Rain shrouded Texas tornado amid severe weather in south-central US

·2 min read

Tornado watches and warnings were in effect early Friday afternoon in central Texas as storm chasers warned of dangerous twisters shrouded by rainfall.

A large cloud wall darkened the sky near Fort Hood, Texas, where Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer was storm chasing just before 4 p.m. CDT. But even through the rain and cloud cover, Timmer pointed to where danger likely lurked in the form of a rain-wrapped tornado.

"Here you can see the storm -- very low wall cloud, very likely wedge right in this vicinity," Timmer said. "You can see the clear slot as well."

The "clear slot," or the rear flank downdraft, of a tornado is a region of dry air associated with air flowing down out of a tornado-producing thunderstorm. They often present as a horseshoe-shaped pattern in the cloud base. The north side of this horseshoe shape is the most likely place for the formation of a tornado, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).


"Important: you will not be able to clearly see this coming as it is completely rain-wrapped! Make sure to be in your safe space!" the NWS office in Fort Worth warned just after 3:30 p.m. local time.

Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer intercepted a possible rain-wrapped tornado near Gatesville, Texas, on Friday afternoon. (AccuWeather/Reed Timmer)

"Severe thunderstorms were quick to fire over central Texas Friday afternoon as a large-scale storm system dove southeastward across the state," AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley said. "One storm, in particular, brought severe hail up to 3 inches in diameter and damaging wind gusts of 60-65 mph. Strong rotation was also evident with this storm."

The large hailstones fell over Hamilton, Texas, shortly before 2:30 CDT, and while the NWS Storm Prediction Center didn't list confirmed tornado reports as of Saturday morning, it noted a wind gust of 76 mph in Bell County, Texas.

Power outages in central Texas began to rise amid the storm, particularly in Bell County, where over 7,000 customers were without power at one point late Friday, according to PowerOutage.US.

The storms also impacted air travel to a degree. Over 250 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were delayed Friday, with another 50 canceled, according to FlightAware.

AccuWeather meteorologists warn of additional rounds of severe weather across the South through this weekend. However, the threat has since shifted out of Texas, where drier, more tranquil conditions have since moved in for any necessary cleanup operations.

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