There are great benefits to the East Texas Storm Team app, an exclusive app that only KETK & FOX51 have in the East Texas TV market.

Our app stands out above the rest to provide you weather alerts and notifications when storms are close to your location. The main requirement of this app is your GPS location to follow you everywhere, but it’s sole purpose is to alert you of weather.

Here are the top three features of the app.

1. Multiple weather locations for weather alerts.

2. Radar
The radar allows you to show Futurecast.

3. Safety Net Alerts
This is where you can select customized alerts for lightning, rotating storms, and the alerts from the National Weather Service.

Download today for Apple and Android devices.

Severe weather in Texas can happen at any time, but its prime period is in March, April, and May. As you know, it only takes one storm to cause havoc & damage. We want you to be prepared BEFORE storms strike. The question is, are you ready?

Being prepared before severe weather includes a number of items, including having the basic understanding of a severe storm watch and warning, having an emergency plan for when a warning is issued, and being able to be notified of weather information at all hours of the day.

THE DIFFERENCES: WEATHER WATCH & WARNING:

On-air and online, KETK Meteorologists will advise you of watches and warnings. Let’s explain the difference between the two.

A watch means that conditions are favorable for severe weather to occur and that storm development is likely in a particular area. During a watch, you’ll want to stay weather aware with the East Texas Storm Team for rapidly changing weather conditions and storms that can develop and become severe.

When a warning is issued, there is radar confirmation or storm spotter reports of severe weather occurring in the area, and action needs to be taken to protect life and property. Depending on location, population center areas, & damage reports, KETK Meteorologists will break into programming to give you the latest information. Weather warnings and watches will always crawl at the bottom of your screen.

EMERGENCY PLAN:

Many businesses and school districts have an emergency plan in the event of a tornado, earthquake, or other dangerous situations. Just like them, it is important for you and your family to have a plan of action before weather strikes.

First, have an Emergency Supply Kit. There are many things to have in this kit, but it is based on your family’s needs. A few MUST-HAVE items: flashlights, a first-aid kit, non-perishable food items, batteries, water, even a spare mobile device charger. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has additional recommendations here.

Second, know where to take cover when severe weather is in the forecast. The best location would be in a sturdy building that has an interior room away from outer walls and windows. If you live in a mobile home, it is best to know your closest study building location—so you can travel there if needed.


Cell phones are a great source to get weather information. Unfortunately, service can be lost during a storm, thus preventing you from receiving lifesaving weather information. There is another way to receive watches and warnings, one that is greater than a mobile device—a NOAA Weather Radio.

An NOAA Weather Radio is an All-Hazards radio that provides continuous weather information from the closest National Weather Service forecast office. 

Why is it important to have one of these? You can be alerted of hazardous weather 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The weather radio can stay silent until a severe weather alert is issued for your county. Most importantly, when you are asleep, the weather radio has a high-frequency noise it makes that can wake you up in the event of a weather alert for your county.

These radios run off of electricity, but have battery backups when power is cut off to your area.
They have advanced significantly over the past few years. Before, the older weather radios would alert you for any alerts in the viewing area. Now, you can set the alerts for any counties that you desire—your county or multiple counties.

These radios can be bought at your local grocery or hardware store. To program your radio, simply find the best frequency for your area and select your county or all counties in that specific channel’s listening area.

Channel 1 – 162.400
Channel 2 – 162.425
Channel 3 – 162.450
Channel 4 – 162.475
Channel 5 – 162.500
Channel 6 – 162.525
Channel 7 – 162.550

To get more specific about the weather radio transmitter site closest to you, visit this NOAA Weather Radio link.

Another excellent way to stay alert in severe weather is with the new East Texas Storm Team app has great features to track storms.

You are able to receive custom alerts for multiple locations that you choose. Alerts include lightning detection, storm alerts, rotating storm alerts, and custom messages from your East Texas Storm Team of Meteorologists. You can also tell your weather stories by uploading pictures.

