By BRIAN PEARSON
Smith County and other areas of East Texas are under a tornado watch until 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Other counties under the tornado watch are: Franklin, Marion, Wood, Camp, Gregg, Morris and Titus.
Violent storms packing strong winds could hit the Tyler area starting this afternoon, prompting the National Weather Service earlier today to issue a hazardous weather alert.
Scattered severe thunderstorms are expected to strike this afternoon and tonight in a large area that includes East Texas and stretches into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The storms will emerge as a dry line approaches from the north.
“The air mass has become very unstable this afternoon, with strong wind shear that will aid rapid development,” the NWS said in its statement.
The NWS said damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes – “some of which may be strong” – are possible.
Heavy rainfall and flooding also are possible.
KYTX CBS 19 meteorologist Doc Deason reached out to Facebook users today and asked for them to send him information on severe weather and damage. He requested the information and photos be sent to him via Twitter or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morning Telegraph reporter Faith Harper also will be providing weather coverage, and storm information and damage reports can be sent to her at email@example.com.
Stay tuned towww.tylperpaper.com and the newspaper’s TylerPaper page on Facebook for coverage. Also, follow us on Twitter or through our free app.
The NWS forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon, with some storms possibly sever. Rain chances drop to 30 percent tonight, although the possibility of severe storms remains.
Monday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny with a high near 84 and 10-15 mph southwest winds with gusts as high as 25 mph.