Updated May 8, 2019 - Science

Tornado outbreak erupts over southern plains, Texas panhandle

Severe thunderstorms are erupting over parts of the southern Plains and Texas that could spawn strong tornadoes, damaging straight line winds and baseball-sized hail, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Thought bubble from Axios Science editor Andrew Freedman: The risk for tornadoes, including several strong tornadoes, is elevated particularly over the Texas Panhandle and a slice of far western Oklahoma. It's unusual for NOAA's Storm Prediction Center to forecast a tornado risk quite this high, which indicates their confidence that the ingredients necessary for such phenomena are likely to come together.

  • These include warm, humid air, winds that are blowing in different directions and/or speeds with height and a strong trigger to force the air to rise, cool and condense into towering thunderstorms.

Details: The severe storm threat was pushing east overnight, becoming more of a damaging wind and heavy rain concern into central Oklahoma in particular, where tornado warnings were issued. Texas also continued to be under threat from possible tornadoes, and Dallas saw strong storms on Wednesday morning.

What to watch: The coming storms could worsen already unprecedented floodingthat has caused billions of dollars in damage in the Central U.S.

What's new: Oklahoma meteorologists reported flooding was a major threat in El Reno on Tuesday morning, with 3.5 inches of rain falling by 3:40 a.m, according to Koco-5 Oklahoma City meteorologist Shelby Hays.

Go deeper