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The weater should be pretty active across the region next few days. The good news is the rain potential looks decent here. We finished March with only a trace of rain at the airport. We did have some good downpours in central and south Lubbock Friday, but only a trace at the official rain gauge. We end the month 1.10" below the monthly average. YTD total is 2.23", which is 0.27" below the average.
WEATHER SETUP: It's a mild morning with 40s and 50s across the area. The air is relatively dry with dew points in the 30s and 40s. Better moisture is downstate, dew points in the 50s and 60s. Some of this moisture will return to the area in advance of a large upper-level storm system that this morning is moving onshore across California. That storm system will improve our chance for rain by tomorrow.
TODAY: High in the 70s and low 80s, turning partly cloudy this afternoon, S/SE wind 10-18mph. There is a chance for thunderstorms after 4 p.m., generally Lubbock and points east. Here are the forecast temps:
A cold front in the Panhandle will push south. We should also see the dry line take shape somewhere across the western or central South Plains. Models don't have a consensus on where these surface boundaries will wind up by peak heating, which limits our confidence on just where storms should form. The dry line is the boundary with humid air to its east. The front in the Panhandle will have warm air to its south. South it's south and east of those boundaries where instability will increase.
SEVERE POTENTIAL: The Storm Prediction Center's early-morning outlook has much of our area in the risk area for severe weather:
Main threats are hail to the size of golf balls and strong wind gusts. An isolated tornado is possible, but the chance is low. Moisture will be somewhat limited, but will improve into the evening. With a number of surface boundaries in place it'll promote rotation within these storms.
TOMORROW: The front pushes south and the rain chance really improves. Models have had a tremendous range on where the front will be, but are coming a little closer in line. It looks like the front will be south of Lubbock by the aftenroon, but maybe not south of Hwy. 180. If you wind up south of the front you'll be in the risk for severe weather tomorrow. Right now the SPC is highlighting the Permian Basin.
There will be a large range in high temp, from 40s at Amarillo, low 50s for our northern counties, near 60 Lubbock, mid 70s Hobbs and Seminole. This is all based on the front moving through during the day. If the front is stronger than Lubbock may only make the low 50s.
There could be some rain around in the morning. The rain chance gets better tomorrow afternoon all the way through Wednesday morning. Some thunderstorms are possible, but the severe threat will stay south of the front.
Into Wednesday morning it could get cold enough to support a rain-snow mix over the Panhandle, maybe as far south as Hwy. 86, around Bovina and Dimmitt. Even around Amarillo it'll be too warm for significant accumulations.
LATER THIS WEEK: It'll warm back into the 80s. The dry line could become established for some isolated thunderstorms, but right now it looks like typical early April fashion...the moisture and storms well east of Lubbock.
Check back here for updates through the day. Rudy will have a complete update later today.