March 14, 2014

Severe storms possible in DFW on Saturday

“Keep an eye on the sky”: Thunderstorms predicted for Saturday could bring hail and damaging wind, as well as an inch of rain, forecasters say.

The weather could turn frightful Saturday — or beautiful — depending on your outlook.

“We have a chance for severe thunderstorms with hail and damaging winds,” said Jennifer Dunn, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth. “The outlook covers all of North Central Texas, but the greatest threat could be just to the east of Tarrant County.”

Storms with winds averaging 60 to 70 mph could blow into the area in the afternoon or early evening, Dunn said.

“This doesn’t mean that we’ll definitely get severe weather,” Dunn said. “Just keep a weather radio near you or check weather sources throughout the day. Keep an eye on the sky.”

The good news is that the storm could drop up to an inch of rain on parched landscapes, Dunn said.

“It’s looking like, in the Tarrant County area, somewhere between a half and 1 inch of rain is possible,” she said. “It would definitely be helpful.”

That’s an understatement. The area has had 0.84 inch of precipitation since Jan. 1, nearly 5 1/2 inches below normal, Dunn said. That’s the third-driest start to the year on record, and it exacerbates the drought plaguing the region.

“From October 2010 to February of 2014, DFW Airport is 30.7 inches below normal,” Dunn said. “Meacham is 34 inches below normal. Denton is 40.25 inches below normal.”

The most recent significant rain in Tarrant County was Dec. 21, when 1.48 inches fell, Dunn said.

Another positive aspect of the forecast is that no freezes are predicted in the next seven days, Dunn said. But we’re not out of the cold yet.

“The roller coaster of temperatures is coming again this weekend,” Dunn said. “The high Saturday is in the 70s. But by Sunday, we’ll be back to the 50s.”

Overnight lows Sunday are expected to be 33 to 35. The area’s average last freeze day is March 13, Dunn said.

“We’ve been known to have cold snaps in April,” she said. “But we’re transitioning into the spring season, which is climatologically our wettest season.”

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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