Weather Hazards

North Texas faces a variety of weather hazards that can prove damaging to the City of Farmers Branch. It is important for residents and businesses in the city to understand the threats that we face so that we can better prepare for them. Use the information and resources on this page to better understand the various weather threats. Then put that knowledge to work by monitoring weather conditions that affect the region and the city.

Understanding Weather Terms

You will often hear various terms being used to describe predicted weather conditions. For example, a meteorologist on your local news channel may say that a "severe thunderstorm watch" has been issued. Or your local radio announcer may say that a "flood warning" has been issued. It is important to understand what the terms watch, warning, and others mean because they are all different. Use the following chart to learn the weather terms and their definitions. 
weather guide

Severe Weather Overview

Severe weather occurs frequently in the DFW metroplex. Whether it is thunderstorms, lightning, extreme heat, or winter weather, residents need to be prepared for all of these hazards. 


A tornado can occur at any time of the year, but spring and summer are considered tornado season in North Texas. While tornadoes can happen at any time of day, they are more likely to occur between 3-9pm. In addition to the damaging spinning funnel of a tornado, the wind associated with a tornado is also very damaging. See the Fujita Scale below to see the wind speeds typically associated with the 6 tornado sizes.

fujita scale

What is the difference between flash flooding and flooding?
Flash flooding occurs during heavy rain events and happens very quickly and ends just as quickly.
Flooding occurs as the result of a prolonged rain event or lake/creek overflow. It is more gradual and more predictable.

Dam/Levee failure may result in flash flooding or flooding.


Hail is formed when water droplets are carried in updrafts within a storm to a height in the sky where freezing occurs. These ice particles continue to grow as they may be dropped and picked up again, adding another layer of ice. Eventually, the hail becomes to heavy and falls to the ground.

A diameter of .75 inch or greater, is considered to be severe.

Hail size estimates

  • Pea = 1/4 inch diameter
  • Marble/Mothball = 1/2 inch diameter
  • Dime/Penny = 3/4 inch
  • Nickel = 7/8 inch
  • Quarter = 1 inch
  • Ping pong ball = 1 ½ inches
  • Golf ball = 1 ¾ inches
  • Tennis Ball = 2 ½ inches
  • Baseball = 2 ¾ inches
  • Tea cup = 3 inches
  • Grapefruit = 4 inches
  • Softball = 4 ½ inches