I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas. The day began with some fast-moving storms which produced a tornado and knocked out power for some. The confirmed tornado occurred in Crockett, some 100 miles northeast of Houston just after 9:00 am. This picture comes from Larry Seward, a reporter at KHOU, sent to cover the damage aftermath:
Unfortunately, in Tomball, someone lost their life when high winds toppled a tree. Here's a complete summary of initial damage reports from the NWS: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=HGXLSRHGX. All of this rough weather for the first half of the day came courtesy of a large storm system which emerged out of West Texas. Warm, moist air drawn in from the Gulf collided with colder air plunging out of the Central Plains. Combine that with a sharp narrow band of jet stream energy and you have the ingredients for severe weather.
Now, that system is headed into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia, where it has the potential to produce more widespread, longer lasting tornadoes. If you have relatives in those places, call them and let them know to be on alert.
Meanwhile, as cold air pours in behind the system, rain rapidly changed to snow from the Panhandle to Dallas. If you are there or know folks who are, please share those pictures of a White Christmas. We won't see snow anywhere near us, but the gusty northwest winds that have been blowing for most of the afternoon will be followed by a cold blast that will last for several days. So I hope you found a warm sweater or coat under that tree today. Here's a look at low temperatures expected tonight:
TONIGHT: Clear and breezy becoming much colder by morning. Many locations north of I-10 will fall below freezing for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Close to freezing in Houston and upper 30s along the coast. Northwest winds 20-25 mph decreasing to 8-12 mph by morning.
WEDNESDAY'S NORMAN NUMBER: 7
WEDNESDAY: Sunny but much cooler than the past few days. Highs may not climb above 50°, especially north of Houston. North winds 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY'S NORMAN NUMBER: 6
THURSDAY: Even colder start with sunshine, bu rapidly becoming cloudier by afternoon. Highs in the mid 50s. Winds northeast becoming east 5-10 mph.