May 9, 2015 6:26 PM
Tornado threat elevated for Texas, lowered for Oklahoma
The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A large area of North Texas braced for severe storms including possible tornadoes Saturday evening, after forecasters downgraded the threat for parts of the Great Plains.
The National Weather Service on Saturday afternoon elevated to "moderate" the risk of tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
Overall, nearly 50 counties across the state were under a tornado watch, and a tornado warning was issued for parts of Eastland County about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. The area was pelted with 3-inch hail as the severe storms 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.
Associated Press writer Sean Murphy contributed to this report.