National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

National Weather Service Lubbock Significant Weather Events
July 5-7, 2016: Severe weather and Oppressive Heat
Looking west at thunderstorms across Lubbock around 7:30 pm Wednesday evening
Some non-severe storms moving into Lubbock around 7:30 pm Wednesday evening (6 July 2016)

July 4th weekend and much of the following week brought some active weather to the Texas South Plains region this year. Hot temperatures prevailed (see section on heat below), while scattered t-storms developed during the late afternoon and evening hours some days.

Lubbock was hit with back to back severe storms on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, large hail up to the size of quarters fell across the south side of town. A different storm produced golf ball-sized hail near the town of Spade in Lamb County. On Wednesday, severe wind gusts were reported across much of Lubbock, including up at the airport. The winds knocked down power lines and caused power outages across the city. Later that evening, a different storm developed across the far southern Texas Panhandle. This storm took aim at Childress, and produced 75 to 85 mph wind gusts around 8:30 pm. This caused widespread wind damage across town.

This first radar image below is of the severe hail-producing storm approaching Lubbock from the southwest late Tuesday afternoon.

Radar image from Lubbock Tuesday afternoon
Radar image from the Lubbock WSR-88D around 5 pm on Tuesday, July 5th.

This next radar image is from the storm with severe wind gusts moving across Lubbock on Wednesday:
Radar image from Lubbock Wednesday afternoon
Radar image from the Lubbock WSR-88D around 5:50 pm on Wednesday, July 6th.

This photo we took with our office tower camera of the dense rain curtain moving across southwest Lubbock. This was associated with what we call a "wet microburst" - which occurs when the thunderstorm produces a strong surge of wind and rain.

photo of a wet microburst moving into Lubbock
Photo of the wet microburst moving across town around 5:50 pm, Wednesday, July 6th.

The radar image below shows the severe thunderstorm moving across the Childress area Wednesday evening:
image from the Lubbock radar showing a severe thunderstorm approaching Childress Wednesday evening
Radar image from the Lubbock WSR-88D around 8:40 pm on Wednesday, July 6th.

Here is an example of the wind damage in Childress. The severe gusts up to 85 mph blew over awnings at several gas stations, knocked over several billboards and a brick wall. Numerous trees and powerlines were blown down, causing widespread power outages.
A bank sign blown over in Childress
A bank sign blown over in Childress. The photo is courtesy the Red River Sun.

Part II: Extreme Heat!

The heat began on the 4th of July holiday weekend as a ridge of high pressure aloft built over New Mexico, Texas and the southern plains. Despite scattered shower and t-storm activity almost every evening, the heat built up across the area and peaked up on the Caprock Thursday the 7th.

Here's a table of Lubbock's temperatures through the period. Records either tied or broken have an asterisk. This is the hottest ever July 2 through July 7 in Lubbock's climate record. Lubbock's average temperatures for the period are approx. 93 for the high and 67 for the low.


Sat., July 2 99 71
Sun., July 3 99 69
Mon., July 4 102 70
Tue., July 5 100 76*
Wed., July 6 105* 75
Thu., July 7 109* 76*


High temperatures across the area on Thursday, July 7th:
High temperatures on Thursday
High temperatures across the region for Thursday, July 7th from the West Texas Mesonet (Does not include the 109 at the Lubbock airport)

High temperatures across the area on Wednesday, July 6th:
High temperatures on Wednesday
High temperatures across the region for Wednesday, July 6th from the West Texas Mesonet (Does not include the 105 at the Lubbock airport)