Tuesday, January 29, 2013 , Updated 11:18 a.m., January 29, 2013
UPDATED: Fast-moving storms bring strong winds and possible tornado
A tornado watch has been issued for counties to the north and east of Dallas.
Overnight the temperature never dropped below 70 degrees at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, making this one of the warmest mornings ever in January in North Texas. But it won’t officially go down as the low: Temperatures are expected to drop into the 50s before midnight with the passage of a Pacific front that’s churning up a line of storms to the west that’s expected to march into North Texas some time between noon and 2 p.m.
[UPDATE: The storms expected to hit North Texas ’round midday have slowed a bit; forcasters now expect them closer to 2 or 3 p.m., with strong wind still the biggest threat. But meteorologist Jamie Gudmestad of the weather service’s Fort Worth office says a tornado watch has been issued for counties to the north and east of Dallas, among them Collin, Kaufman, Van Zandt, and Rockwall. That watch is expected to last til 7 p.m.]
The National Weather Service doesn’t expect those storms will last long — maybe an hour or so from start to finish, perhaps a little longer if you happen to get caught in a stray storm or shower ahead of the front. And meteorologists aren’t concerned about the possibility of hail or tornadoes.
“Damaging straight-line winds will be the main threat,” says Jason Dunn, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth. “It’s a pretty dynamic system, so it won’t take much to get strong winds out of it.”
Indeed: After the storms pass, expect strong winds from the west — anywhere from 25 to 35 miles per hour, which has resulted in a wind advisory for Tarrant County and points west. Forecasters are concerned about the elevated fire risk, as well as the impact the winds could have on flights into and out of DFW Airport. Gusts as high as 35 miles per hour, says Dunn, “reduces the amount of traffic they can handle on the north side of the runway.” We’ll keep an eye on that.
In the meantime, says Dunn, expect that rain around midday. “There is an hour or two wiggle room on either side” of the 2-to-3 p.m. prediction, says Dunn. “If the line stays broken it may take a little longer to get in here. If it can organize quickly it may get in here a little quicker.”
If nothing else, tomorrow morning it should be in the low 40s, with highs expected to climb into the upper 50s — seasonable, in other words, if only for a day before the 60s return for daytime highs for the foreseeable future.