Active Mid-August Weather
13-15 August 2013

Picture of a storm rolling into Lubbock from the north at 12:09 am on Thursday (15 August 2013).
Picture of a storm rolling into Lubbock from the north at 12:09 am on Thursday (15 August 2013).
 
Mid-August 2013 brought a change in the weather pattern that resulted in an unsettled stretch of weather for the South Plains region. The upper level steering flow turned northwesterly, which allowed storms that developed over the higher terrain of New Mexico and Colorado to be carried southeastward into West Texas. These thunderstorms encountered very humid air which allowed them to expand into large complexes and dump copious amounts of rain in many locations.
 
Regional radar loop valid from 3:18 to 4:28 am on Wednesday (14 August 2013).
Regional radar loop valid from 3:18 to 4:28 am on Wednesday (14 August 2013).
 
Several strong to severe thunderstorms initially developed during the afternoon and early evening hours on Tuesday, August 13th. However, the main show held off until Tuesday night when a large area of thunderstorms congealed and moved down Highway 84, while additional activity blossomed in the Rolling Plains (see the above animation). These storms produced torrential rainfall, with some spots experiencing rainfall rates of 4 to 6 inches per hour. Post saw the brunt of the heavy rainfall, recording over 3.5 inches, most of which fell in one hour.
 
Picture of flooding at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock during the early morning hours on Wednesday. The image is courtesy of Cole Bengford. Click on the image for a bigger view.
Picture of flooding at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock during the early morning hours on Wednesday. The image is courtesy of Cole Bengford. Click on the image for a bigger view.
 
The heavy rainfall resulted in areas of flooding, including in and around Lubbock, where many spots recorded 1-2 inches in an hour. In addition, portions of Highway 84 between Slaton and Post were flooded for a period early Wednesday morning.

 

Regional radar loop valid from 11:38 pm on Wednesday to 12:48 am on Thursday (15 August 2013).

Regional radar loop valid from 11:38 pm on Wednesday to 12:48 am on Thursday (15 August 2013).
 

The next night, another complex of thunderstorms developed to the north and plunged southward across the central and eastern South Plains and western Rolling Plains during the late evening and overnight hours (see the above radar animation). Very heavy rain rates also accompanied these storms, with many locations recording another 1/2 to 2+ inches of rainfall.

 

Lubbock radar reflectivity image captured of a supercell thunderstorm as it approached Lubbock from the north during the late evening hours of Wednesday (14 August 2013). Click on the image for a larger view.

Lubbock radar storm relative velocity image captured of a supercell thunderstorm as it approached Lubbock from the north during the late evening hours of Wednesday (14 August 2013). Click on the image for a larger view.

Lubbock radar reflectivity (left) and storm-relative velocity (right) captured of a supercell thunderstorm as it approached Lubbock from the north during the late evening hours of Wednesday (14 August 2013). These images were taken immediately before a tornado warning was issued for the storm. Click on the images for a larger view.

In advance of the large complex of thunderstorms, a lone supercell tracked southward right along Interstate 27 and then Highway 87. This rotating thunderstorm produced hail as large as golf balls west of Plainview near Halfway and a wind gust estimated to 60 mph. As this storm tracked farther southward it developed strong rotation in the low-levels which prompted a tornado warning to be issued. Although no tornado was ever confirmed, several wall clouds and funnel clouds were reported. The storm weakened slightly and lost its strong rotation as it moved across Lubbock, but it still produced heavy rain, frequent lightning and small hail. The photographs below are from this supercell.

Photograph of the supercell thunderstorm over southern Hale County. Click on the image for a larger view.
Photo of the supercell thunderstorm as it approached Lubbock from the north. Click on the image for a larger view.
Two photographs of the supercell thunderstorm north of Lubbock. Click on the images for a larger view. Photos are courtesy Bruce Haynie.
Photograph of the supercell thunderstorm over LubbockCounty. Click on the image for a larger view.
A photograph of the supercell thunderstorm near Lubbock from Ropesville. Click on the image for a larger view. Photo courtesy Brandan Cruz.

Plotted below are the preliminary storm reports for the 14th and 15th of August. Also available are some of the rain totals for the events, courtesy of the West Texas Mesonet.

 
 
Preliminary Storm Reports on August 14 and 15, 2013
Toggle 24-hr rain totals ending at 7 am on August 14, 2013
Toggle 48-hr rain totals ending at 5 am on August 15, 2013
 
Additional rainfall fell on the morning of August 16th across the southeast Texas Panhandle and Rolling Plains. Some of the rainfall was heavy across portions of Childress and Cottle Counties, and even some hail was reported. Below is rainfall estimates for the area from the entire week.
 
Rainfall estimates from Aug 10th through Aug 17th. Click on the image for a larger view.
A map of precipitation estimates for the week of Aug 10 through 16th. Data obtained from water.weather.gov and includes gage and radar information. Click on the map to view a larger version.

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