OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — At least two tornadoes touched down Saturday in North Texas, as forecasters elevated the risk of severe storms for a large area including Dallas while downgrading it for much of the Great Plains.
The National Weather Service confirmed one tornado was on the ground late Saturday afternoon near Cisco, about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. Josh Wasson, with the Cisco Fire Department, says at least one home has been damaged but isn't immediately certain of the extent of the damage.
Another twister touched down in the town of Burkburnett, Texas, about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls, according to a police dispatcher who declined to give her name due to department policy. She said the town set off its tornado siren just before 6 p.m.
The weather service on Saturday afternoon elevated to "moderate" the risk of tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and elsewhere across North Texas. Eastland County, which was part of the enhanced zone, was pelted with 3-inch hail as the storm rumbled through.
"As expected, the environment in North Texas is particularly favorable (for tornadoes)," said Bill Bunting, the chief of operations at the Norman, Oklahoma-based Storm Prediction Center.
Storms also brought heavy rain and quarter-sized hail to parts of southwest Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon, but meteorologists said there was so much rain — and so little sun — that the tornado threat there lessened throughout the day. Parts of western Kansas also were bracing for severe storms.
But the threatening skies stretched beyond the Plains states, as twin weather systems stretching from the Carolinas to California produced an unseasonably early tropical storm in the Atlantic and a late-season snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains. Tropical Storm Ana's forecast track is expected to go near the coasts of North and South Carolina on Sunday.
Meanwhile, up to 5 inches of snow was possible in the Nebraska Panhandle this weekend, and parts of South Dakota could receive between 12 to 24 inches of snow, according to the weather service