National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Fire Weather Threat Continues in California; Wintry Conditions in Northern Rockies, Great Lakes & Northeast

Gusty winds and low humidity will again result in elevated to critical fire weather conditions across portions of California through the weekend. Meanwhile, a cold front will bring rain and high elevation snowfall to the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Areas of snow and seasonably chilly temperatures will also persist near the Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast. Read More >

Rain returns to the region Saturday and Sunday. The rain will spread into the region from the south Saturday afternoon and evening, and exit the region to the east on Sunday morning. Highest rain chances are Saturday night along and east of Interstate 35/35W. Rainfall totals are generally expected to be less than a half of an inch, but some heavier amounts are possible across our eastern and southernmost counties.
Today will be mostly sunny and seasonably cool with highs in the middle and upper 50s. The wind will be northwest 5 to 10 mph.
While plentiful cloud cover will exist on Saturday, the lower- levels of the atmosphere will remain quite dry north of I-20. The combination of the dry air and strong southerly winds will result in an elevated fire weather threat during the afternoon. Exercise great care if any outdoor activities could result in fire ignition!
Maybe you've heard a rumor about wintry weather before Christmas? It's true, some of the forecast data does suggest a weather pattern favorable for winter weather. However it's such a long way out, weather forecasters have to deal with uncertainty. One of the best ways to show uncertainty is with probabilities. Hear's a chart that shows the highest probability of a certain type of weather December 21st through December 25th. See why snow and ice may be possible, but the most likely forecast is cold and dry.
Forecast models are showing cold air arriving next week around December 22nd and 23rd (on average). What we do not know for sure yet is exactly when the cold air arrives, how cold temperatures will be, and if there will be any precipitation and what kind. We will be providing updates when/as we acquire better confidence in the late week forecast.
With very little rainfall the past several weeks, widespread moderate to severe drought has overspread much of the region. Burn bans are in effect for many counties across the region due to the resultant increased fire danger.
Another cold front will move into the region this evening and overnight. This front will result in a north wind shift, but gusty winds are not expected until Thursday. Low temperatures tonight and Thursday morning will be in the 30s for most locations.

 
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April 3rd 2012 Severe Weather Outbreak

Rockwall/Hunt County Tornado

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth have given portions of the damage near Royse City a preliminary rating of EF-2, with estimated wind speeds up to 135 mph. The tornado had a path length of 3.1 miles and a maximum width of 400 yards. Additional information will be added to this page as it becomes available.

...Preliminary findings from the Kaufman, Rockwall and Hunt County surveys...

On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, a crew from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth surveyed the damaged areas in the Forney and Royse City areas in Kaufman, Rockwall, and Hunt Counties.

The findings were that two tornadoes affected the area.

The first tornado remained in Kaufman County throughout its time on the ground and initially touched down near Forney southwest of Highway 80. This tornado produced damage consistent with an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. The maximum path width was about 150 yards with an estimated path length of 8 miles. The maximum wind speeds are estimated to have been at 150 mph. The most intense damage associated with this tornado occurred in the Diamond Creek subdivision northeast of Forney. Two homes were completely destroyed in this subdivision and several others were heavily damaged. As the tornado moved north-northeast through the subdivision it produced damage primarily to the roof of Crosby Elementary school.

There were also several vehicles damaged in the schools parking lot, one of which was lofted approximately 300 yards away from the school and found in a field to the northeast. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported with this tornado.

Royse City Tornado

The second tornado touched down just southwest of Farm to Market road 548 near Bent Road in Rockwall County. This tornado moved northeast into Hunt County and lifted north of Highway 276 just across the Hunt County line. This tornado produced damage consistent with a strong EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. The maximum path width was about 400 yards with an estimated path length of 3.1 miles. Damage associated with this tornado began in the subdivision near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 548 and Bent Road. One home was mostly destroyed within the subdivision and several others sustained heavy damage. The tornado continued its path to the northeast, damaging several homes along country manor road. The tornado continued its northeastward path through Rockwall County crossing State Highway 276 towards Hunt County. As it moved into Hunt County, it destroyed two mobile homes and damaged two others. The tornado caused heavy damage to another home in Hunt County before lifting.

Tornado Damage near Royce City, Texas
A picture of the scope of tornado damage south of Royse City in Rockwall County.
 This damage has been rated as a high end EF-2, likely caused by tornado wind
speeds of 130 to 135 mph.