The storms arrived — just about five hours later than originally predicted.
While the storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were not yet as severe as forecast Wednesday night, strong wind gusts, hail and flooding were still possible into early Thursday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Fano.
“The Metroplex isn’t completely out of the woods yet,” he said. “Just because they aren’t severe now doesn’t mean they can’t become severe.”
At 11 p.m., rain, lightning and wind gusts started blowing in through Tarrant County, which was under a severe thunderstorm watch until 2 a.m.
At 12:10 a.m.., the main concern shifted from hail to high winds, the Fort Worth National Weather Service said on Twitter.
“Now that storms have merged into a line, damaging winds are the primary threat as they move through the I-35 corridor and continue eastward,” the agency said in a tweet.
Some parts of the storm line were producing wind gusts over 60 mph. At 11:42 p.m., the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said a wind gust up to 74 mph was reported in Denton County.
“There is considerable damaging wind potential with this storm,” the tweet said.
The storms were predicted to last several hours Wednesday night, most likely ending by 3 a.m. Tarrant County could see wind gusts up to 35 mph and heavy rain, Fano said.
Hail was originally the most serious concern for this set of storms, and there was still a chance of some hail coming down in the Metroplex.
Golf-ball sized hail was reported from the same storm system in Wise and Cooke Counties, Fano said. At about 8:15 p.m., two-inch hail was reported north of Decatur and near Gainesville.
There were more reports of large hail Wednesday night, including hen-egg-size in Montague County and golf-ball size near Bridgeport in Wise County — both northwest of Fort Worth. Half-dollar size hail was reported in Johnson County near Godley.
But most hail reports were closer to quarter size — far less than the baseball size that was predicted.
A flash flood warning had also been issued for parts of Wise, Denton and Cooke counties, where up to 2 inches of rain had fallen.
There were severe thunderstorm warnings, both to the south and north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
So what happened to those rush-hour storms that were predicted?
The layer of warm air above the ground that serves as a cap for thunderstorms held longer than expected and the dry line stayed off to the west while instability from an upper-level disturbance arrived a little behind schedule.
“It took a little while to get going,” Fano said.