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Cold front brings spring's first storms to San Antonio but havoc to North and East Texas

National Weather Service

Much needed rain from a cold front moving through Texas at first seemed elusive for the San Antonio area on Monday.

Emergency radio broadcasts warned of severe weather in the early afternoon. Radar maps indicated lines of storms steadily marching off to the northeast and pounding communities to the north and northeast of the city. Phone alerts chimed and email alerts piled up, warning of storm cells, tornado watches and heavy rains.

And yet, the evening skies over downtown San Antonio were calm, at times beautifully clear, leaving the drought choked Alamo City seemingly without hope of relief.

But by 11:30 p.m., lightning flashed overhead. Thunder boomed. The skies opened, and the rain fell in torrents. A line of fresh storms from Dilley to New Braunfels had developed west of the city and raced eastward. Pea-sized hail also sprinkled the downtown area for a few minutes. Pedestrians sheltering under buildings near the Pearl shopping complex reached out with their hands to gather the ice as it fell.

By 11:45 p.m., it was over. The storms moved further east. The night was quiet again, punctuated by the occasional sound of dripping. By midnight, CPS Energy's online outage map had very few outages to report.

But the danger had not yet passed, according to the National Weather Service, or NWS. Forecasters warned on early Tuesday morning that south central Texas — including Atascosa, Bastrop, Bexar, Caldwell, Gonzales, and Guadalupe counties — remained in a tornado watch until 1 a.m.

Also, Bastrop, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson counties were under a flash flood warning until 3:45 a.m.

Most of southeast Texas remained in a tornado watch until 8 a.m.

The 1-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin saw wave after wave of severe weather on Monday, which seemed to only intensify as it moved off to the southeast.

Social media on Monday was filled with amateur videos and unofficial reports of tornadoes in Round Rock, College Station, and Madisonville. NWS Fort Worth confirmed a tornado near Sandow and Tanglewood, just east of Austin. NWS Houston confirmed a tornado in Crockett, north of Houston.

The NWS tweeted Monday evening that on Tuesday it planned to survey damage from Monday's storms, "including rating any tornadic damage." It targeted five areas: around Elgin and Giddings; between Seguin and Luling; a sector west of Jarrell; and a sliver between Pflugerville and Granger.

Gov. Greg Abbott placed state emergency resources on standby on Monday.

Tuesday and Wednesday in San Antonio will still be windy but the sky will be sunny to mostly sunny with highs in the 70s. Temperatures will be higher Thursday through Sunday.

A fire weather watch remains in effect from Tuesday afternoon due to fire prone conditions west of line from Rocksprings to Pearsall. The National Weather Service reports any wildfires may spread rapidly and unpredictably. Preventions starts with no outdoor burning and limiting activities that could produce a spark.

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