Pay attention on your drive home Thursday evening — the threat for severe thunderstorms is increasing across North Texas.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch that’s effective until 10 p.m. for the western half of North Texas, including Tarrant and Dallas counties.
“It's not a guarantee we're going to see thunderstorms but if we do, we have extraordinary instability,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Huckaby.
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport has already reached 93 degrees, which makes this the hottest day of the year, and dew points are around 70 degrees. In other words, it’s perfect cocktail for severe storms.
“If these storms get going, we're talking large hail and maybe baseball-size hail with 70 mph winds,” Huckaby said. “The greatest tornado threat will be west of the Metroplex.”
Tornado warnings were being issued across southwestern Oklahoma.
But the storms that could impact Tarrant County are expected to form in the Abilene-San Angelo area.
“We’ll see them approaching,” Huckaby said. “They’ll be racing our way.”
Not everyone is expected to see storms. The one thing that could slow them down is a cap of dry air about 5,000 feet above the ground. But Huckaby said the cap is expected to weaken or lift later this afternoon.
“That cap is pretty hard to maintain,” Huckaby said. “In the meantime, we're just percolating all of this unstable air, which means the storms could even stronger if the cap dissipates.”
The Storm Prediction Center has raised the risk for severe storms to enhanced, which is the third-most-serious category.
This won’t be the only threat for severe storms. Forecasters are predicting another round late Friday afternoon with rain continuing into Friday night and Saturday.
11.32 Rainfall recorded at DFW Airport since Jan. 1, which is 2.75 inches below normal.
Forecasters say two and a half inches could fall between Thursday and Monday.
And the rain is needed. Since Jan. 1, 11.32 inches have fallen at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, which is 2.75 inches below normal.