches of rain, with some isolated spots farther east getting as much as 5 inches through Saturday.

Friday’s thunderstorms could develop as early as 2 p.m. but become more severe as heat increases and temperatures climb into the 80s (It was already 75 degrees at Camp Mabry as of 5 a.m.). The most severe storms could come during the afternoon rush hour, when daily temperatures hit their peak, forecasters say.

The storms will continue into Saturday morning, but may subside by 8 a.m. Sunshine is expected to peek through the clouds later in the day as southeast winds shift to become northeast breezes in the afternoon, the weather service says. A 30 percent chance of rain will remain at night as the evening low slips to 65 degrees.

On Sunday, rain chances will linger at 20 to 30 percent, but sunshine will make a comeback as temperatures peak around 82 degrees. Clouds and the chances for storms will increase Sunday night after 8 p.m.

Yet another round of heavy rain and thunderstorms will arrive on Monday as a strong cold front rolls through the Austin metro area. The cold front will send temperatures to below-normal levels with the thermometer readings peaking no higher than 73. The north winds will erase the heat-trapping humidity and send the nighttime low to a much cooler 59 degrees.

Tuesday’s outlook calls for a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 8 a.m., but skies will turn mostly sunny later in the day, with a high near 76, the weather service says.


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.”

Forecasters offer best guesses for how many hurricanes we’ll see

On Wednesday — as Lower Colorado Meteorologist Bob Rose gave his summer forecast — Rose also noted a few forecasters’ projections for the number of major storms that could hit the United States later this year.

Colorado State University tropical-storm forecaster Phil Klotzbach is anticipating “average activity” — 12 named tropical storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Accuweather, Rose said, is projecting not only a higher number of named storms (24 named storms) but also more hurricanes: eight total, with four falling into the major category and three making landfall.

Joe Bastardi gives himself a little more wiggle room: he is projecting 11 to 14 named storms, six to eight hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes.

Rose said that national forecasts call for a “brutally hot summer” in most the country, as the Benevolent Godzilla El Niño that brought so much rain to Central Texas gives way to its bizarro twin, La Niña. (Do they have air conditioning in Oklahoma?)

Cloudy, muggy Thursday; another round of possibly severe storms Friday

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Thursday forecast for Austin: The National Weather Service says isolated thunderstorms are possible late this afternoon and at night. More storms are expected Friday, over the weekend and through Tuesday. Forecasters say heavy rains are possible Friday and Saturday and may cause localized flooding.

Thursday morning commuters can expect to see areas of patchy fog until 9 a.m. before rain chances increase to 20 percent after 1 p.m. Forecasters say rain chances will grow to 30 percent at night under mostly cloudy skies.

The threat of severe storms returns to the forecast on Friday. The weather service calls for a 50 to 60 percent chance of rain all day and evening. The possibility of severe storms continues overnight into early Saturday morning.

Saturday’s outlook calls for a 40 percent chance of storms, but mainly in the morning. The rest of Saturday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high temperature near 85 degrees. The south-southwest winds that have been bringing warm, humid air will shift, becoming northeast winds in the afternoon. The change should bring mostly clear skies at night and, without the humidity, cooler temperatures as the nighttime low drops to around 65.

Sunshine will return on Sunday, forecasters say, but a 20 percent chance of rain is expected for Sunday night as clouds start to gather again.

By Monday, as a cold front rolls in and is expected to cap temperatures at a mild 76 degrees, the weather service is calling for a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Storms to subside Wednesday; thousands remain without power in Austin

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

6 a.m. update: According to Austin Energy, “by 5 a.m., more than 60 percent of the 22,000 customers who experienced an outage had seen their power restored” after overnight storms rolled through the Austin metro area early Wednesday.

The utility said nearly all customers should expected to have power restored by 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday forecast for Austin: Overnight storms left as many as 19,000 Austin Energy customers without power but the utility’s repair crews are working in the rain to restore electricity.

