Damaging Winds and ‘Very Large Hail’ Hit Central Texas


Another round of powerful storms brought rain, high winds and large hail to Texas on Tuesday, causing hundreds of thousands of utility customers to lose power and ground stops to be put in place for several hours at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Just as the region was recovering from deadly tornadoes over the weekend, sirens rang out early on Tuesday morning, as the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for areas east of Dallas that expired at 8:15 a.m. local time.

“Take cover now!” said a message early Tuesday from the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. The storms included damaging winds, with gusts as high as 70 miles per hour, and hail the size of golf balls, the Weather Service said on social media.

Forecasters also issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of Texas until noon and warned of strong to severe thunderstorms starting in the late afternoon. Flash flooding could occur in northern and central Texas and in southern Oklahoma, forecasters said.

More than 760,000 customers were without power in Texas as of 9:30 a.m. local time, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utilities data. Dallas County Elections said the severe weather delayed the start of the runoff planned for Tuesday.

Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, said that the Federal Aviation Administration had grounded flights to and from the airport between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. About 90 flights had been canceled for the day, and a number of flights had been diverted to other airports, he said.

The likelihood of severe weather throughout the day is greater for Central Texas, with forecasts of moderate risk stretching over a melon-shaped area, including Abilene, Waco, Austin and Midland.

Parts of Texas were also expected to face extreme heat on Tuesday, with indexes reaching triple digits. Laredo was forecast to reach the highest on the heat index, at 115 degrees, while Brownsville and Corpus Christi were slightly lower.

Marc Chenard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said that people in the Southern Plains, particularly in Texas, would likely continue to face harsh conditions that often develop during the final weeks of spring, he said. Still, “having severe weather this time of year is not anomalous,” he said.

The forecast comes on the heels of severe weather that stretched across much of the country over the holiday weekend. Storms and tornadoes killed at least 23 people from Texas to Virginia and left hundreds of thousands without power; heavy rain and damaging winds snarled holiday travel plans from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Texas has had a particularly bad spate of weather this spring, with heavy rain inundating parts of the state just weeks ago.

Beyond Texas, Kentucky is expected to see a reprieve over the coming days, as the National Guard and forestry workers continue to clear downed trees and dangerous debris from powerful storms that killed four people over the weekend. The National Weather Service in Louisville said that mostly dry weather was expected over the coming days, with no rain in the forecast until the weekend.

Severe storms are possible across Central Oklahoma on Tuesday, beginning early in the morning and shifting south through the afternoon, the service said. In Southern Oklahoma, raging storms with large hail had become less intense by early Tuesday morning. Still, hail the size of golf balls and damaging winds up to 60 m.p.h. were possible later in the day. Two people were killed north of Tulsa over the weekend, as severe storms swept in.

After a wet, windy and disruptive Memorial Day in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, sunny, summerlike conditions are expected to return by Tuesday morning with highs in the low-to-mid 80s.

There were 2,000 flight delays and 300 cancellations for flights into, within or out of the United States on Tuesday, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking website. On Friday, more than 2.9 million people were screened at U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration said — a single-day record.

Christine Hauser and Ernesto Londoño contributed reporting.

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