Tornadoes were reported north and west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area Monday afternoon, with the National Weather Service Fort Worth warning residents of Bowie, Nocona, Decatur, Byrd, Paradise and Saint Jo to take cover shortly after 4:00 p.m. local time.
A tornado was confirmed in Bowie, and significant damage was reported in Jacksboro, including at Jacksboro High School and the Jacksboro Animal Shelter, NBC DFW reported about the community about 80 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Most of north and central Texas are under tornado and severe thunderstorm watches until 10 p.m.
Meteorologists are especially concerned about Monday’s evening rush hour along the I-35 corridor in Texas
About 22 million people are at risk for severe storms Monday across Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, including for possible nocturnal tornadoes that occur after dark, forecasters said.
Nocturnal tornadoes are two and a half times more deadly than their daytime counterparts largely in part to people sleeping and not having a way to get woken up by warnings.
Severe weather is expected through the first half of the week. Forecasters are warning about potential tornadoes, electrical storms, softball-sized hail and winds in excess of 60 mph through Wednesday for much of the South and Mid-Atlantic.
On Sunday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center released a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms (a threat level of 4 on a scale of 5) for Tuesday. The last time a threat level this high was issued that far in advance was ahead of the Easter Sunday outbreak April 12, 2020. That outbreak produced 16 EF3 and EF4 tornadoes.
Snow fell Monday afternoon in Colorado and Kansas along the system’s northern side, with forecasts predicting between 4 and 10 inches and whiteout conditions.
On Tuesday, through the night, 10 million people are at risk for severe storms for what is forecast to be the most dangerous of the three days with a regional tornado outbreak possible. Storms will be ongoing in the morning and continue into the overnight hours.
Cities to watch closely include Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, Tuscaloosa and Mobile, Alabama. Several significant tornadoes are possible along with large hail and strong winds, and noctural tornadoes are again expected to be a risk on Tuesday night.
By Wednesday, the storm system is expected to track east, bringing the risk for all severe hazards once again to 25 million people from northern Florida into much of the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic. Cities to watch midweek include Atlanta, Tallahassee, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina.
In addition to the severe thunderstorms, flash flooding is also a concern across the same regions expecting the severe thunderstorms.
Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour could amount to locally 6 to 7 inches in some spots. The soil in many areas are already fairly saturated and streams are already running high.
The greatest risk for flash flooding through Monday night is in eastern Texas into northwest Louisiana. The greatest risk Tuesday and Tuesday night is across eastern Louisiana into central Mississippi and Alabama.
Dual hazards of severe weather and flash flooding can be challenging for meteorologists to communicate, and for the public to react to, because simultaneous tornado and flash flood warnings have contradictory recommendations for what to do in the event when one is issued. For tornadoes, that action is sheltering below ground. For flash flooding, that action is moving to higher ground.
Meteorologists encouraged everyone in the path of the storms to review their severe weather plan, stay alert, and listen to meteorologists and officials providing lifesaving information. This includes having a way to get warnings, such as enabling emergency alerts and notifications on smartphone devices, or having a NOAA weather radio.