Around 3:40 a.m., the utility reported 129 active outages affecting the 19,000 customers. By 4:45 a.m., the utility reported that as many as 10,000 customers were still without power, about 1,300 of those in East Austin neighborhoods near Walter E. Long Lake. Austin Energy said it had dispatched 10 restoration crews and 2 tree crews to help restore power throughout the city.

Check Austin Energy’s outage map for updates or to report an outage.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

The overnight rains soaked the Austin metro area with at least a half-inch of rain throughout Austin to almost 2 inches of rain so far in Williamson County. Rain gauges monitored by the Lower Colorado River Authority have reported these rainfall totals in the past 12 hours, as of 5 a.m.:

  • 1.98 inches in Florence in northern Williamson County
  • 1.94 inches near Burnet in Burnet County
  • 0.93 inch near Thrall in eastern Williamson County
  • 0.91 inch near Cedar Park in southern Williamson County
  • 0.88 inch near Lago Vista in western Travis County
  • 0.81 inch near Lakeway in western Travis County
  • 0.7 inch near Pflugerville
  • 0.64 inch at Bull Creek near Loop 360

Meanwhile, first responders scrambled overnight to tackle downed trees and power lines and a house fire.

At 3 a.m., firefighters worked to extinguish a tree fire after a transformer blew near Cherry Lane and Hopi Trail.

Around the same time, Austin police reported that power lines were down at City Park Road and FM 2222, Possum Trot Street and West 11th Street, and Parmer Lane at North Lamar Boulevard. Police also said fallen trees had blocked the following streets:

  • South 1st Street near West William Cannon
  • Woodward Street just north of Ben White Boulevard
  • Wickersham Lane just south of Riverside Drive
  • Carlow Drive
  • Davis Lane just west of Manchaca Road
  • Teri Road at Nuckols Crossing
  • Hammock Drive at Burns Street
  • the eastbound lane of 45th Street at North Lamar Boulevard
  • the cul-de-sac at Hillbilly Lane and Rivercrest Drive
  • South Pleasant Valley at Nuckols Crossing
  • the southbound Interstate 35 service road near Parmer Lane
  • West Koenig Lane near Guadalupe Street
  • Alameda Drive just north of Live Oak Street

Drivers who encounter traffic light outages should treat the intersection as a four-way stop, Austin police said. Power outages reportedly had some traffic signals out, including at Ed Bluestein Boulevard and Loyola Lane.

In North Austin, Lightning struck the roof of a house near Parmer Lane, and the house caught fire, Austin fire officials said. Firefighters responded at 3:08 a.m. to the 12400 block of Knoll Ridge Drive, officials said. Flames were coming through the house’s eaves when firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported, officials said. Firefighters put out the fire by 3:16 a.m., and damage was contained to the roof.

The outlook for Wednesday calls for showers to continue before 7 a.m. Although the rain-cooled air has brought temperatures down to 62 degrees at Camp Mabry in Central Austin, daily high temperatures are still expected to climb to near 90 under partly sunny skies, the National Weather Service says. At night, skies should remain mostly clear and dry as the low temperature slips to around 63.

Rain chances linger on Thursday at around 20 percent, but mainly after 1 p.m., forecasters say. Otherwise Thursday should be mostly sunny with temperatures peaking near 88. By nightfall, rain chances go up to 30 percent, which will lead to muggy conditions. The increased cloud cover and humidity will keep nighttime low temperatures warm, with temperatures dropping only to around 72.

Another round of possibly severe storms is expected to arrive Friday. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, the weather service says, under mostly cloudy skies with temperatures topping out near 86. South-southeast winds of 10 to 15 mph could include gusts as high as 20 mph. Thunderstorms are all but certain by Friday night, as rain chances jump to 70 percent.

Over the weekend, storms will continue to erupt across the Austin metro area on Saturday, delivering more heavy rainfall. But by Saturday night, the skies will clear and bring much cooler temperatures in the mid-60s, forecasters say. Sunshine returns on Sunday with temperatures rising to 82 degrees.

