An Early Morning Severe Thunderstorm hits Fort Stockton, Tx.
April 4, 2004



A high precipitation supercell formed in extreme southwestern Pecos County early in the morning on Sunday, April 4th, and moved to the northeast, eventually affecting Fort Stockton. This thunderstorm produced extremely heavy rainfall, very high wind gusts (80 mph estimated), hail up to the size of golfballs, and flooding as it moved across the city of Fort Stockton. Several areas of Fort Stockton were affected by the storm. One of the hardest hit areas was the James Rooney Memorial Park. Comanche Creek, which runs through this park, was well out of its banks as can be seen in the following pictures. The radar imagery and loop shows that the most intense reflectivities of the storm went over the southeastern half of the city, which is where the park is located.

The storm hit the Fort Stockton area at around 5 AM CDT. While possible, early morning severe weather events are quite rare across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The following chart shows a 40-year climatology of severe weather events for this area broken down by hour of the day.


graph depicting severe weather events by hour across southwest Texas and southeastern New Mexico

The following are some images from James Rooney Memorial Park in Fort Stockton showing the extent of the flooding that occurred. Photos are courtesy of Ron M. in Fort Stockton.

flooding at James Rooney Memorial Park in Fort Stockton
flooding at James Rooney Memorial Park in Fort Stockton

flooding at James Rooney Memorial Park in Fort Stockton

In a rare early morning event such as this, receiving warning information can be very difficult. When people are asleep, radios and televisions are often turned off. Additionally, loss of power can result in the loss of key weather information during an event. Having NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) with a battery backup can make a huge impact by providing a tone alert, which allows for those that are sleeping to awaken and receive vital life saving information.

Currently, Reeves County, adjacent to Pecos County, is in the process of applying for a Rural Utility Services Grant Program through the USDA to fund the installation of a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter in Reeves County. If approved and installed, this NOAA Weather Radio system will not only provide key information to the communities of Pecos, Saragosa, and Balmorhea, but also provide coverage in the Fort Stockton area.


Here are additional photos showing some of the hail that fell during this rare early morning severe weather event.


hail
hail

radar image
This radar image shows the severe thunderstorm as it moves into the Fort Stockton area.
Click the image to load a radar loop (~900K).

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