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updated 10:14 p.m.
The widespread rainfall certainly is welcome, we could have done without the severe weather. A tornado touched down NW of Sundown and there were some large hail reports around Muleshoe and Lamesa. This story has more, including video from near Sundown.
For the rest of tonight things will calm down, with a few weak thunderstorms and showers pushing east. The severe thunderstorms watches have been dropped, there is no risk for severe weather.
updated 7:19 p.m.
The Storm Prediction Center has expanded the severe thunderstorm watch to cover all of the area, including Lubbock. This means there is the potential for storms to produce large hail and damaging wind.
A storm earlier this evening produced a tornado just north of Sundown. We have a news crew headed there, it appears the tornado stayed just north of Sundown. That storm also produced hail to 3" in diameter. It weakened greatly by the time it moved into Levelland.
Storms around this evening will have the potential to produce large hail and damaging wind, though they may weaken some as they continue farther east into a cooler, more stable atmosphere.
SEVERE WATCH: The Storm Prediction Center has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Eastern New Mexico and adjacent counties of the South Plains until 9 CDT. This includes Curry, Roosevelt and Lea counties in New Mexico; Bailey, Cochran, Yoakum, Terry, Gaines and Dawson counties in Texas. In this area storms will have the potential to produce hail larger than 1" diameter and gusts to 60mph.
RAINFALL SO FAR: Some very impressive rain fell across the southeast Texas Panhandle and northeast South Plains. Here are some reports from the National Weather Service:
- 4.02" of rain in Caprock Canyons State Park near the South Prong Campground, Lake Theo was quickly filling
- Water was covering FM 599 near Gasoline at 1:01 p.m....Gasoline is in SE Briscoe County
- Several roads in Motley County had mud and debris on them
- There were several trees and a power pole down around Flomot
- Rock slide on Hwy. 256 east of Silverton from the heavy rain
- FM 104 had water over the road in Cottle County
- Earlier this morning there were several people whose vehicles were stranded in deep water around Clarendon, up in the Panhandle. There was quite a bit of flooding along Hwy. 287 up there
Through 2 p.m. some of the greatest totals on the Texas Tech Mesonet were 3.8" at Caprock Canyons State Park, 3" up at Clarendon, 2.11" at Silverton, 1.86" at Turkey, nearly an inch at Jayton.
This complex of storms will continue to roll east toward the Big Country.
REST OF TODAY: This is the tricky part of the forecast. The complex of storms kicked an outflow boundary, or mini cold front, across our area. We have a tremendous temperature range across the area at mid-afternoon...60s northeast of Lubbock, 70s around Lubbock and the Central South Plains, 80s west around Levelland and 90s Plains and Seminole.
We'll watch that outflow boundary for storm development this afternoon. The hotter, humid airmass is where the greatest instability will be. We do still have a cap to overcome to get storms to fire here. It's still possible the cool, easterly flow behind the outflow boundary will keep things stable here. It's a wait and watch scenario. The terrain is helping lift the atmosphere for showers and storms to our west over New Mexico. We'll also keep an eye west for storms to develop there and drift this way by later tonight.
Where storms develop across the area today there will be the risk for large hail and damaging wind.
TOMORROW: The southerly breeze will kick up, helping to warm it back to the mid 90s, mostly sunny to partly cloudy. Wind S 15-25mph. The NAM model is more aggressive in developing thunderstorms across the western half of the area, most other models aren't as bullish. There could be a few isolated storms west of Lubbock but the chance is low.
EXTENDED OUTLOOK: The high pressure ridge builds across the southern United States and increases its influence on our weather. But it doesn't mean the rain chance is zero. With moisture in place all the way to the mountains some afternoon storms are possible out in New Mexico. An isolated storm could get to the state line, but high pressure should win out eliminating this possibility. Also, the steering flow will be weak, limiting the speed of storms.
TROPICS: Tropical Storm Barry has formed down in the southern Gulf. It is forecast to move west into southern Mexico and fall apart there.
Check back here for updates on the potential for storms through the evening. Caitlin will have a full update to the forecast tomorrow morning.