Why green skies before a storm don’t always mean a tornado

Green skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face …

Strong to severe storms are expected in the Austin metro area late Tuesday afternoon and evening. Large hail and damaging winds main threats but forecasters aren’t ruling out the possibility of a weak tornado.

You should stay inside during tonight’s storms. But if you’re out as they approach, or get caught in it, there is a chance — albeit small because it will be nighttime — that you could see something strange: green skies.

It’s a phenomenon so old that sailors from ancient Greece wondered about it, but it’s one that has been reported so often that meteorologists are certain it exists. But as far as the science of meteorology has progressed since ancient Athens’ heyday, it’s still not clear why the sky turns green, according to weather experts at Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

“The most popular theory is that thunderstorms contain a lot of water – often in the form of hail – and this water or ice tends to scatter green light during the strong updrafts that occur in severe storms,” said Brent McRoberts, a postdoctoral research assistant in the atmospheric science department. “That’s why many people say the sky appears green right before a hailstorm.”

The sky can also turn green before a tornado, McRoberts said. Green skies do not necessarily mean a tornado, though, and they may or may not contain hail. But they are almost always a sign that bad weather is on the way, said McRoberts, adding that the main point to keep in mind with green skies is: “You should take cover immediately.”

CaptureThe Statesman’s Amanda O’Donnell posted a blog earlier this month about how drone video taken near Wylie, where grapefruit-sized hail caused severe damage to many homes and vehicles earlier this week, made social media users curious about the strange color of the clouds. The Weather Channel reported that the green glow was from hail about to fall.

 

Severe storms possible Tuesday afternoon, evening; sunshine, heat return Wednesday

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Tuesday forecast for Austin:  Starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing into the evening, scattered thunderstorms, possibly severe, are expected to erupt across Central Texas, the National Weather Service says. The specials on the weather threat menu include: hailstones up to 3 inches wide, damaging winds of 60 mph, and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.

Tuesday should start out muggy with patchy drizzle and fog before 7 a.m., the weather service says, before the hail and storms start pelting the Austin metro area in the afternoon.

Weather service meteorologist Larry Hopper said on Monday that average widespread rainfall won’t be more than a half-inch, but some isolated areas could see 1 to 2 inches of rain. In any case, flash flooding isn’t in the forecast, he said.

“Anytime you got more hail in the storms, that ties up a lot of the water,” Hopper said. “The bad thing, of course, is you get a lot more damage from the hail.”

Once the storms pass, Wednesday’s outlook calls for sunshine and summer-like heat as temperatures climb to around 90.

Clouds will return on Thursday, increasing rain chances from 20 percent in the daytime to about 40 percent at night. By Friday, the weather service says, rain chances will rise to 50 percent as another storm system approaches the Austin metro area.

Muggy start to hot, sunny Monday; look out for severe storms Tuesday night

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Monday forecast for Austin: Monday is already pretty warm — it’s 71 degrees at Camp Mabry in Central Austin, and it’s only 5 a.m. — but the National Weather Service expects temperatures to climb all the way to a summer-like 87 degrees before the day is over. According to the weather service, it’s likely that the current temperature will be the coolest it will get on Monday.

Morning clouds should translate into a muggy start for Monday before giving way to sunshine. At night, a 10 percent chance of storms before 10 p.m. means forecasters can’t completely rule out rain.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

The big weather event is on Tuesday night, when severe storms could erupt in the Austin metro area. Tuesday will start with a 30 percent chance of storms after 1 p.m. before rain chances ramp up to 60 percent in the evening. Forecasters say large hail and damaging winds are expected to be the main storm threats. The northern Hill Country and the Balcones Escarpment, including both Austin and San Antonio metro areas, could see isolated to scattered severe thunderstorms.

