Severe Thunderstorms and Drought-Helping Rain Headed For Southern Plains Beginning Friday

Brian Donegan
Published: April 19, 2018

An area of low pressure will lumber eastward across the South through this weekend, triggering the development of a few severe storms while also bringing much-needed rainfall to the parched southern High Plains.

(MORE: More April Snow Expected in Midwest, Plains and Rockies This Week)

That low will sweep a cold front eastward across the southern Plains while somewhat moist air from the Gulf of Mexico spreads northward. This will lead to the development of showers and thunderstorms throughout the south-central states.

This is the forecast setup for possible severe thunderstorms on Friday.

Although some of the storms may produce large hail and/or damaging winds, we do not expect a widespread outbreak of severe thunderstorms at this time.

Below is our latest forecast thinking on the timing and magnitude of the severe threats beginning Friday as well as an outlook for drought-helping rain.

(MORE: Severe Weather Central)

Severe Weather Forecast

Friday-Friday Night

  • Forecast: A few severe thunderstorms may fire up across the southern High Plains, from southeastern New Mexico into parts of West Texas.
  • Threats: Large hail is the primary threat, though some damaging wind gusts are also possible. Dry thunderstorms may also spark fires. 
  • Cities: Lubbock, Texas | Midland/Odessa, Texas | Roswell, New Mexico

Friday's Forecast

Saturday-Saturday Night

  • Forecast: Isolated severe storms are possible from parts of central and eastern Texas into southern Louisiana.
  • Threats: Damaging wind gusts, large hail and an isolated tornado or two are possible.
  • Cities: San Antonio | HoustonAustin, Texas | Lake Charles, Louisiana

Saturday's Forecast

Some additional severe thunderstorms are possible Sunday farther east along the immediate Gulf Coast, but the exact placement and details of this threat remain uncertain at this time.

(MORE: Alabama Hailstone in March Now an Official State Record)

Drought-Helping Rainfall

Another factor to consider from this system is the potential for some desperately-needed rain, possibly a soaker in spots, over the worsening drought in the southern High Plains.

Amarillo, Texas, could see its first rainfall event of a half inch or more since early last October. Just a quarter inch of rain has fallen there since Oct. 14, 2017.

Rainfall Forecast Through Saturday

Other parts of parched western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, northwest Texas and northeast New Mexico will see generally less than an inch of rain through Saturday.

This rain is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to drought recovery, but it should be a help to the extreme wildfire danger that has been in place of late.

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