This free app is available for Apple and Android devices.


Tornadoes are visually one of the most famous products of severe weather but hail deserves more attention. 

The life cycle of hail truly shows the complexities and the impressive structure of a storm. Hail begins as simple rain droplets that are thrown into the upper atmosphere with rising air. We call this rising air an updraft. The stronger the updraft the large the hail that storm can produce. 

Those rain droplets freeze in the colder upper level air and become tiny hail. It’s tiny in size at first but due to a more complex physical process moisture defuses onto its surface and the hail slowly grows. The most rapid growth occurs when the hail falls back down into middle of the clouds and collides with supercooled water droplets. 

These supercooled water droplets freeze on the surface of the hail and the overall hailstone begins to grow rapidly. The more times it’s tossed through the cloud the larger and larger it gets. 

Once hail gets to the size of a quarter it is considered severe because of its damage potential. Hail in East Texas can easily get to the size of a softball, only a few weeks ago in Jacksonville we saw a near softball size hail event! 

If you get caught in hail seek shelter immediately, large hail can cause serious injury. 

Strong updrafts are a sign of a powerful storm but what happens when a storm gets too strong? 

Upper level air of the storm is much cooler and contains cold water and hail. As this falls to the surface it can often cut off the updraft. The updraft is the only thing keeping all that rain and hail up in the air! 

Once the updraft is cut off then the flood gates are open and it’s possible for the whole clouds to collapse to the ground. This is called a microburst. Microbursts can be as wide as two and a half miles, if it’s any larger we classify this as a macroburst. 

Microbursts and macrobursts are especially dangerous to airplanes that rely on consistent air direction to produce lift. Fall air can result in planes drastically losing altitude. All major airports are required to have microbursts sensors on their runways. 


Without a doubt this severe weather season has been active. We have seen about 10 tornadoes occur just this year alone in our area, most recently in Alto and San Augustine. 

How do tornadoes form? In one of our previous stories we talked about the ingredients that go into making a severe thunderstorm. 

The ingredients:

-Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico
-Cool, dry air from the north
-Boundary in the form of a cold front, warm front, dryline
-Fast moving upper level winds. 

To get tornadoes to form you need to have winds from near the surface moving in one direction and upper level winds moving in another direction. This creates a horizontal roll in the atmosphere. This roll will eventually be bent upwards to where you have rising air. Eventually you will get rotation within a storm. Once that column of air rises and reaches the ground a tornado is formed. 

If you are outside when a tornado is threatening your location, you need to move into a sturdy structure. If you are at home, you’ll want to be on the lowest floor and want to put as many walls between you and the outer doors and windows. You’ll also want to stay low and cover your head to protect yourself from flying debris.


Thunderstorms! They can form at any time during the day or night and at any time of the year. Some can produce a little rain, a lot of rain or even severe weather. Regardless of the storm, when you hear thunder or see lightning, you need to get indoors. 

There are three stages to thunderstorm development:

First…Developing Stage: Warm air rises to a level in the atmosphere where clouds can form. 

Second…Mature Stage: Updrafts move vertically that cause the storm to develop. In this stage you can see rain, hail, lightning, and if strong enough tornadoes. Sometimes you can downdrafts where the storms will push out strong winds that can do damage at the surface. 

Third…Dissipating Stage: This is where the storm weakens and/or rains itself out. 

There are several ingredients that go into making a thunderstorm severe. You need to have a couple of airmasses. Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, drier air from the north. These airmasses are separated by a boundary or front. Cold front, warm front, dryline or even a stationary front. 

The one main ingredient that makes them severe is upper level winds in the form of the jetstream or a sub-tropical jet stream. When storms develop vertically they tap into that upper level energy. Storms get tilted and can become severe. 

In order for storms to be classified as severe you need to have wind gusts over 58 mph, hail one inch size or larger, and/or tornado. Lightning and heavy rain are not criteria for severe storms but they can be generated from severe storms. 

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