Status check: Severe weather season in Central Texas so far

Weather Blog
Mason County hail Tony Plutino

Multiple hailstones from May 9, 2021 in Mason County. (Courtesy: Tony Plutino)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As we approach the middle of May, that means we are almost halfway through what is typically the month with the most instances of severe weather in Central Texas.

Since March, when our severe weather season begins, we’ve had multiple instances of large hail with some isolated wind damage and no confirmed tornadoes within the KXAN viewing area.

One way you can compare this year’s severe weather to other years is to look at the number of watches issued by the National Weather Service. A “Watch” is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of some mode of severe weather (tornadoes, hail or wind).

The National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio forecast office, which is responsible for issuing warnings for most of the KXAN viewing area, tweeted a running tally of both tornado and severe thunderstorm watches for their coverage area.

Tornado Watches

So far, in the area NWS Austin/San Antonio are responsible for, four separate tornado watches have been issued since the start of 2021.

In the past 17 years, NWS Austin/San Antonio, in coordination with the Storm Prediction Center, have issued an average of seven tornado watches per year.

This puts us just slightly ahead of normal to date for number of tornado watches issued so far.

National Weather Service graph

Severe Thunderstorm Watches

So far, in the area NWS Austin/San Antonio are responsible for, 11 separate severe thunderstorm watches have been issued since the start of the year.

In the past 17 years, NWS Austin/San Antonio in coordination with the Storm Prediction Center, have issued an average of 14.7 severe thunderstorm watches per year.

This puts us in line with an average year-to-date for severe thunderstorm watches.

National Weather Service graph

In-Depth

Severe weather season in Central Texas runs from March through early June, so most of the watches issued in a calendar year come during the first six months of the year. There is a secondary severe weather season in October and November where several additional watches have been issued in the past, but most come earlier in the year.

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