Severe Weather Threat
Thursday, February 23, 2012
The SPC has already placed a large area from Southeast Texas to the Carolinas under a Slight Risk in their latest Day 3 Outlook. Thursday’s setup is rather complex which results in a couple different scenarios that could unfold. Not much is expected in the way of showers and storms through much of the daylight hours as a sizeable cap remains in place. With widespread cloudiness and storms unlikely during the day, temps should have no problem warming into the 70*F’s, and even 80*F’s, across the risk area. The uncertainty for Thursday’s setup lies with the speed of the cold front and timing of storms. A slower progression of the front and a weaker cap would allow everything to come together for a severe weather outbreak late Thursday afternoon/early Thursday evening into Friday morning. Damaging winds would be the main threat, followed by large hail and isolated tornadoes. A second scenario is that the front works its way through more quickly and/or the cap remains in place into the evening hours. This would delay storm development, resulting in a lesser likelihood of surface-based activity. A few severe storms would be expected; however, I would not expect anything widespread or significant.
Timing is key – the timing of the cold front and the timing of storm development. Also, winds above the surface may be nearly parallel with the front, resulting in weaker convergence. This would lower the coverage of storms, thus, reducing the threat for an outbreak. Time will tell which scenario is more likely, but for now, continue to monitor the forecast for your area. As the SPC Day 3 Outlook indicates, this event still has the potential to be rather significant, should all the ingredients come together at the right time.