The line of storms that caused tornado warnings for most of North Texas stretched from central Texas to Oklahoma. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is under a tornado watch until 10 p.m., but the National Weather Service allows the tornado warning to expire after 19.00. A watch means that conditions can create a tornado; a warning means radar detected a touch down. But the threat of severe weather will likely be east of Dallas by 8 p.m. Rain is likely to continue through the evening.
The storm brought wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour. Transformers blew in Uptown. Oncor’s outage map shows 281,000 customers without power as of 7:12 p.m., most of whom are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. About 104,000 of those are in Dallas County, 92,000 in Tarrant County, 50,000 in Collin County and 16,000 in Denton County.
Here is our previous post:
A tornado warning is in effect for Dallas, Lancaster and Duncanville until Sirens indicating severe weather sounded throughout Dallas, and there were reports of a possible tornado or tornadoes in the Cockrell Hill, I-35 and Westmorland area, south of Fair Park, and near downtown Dallas and the Trinity River.
The National Weather Service reported that a major storm line was on track to hit Dallas-Fort Worth between 6 and 8 p.m., with the bulk of the concern focused on damaging winds. Just before 6 p.m., the National Weather Service reported that the storm had arrived in Tarrant County, bringing winds that could exceed 80 mph, especially in the cities between Dallas and Fort Worth. A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect until at least 7.15pm
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth (so far) says the system it expects to produce severe weather is on track to arrive in North Texas tonight.
Earlier in the day, the agency upgraded the area from increased risk to moderate, the agency’s second most pressing outlook for the system. That means parts of North Texas could experience wind gusts up to 75 mph, large hail and possibly tornadoes. In Mineral Wells, wind gusts hit 71 mph as the storm moved through.
“Late afternoon to early evening, a cold front will move across central Texas,” NWS meteorologist Emily Thornton said in a Thursday morning briefing. “The expectation is that the afternoon thunderstorms will organize into a line of storms as they move east.”
A severe thunderstorm watch (meaning conditions are favorable for storms) was issued around at 1 p.m. for areas west of Mineral Wells and Denton, and by 3 p.m. the agency had issued a tornado watch for most of north-central Texas. Thornton said DFW will be most prone to hail between 2 and 8 p.m. and most prone to tornadic activity between 3 and 8 p.m.
Ahead of the storms, both Dallas ISD and Fort Worth ISD canceled after-school activities and athletic events. About 17 percent of flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and another 12 percent of flights at Dallas Love Field had been canceled so far, according to FlightAware.com.
Experts (including Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management and the NWS) recommend some basic storm preparations that include identifying the most interior space in your home (if you don’t have a tornado shelter), as well as gathering important papers and must-have medications. It is also useful to have sturdy shoes nearby, and flashlights with fresh batteries.
After several tornadoes in 2011, researchers found that children wearing some kind of helmet or in car seats also survived with minimal injuries when tornadoes hit their homes.
We will update this post throughout the afternoon.
Bethany Erickson is a senior digital editor for D Magazine. She has written about real estate, education policy, the stock market and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.