After a week of calm weather, Texas once again proved why it is considered very unpredictable during this time of the year. Thursday Del Rio woke up to the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm.
Wednesday morning the U.S. National Weather Service Austin-San Antonio (NWS) announced warnings for possible thunderstorms. The sky remained sunny and showed no signs of incoming rain, but weather services predicted thunderstorms and hail later into the night.
“Storms Wednesday evening formed rapidly just after sunset across Val Verde County along the dry line – a low-level atmospheric boundary that separates warm, humid air from warm, dry desert air. If conditions are combined in an upper-atmospheric disturbance, like they were on Wednesday night, severe weather can aggressively form along the dry line,” Smalltown Weather Meteorologist Daniel Schrieber said.
Large hail and damaging winds were stated as main threats, but rain and a tornado were also considered possible. “Cold air aloft – about 15,000-30,000 feet up – primed the local environment for very large hail and damaging wind gusts,” Schrieber said.
By 3 p.m. thunderstorms were expected to move over the Del Rio area in the evening and citizens were advised to take caution. A few citizens were outside enjoying the outdoors, before the storm, but lightning was clearly seen approaching Del Rio.
A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect until 2 a.m. City of Del Rio and Val Verde County services took to social media and warned citizens of the incoming storm.
While Del Rio did not receive a direct hit from these storms, the weather radar indicated hail sizes could have exceeded golf-ball sized with wind gusts in areas over 70 miles per hour. The city of Acuña sounded off severe weather alarms around 9 p.m.
Despite the severe weather, the Del Rio International Airport only recorded 1/10th of an inch of rainfall, with only about 1/3rd of an inch toward the lake, leaving the city still well into the drought conditions. During the storm power went out in several areas and was later restored.
“April and May mark the peak of severe weather season in Del Rio. It is common to observe severe weather on a weekly basis across the region, although direct hits to Del Rio are rather rare,” Schrieber said.
Schrieber advised during the energized springtime seasons, it is important to remember that any thunderstorm can become severe – even deadly – very quickly. NWS urges citizens that “when thunder roars, stay indoors.”
A small emergency kit with water and food as well as a flashlight and cellphone may be life-saving in the event of destructive weather. Although the weather may seem better, it is advised to stay up-to-date with weather services than rely on what is seen in the outdoors.