Christmas Day Storm: Not a Repeat of 2015

On December 26, 2015, a deadly EF4 tornado crashed through the Dallas suburbs of Garland and Rowlett, killing 8 people and doing over a billion dollars in damage.

There’s been an attempt by some to compare the expected Christmas Day storm of 2016 to last year’s event, but they are quite different. This is good news for Texoma as we have only a small risk, in the marginal category, for isolated severe storms. The primary threat is a few strong straight-line wind elements, not tornadoes.

Compare the Dec 26, 2015 position of the upper low to what we’re expecting for Christmas Day this year (maps below)- the low is much farther north than last year, taking the belt of maximum winds out of our weather picture. This reduces the overall lift and in general dials down the severe threat a lot. Now, we will have a very strong southerly wind at about 5,000 feet on Christmas Day, so any storms that form could transfer some of that low-level wind energy down to ground level, and that’s the primary concern: a few strong straight-line wind gusts. There’s very little threat for tornadoes with this set-up.

Do you recall last Sunday when arctic air pushed temperatures into the teens and single digits? Well, Christmas Day will be in the 70s with a strong southerly wind – quite a dramatic difference. It will continue rather mild next week with perhaps another shot of cold by Thursday.

Take Care,

Steve LaNore
Chief Meteorologist
News 12 / KXII-TV