By Wednesday, sunshine will return as temperatures rise to near 87. At night, skies will be mostly clear, but a little less muggy as the low temperature slips to around 64, the weather service says.

Rain chances of 20 to 30 percent return on Thursday, but the outlook still calls for partly sunny skies, forecasters say. By Friday, though, rain chances jump to 50 percent as south-southeast winds of 10 to 15 mph could include gusts as high as 20 mph.


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.”

Ozone alert issued Saturday for Austin metro area, but otherwise sunny, warm

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Saturday forecast for Austin: It’s going to a sunny, beautiful day in Austin but with not so clear skies: the state has issued an ozone alert for Saturday in the Austin metro area, which includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties.

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality says conditions in the atmosphere are favorable for producing high amounts of ground-level ozone, which is a smog ingredient generated by a mix of sunshine and pollutants, such as gas engine emissions. Those residents sensitive to air pollutants, including small children and anyone with breathing problems, should remain indoors or avoid exerting themselves outside.

The TCEQ recommends a few ways to mitigate the ozone pollution:

  • Sharing rides, either by carpool or public transportation
  • Riding a bicycle or walking instead of driving
  • Combining errands to avoid making multiple car trips
  • Avoid refueling gas engines until after 6 p.m. when there’s less sunshine

Meanwhile, the rest of the outlook for Saturday calls for a high temperature near 83 and calm winds, according to the National Weather Service. At night, forecasters say we should look for increasing cloudiness as temperatures drop to around 60 degrees.

On Sunday, rain chances return but only a 20 percent chance of storms. It will still be mostly cloudy with a high temperature near 81, the weather service says. At night, the rain chances continue, but the mugginess and increased humidity means the evening low will stay warm and no cooler than 66 degrees.

Sunshine is expected to return Monday as temperatures climb to a summer-like 85 degrees. But increasing clouds and humidity also will resume Monday night, setting the evening low temperature to a balmy 69 degrees.

By Tuesday, sunshine and something akin to summer heat will be on display as temperatures climb to near 86 degrees, forecasters say. Rain chances of up to 40 percent are expected to spoil the mood by nightfall, with evening storms likely to occur before 1 a.m.

Wednesday should also see a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, the weather service says.


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.”

Sunshine makes comeback Friday; clouds gather again by Sunday before hot Monday

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Friday forecast for Austin: Sunshine returns to the Austin metro area on Friday as temperatures are expected to climb to near 82. Northeast winds of 5 to 10 mph will continue to keep the skies clear but also the humidity levels low, which will allow nighttime temperatures to sink to a chilly 57 degrees.

The weekend will start sunny on Saturday as temperatures again are expected to reach near 82, but with southeast winds returning in the afternoon, clouds will increase in the evening.

With the increased cloudiness and more humidity being brought in by the southeast winds, a 30 percent chance of rain returns to the forecast on Sunday. At night, the cloud cover and mugginess will trap radiant heat and keep evening temperatures warmer to around 66 degrees.

By Monday, sunshine makes a partial comeback as temperatures start inching toward a more summer-like high near 86 degrees. South winds around 10 mph will bring more humidity, making the skies at night mostly cloudy but with a low temperature around 69.


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.”

Unnerving sights out of Houston flooding

Capture
Mark Tarello via Twitter

Fully submerged vehicles, water-filled homes and people struggling to make it to safety weren’t the only frightening sights brought by the Houston floodwaters. Animals, just like humans, can be affected and displaced by severe flooding, making for some interactions we aren’t normally prepared for. Twitter users took to the platform to post about a few of the unnerving encounters:

https://twitter.com/Vanessa12News/status/722148014467522560

If the gators aren’t enough to dissuade you from underestimating the dangers posed by floodwaters, consider the rafts made entirely of fire ants that are known to form during severe flooding. No matter what, floodwaters are best avoided if at all possible, and stunts (like the one below) are never a good idea.

You can check today’s Austin weather forecast and weekend outlook here.