Fort Worth

Golf ball-sized hail and 'a few tornadoes' possible with Friday's storms

Get ready for a stormy Friday evening.

A line of severe thunderstorms is expected to form along a strong cold front late Friday afternoon and could include heavy rain, large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed Dallas and points eastward under an enhanced risk of severe storms (3 on a scale of 5) while Fort Worth has been listed in the slight category (2 on a scale of 5.)

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northern Tarrant and northwestern Dallas counties until 6 p.m., meaning the threat is occurring, imminent or highly likely to occur.

While the greatest threat is for East Texas, forecasters said Tarrant County residents need to pay attention to these storms.

"Fort Worth is certainly fair game," said Jason Godwin, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

"We're probably going to see some hail but we can't rule out a few tornadoes," Godwin said. "I wouldn't be surprised of hail the size of golf balls or larger. It's not out of the question that we'll see that in a few areas."

The Weather Service hasn't ruled out the possibility of tennis-ball sized hail in a few isolated spots.

The cold front was still north of the Red River at 3 p.m. but more storms are expected to develop as it moves south. A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for parts of North Texas, including Tarrant and Dallas counties until midnight.

The greatest tornado threat will be east of Interstate 35, toward Greenville, Paris and Texarkana, Godwin said.

"We have some of the ingredients for tornadoes," Godwin said. "When storms form in a solid line, the threat is typically a little less."

Once the cold front passes expect cold blustery temperatures with 40 mph wind gusts.

By Saturday morning, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s with wind chills in the 20s. The average low temperature for April 7 is 52 degrees, and the record low is 31 set in 1971.

"If you have plants that are particularly sensitive, you need to take precautions," Godwin said.

The latest freeze at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport occurred on April 13. It happened in both 1957 and 1997.

West and northwest of Fort Worth, a freeze warning is in effect for Mineral Wells, Bridgeport and Decatur with freezing or below freezing temperatures predicted between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday.

Just west of Fort Worth in Parker County, which is known for its peaches, the predicted low is 34 degrees, but Godwin said, "They could be pretty close to freezing."

Temperatures will warm up on Sunday with highs in the upper 60s.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna
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