Hailstorms cause DFW power outages, lightning fires; more storms forecast this weekend

Jack Howland
·3 min read

Thunderstorms producing hail as large as ping pong balls hit parts of Dallas-Fort Worth Thursday night, leading to problems like power outages and lightning fires.

McKinney firefighters were working three possible lightning fires late Thursday, all in the same area near Challis Trail, the department said in a Facebook post. A photo from the department showed orange flames rising from a roof as pellets of what appear to be hail fall from the sky.

The largest hail in the region, measured to be one and a half inches, was reported in McKinney, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

The storm also left 1,162 Oncor customers in Tarrant County and 565 in Dallas County without power, as of 9:15 a.m. Friday morning, according to the company’s outage map. The issues resulted from “frequent lightning and hail,” Oncor said in an weather alert.

Storms began to across the region between around 9 p.m. Thursday, bringing rain, lightning and as bursts of hail. Social media was filled with reports of hail in areas northeast of DFW, such as Prosper, Frisco and The Colony, as residents held up clusters of the frozen stuff. Many people noted it was a strange transition, going from the snow and sleet of last week to thunderstorms and hail.

There was expected to be some areas of fog until 11 a.m. Friday, with overcast conditions, before it becomes sunnier throughout the day, according to the weather service.

The agency, however, is warning Thursday’s storms could be just the beginning, with more rain, lightning and hail anticipated Saturday and Sunday.

The rain is forecast to come back Saturday morning sometime after 10 a.m., before it transitions into thunderstorms after noon, according to Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist with the weather service. There could be more hail with the storms from the afternoon into the night, she said, noting anywhere across the DFW region could be “fair game.” The strongest storms are expected to come at night, she said.

A cold front is approaching on Sunday, which is expected to bring more storms after noon, Barnes said. The main dangers, she said, “are still going to be hail and damaging winds.”

“I think the best advice is just stay aware of the weather,” she said. “I know as we get into the weekend, we can get busy and distracted, so just staying aware of the weather at all times, knowing that there is a possibility of severe weather, will definitely help you.”

Though it’s hard to predict how large the hail pellets will be on Saturday and Sunday, Barnes said they will likely be around an inch in diameter, possibly slightly bigger. It shouldn’t be all that different from Thursday night, she said.

A hazardous weather outlook issued by the weather service warns hail and damaging winds could impact areas of the region, as well as heavy rain that could result in minor flooding.

Barnes said the thunderstorms conditions this weekend are in part caused by the combination of warm and then cold weather as of late, creating instability. There’s lift in the atmosphere to produce storms.

The high temperature was expected to be around 63 on Friday, according to the weather service forecast. Highs are then expected to be around 68 on Saturday, 65 on Sunday and 56 on Monday.

There’s a chance for rain showers on Monday after noon, the forecast shows.