UPDATE, 6:50 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of Central Texas until 10 p.m. tonight. The alerted area includes all of Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.
A cold front that is expected to drop temperatures well below normal may be preceded by another round of potentially severe storms in the Killeen area.
The Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport has recorded nearly a quarter-inch of rain Sunday morning, according to data from the National Weather Service.
"We have a cold front that's making its way south," said Jason Godwin, meteorologist with the NWS. "That front right now is actually just kind of hitting the west side of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex right now. It will probably be getting to the Killeen area around 5 or 6 (p.m.) tonight.
"We are going to have to watch for some additional thunderstorms developing ahead of that cold front, and with that, there is a chance that some of those could be severe."
The approaching cold front could drop temperatures by as much as around 20 degrees, the NWS forecast indicates.
Temperatures today are forecast to reach the low-90s, but the high temperature for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is projected to be in the low-70s and upper-60s, Godwin said.
"Our normal lows in Central Texas are usually somewhere in kind of the low-60s this time of year," Godwin said. "So, just to give you an idea of how cool it is, our forecast high temperatures will actually be closer to the normal lows for this time of year."
As of the latest forecast, the projected high and low temperatures are as follows:
- Today: High 91, Low 65
- Monday: High 70, Low 61
- Tuesday: High 74, Low 60
- Wednesday: High 68, Low 56
More rain is expected with the cold front. As of the latest forecast, rain chances for Monday are around 40 to 50%, while the chances increase to 80% on Tuesday.
Godwin said the area can expect to see between 1 to 2 inches of rain, with the possibility of isolated areas seeing more than that.
Drought conditions improving
Over the past few weeks, Killeen has seen nearly 2.5 inches of rain, which Godwin said is higher than normal, and it has improved the drought conditions in the Central Texas area.
"That's good that even though this is the more wet time of the year, we actually are not just getting our normal rainfall but even a little bit on top of that, too," Godwin said. "So if that continues, it should help us improve some of those drought conditions in Central Texas somewhat."
According to the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor, only a portion of Bell County is abnormally dry, the lowest level of drought severity. A small sliver of Bell County, which appears to include Killeen, is under moderate drought conditions.
At its peak a few weeks ago, Bell County was entirely in moderate drought conditions, with the area around Killeen in severe drought conditions.
For Coryell County, which has suffered the brunt of the early drought, conditions have also improved. According to the latest data, the large portion of the county, which also encompasses Gatesville, that has been affected the worst, is now under severe drought conditions. At its peak, that area had been in extreme conditions.
The rest of the county, including Copperas Cove, is currently in moderate drought conditions.
In Lampasas County, much of the area is seeing abnormally dry conditions, an improvement from the peak when much of the county was under severe drought conditions. A portion of the northeaster part of the county that borders Coryell is in moderate drought conditions.
Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton Lake are both reporting elevation levels slightly above normal.
As of Sunday, the elevation of Stillhouse Hollow was being measured at 622.07 feet, just above the normal of 622 feet.
At Belton Lake, the elevation was being reported at 594.17 feet, above the normal of 594 feet.