8:20 AM CDT Friday, April 27, 2012
The SPC has upgraded portions of Central and Eastern Kansas to a Moderate Risk in their latest outlook. This means that there is the potential for a more significant round of severe weather later today. The shortwave that brought us yesterday’s round of severe weather across the High Plains is now moving into the Plains. There will be great upper-level support across the risk areas for organized severe weather. In fact, the ongoing activity in Western Kansas and Nebraska is a sign of just how potent this system is.
8:02 AM CDT Visible Satellite Image
Currently, the activity to the west is strong but, for the most part, non-severe. It does appear that this activity will persist into the afternoon hours, likely intensifying as it shifts north and east. Later today, additional activity is expected to develop farther south. Both areas of storms will have the potential to become severe, but the most discrete storms will be with the second wave. Very large hail is the primary hazard, followed by damaging winds and tornadoes. As stated in the title, there is an ENHANCED threat for Tornadoes, particularly across the Moderate Risk area. Cities such as Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Manhattan, and Emporia need to pay close attention to the weather today. A strong Tornado or two is possible this afternoon and evening. If you have any loose lawn furniture or other other objects that may be blown in a severe thunderstorm, now would be a good time to fasten them or move them into a more sheltered area.
Kansas Severe Weather Setup
Regarding the timing of today’s event, it may begin as early as midday. This would be much earlier than recent events, so be sure to keep a close eye on this evolving situation. I’ll be updating the Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day. -Stay Tuned!
1300z SPC Day 1 Outlook Valid April 27, 2012
Our next system will roll into the Eastern Rockies and impact the High Plains late tomorrow afternoon and evening. Back on the 16th of April, I said that “there will probably be another upper-low move eastward and impact the Plains between April 25th and April 30th.” This does indeed look to unfold.
Since I have just returned from vacation, I have not been able to closely examine the model trends. I have looked at this morning’s 12z forecast soundings and also some of this evening’s 00z soundings for cities such as Amarillo, Liberal, and Dodge City. It appears that, although the areal coverage of storms may not be too great due to capping issues, storms that develop will likely become strong to severe. The SPC has issued a Slight Risk from parts of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles through Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas. Within the Slight Risk area, there is an enhanced severe threat. (See graphics below.)
SPC Day 2 Outlook Valid April 26, 2012
SPC Day 2 Probabilities Valid April 26, 2012
It is across the 30% risk area where the threat for a few severe storms appears to be the greatest. It is closer to the track of the shortwave, where the cap is most likely to be weakened or eroded. As is typical for late spring, large hail to the size of golf balls or baseballs is the primary threat followed by damaging winds. There will be the potential for a Tornado or two, though, mainly after 6:00 PM CDT. As the NWS in Dodge City stated this afternoon “[IF] THIS SYSTEM WAS 6 HOURS AFTER (ARRIVING IN THE LATE AFTERNOON), THE TORNADO THREAT WOULD BE GREATER.” The system won’t actually move into the area until after midnight tomorrow night. This is why I believe there may be some capping issues and coverage during the peak heating hours may be limited. This is still a developing situation, so continue to monitor the latest if you live in or near the risk area. -I’ll keep you posted.
10:00 AM CDT Thursday, April 19, 2012
This morning, much of the region is seeing plentiful sunshine. Clouds will be on the increase, especially this afternoon as a system and its associated cold front approach from the northwest. Strong heating will result in moderate amounts of instability along and ahead of the cold front, despite the lack of deeper gulf moisture. Right now, dew points are int the low to mid-50*F’s across Oklahoma and Texas. The 12z and, to a lesser extent, the 13z RUC seemed a bit meager with moisture compared to reality. Its 13z (8:00 AM) run was a bit more moist than its 12z run, but it still appears to be a bit too low compared to the observed dew points. The 12z NAM appears to have a good grip on the current conditions. For this discussion, I will lean toward it.
9:45 AM CDT Visible Satellite
Here’s how it could unfold later today. Currently, the area is capped; however, with strong heating, the cap will be weakened, and perhaps eroded in a few areas, during the late afternoon hours. This should allow for development along the front from Southeast Kansas through North Central Missouri and possibly near a triple point in Southwest Oklahoma and far Northwest Texas. As is the case with most setups, the cap will be key. Most models develop at least a couple isolated storms near the triple point around sunset and track them eastward. Any storms that are able to get going across this area late this afternoon or early this evening would likely become strong to severe. Discrete supercells are possible, so large hail to the size of golf balls cannot be ruled out. Damaging winds in excess of 60 mph are also likely with any severe storm. The Tornado threat, although low, will not be non-existent. As stated on the Facebook page yesterday evening, moderate EHI values will be favorable for a Tornado or two. The primary limiting factors appear to be the cap and the lack of deeper moisture. Cloud bases (LCLs) will also be fairly high which is not especially favorable for the development of Tornadoes.
12Z NAM Radar Forecast At 10:00 PM CDT
(Courtesy Of PSU)
Another uncertainty is how far south this activity may develop and/or track. The greatest threat for severe storms appears to be along and north of the Red River. As you can see on the SPC Day 1 Outlook, they have extended the Slight Risk a couple counties south of the Red River. Anything that can manage to get going in Northwest/North Texas late today or this evening would likely become strong, but storm initiation is less certain than areas farther north. Trends will continue to be monitored today, so be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get the latest updates!
1300z SPC Day 1 Outlook
Another mild and dry day is forecast tomorrow for the Southern Plains before another round of showers and storms arrives with our next system. Thankfully there is nothing to be concerned about since this is NOT going to be another widespread Tornado Outbreak like we saw on April 14th. This will be more of your run-of-the-mill showers and storms. Although the upper-level winds will be favorable for a severe threat Thursday afternoon and evening, the lack of deeper gulf moisture and the orientation of the trough suggest only a limited threat for large hail and damaging winds. Much of the activity is forecast to occur along and behind the cold front, also limiting the severe threat.
Oklahoma Weather Thursday Evening Thru Friday Morning
As our system digs south and east, the cold front will works its way through the northwest 1/2 of Oklahoma and Northwest Texas by Friday morning before sliding into South Central and Southeast Texas by sunset. The system really begins to crank up by this time which will help work some cooler and drier air into the region for Saturday. For Sunday, the cool air is expected to shed off, and temps are forecast to jump several degrees for most locations. Once again, there will be a low threat for a few severe storms Thursday and probably Friday, but widespread or significant severe weather is unlikely. Large hail and damaging winds appear to be the primary threats.
SPC Day 3 Outlook (Valid Thursday)
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Well, after a very active weather period, there are NO signs of another Severe Weather Outbreak over the next week. This isn’t too say that we won’t see some strong to severe storms during this time, but it won’t be anything comparable to what we saw across the Plains two days ago. Following the LRC (Lezak’s Recurring Cycle), the next period which we could see a more widespread severe threat evolve will be around the end of this month. The period between the 25th and the 30th is what I am currently looking at for our next (bigger) weather maker.
The Lezak’s Recurring Cycle is a theory proposed by Kansas City meteorologist Gary Lezak. Back in the 1980′s, he noticed that storm systems seemed to have characteristics unique to that specific year. He eventually came up with the LRC which states that a unique weather pattern sets up during October and November that will repeat itself throughout the year. Like the MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation), which goes in cycles lasting anywhere from 30 to 60 days, the LRC also cycles. I am no expert in this, but from what I have observed over the last two years, there are usually around three patterns that repeat. The past cycle which brought us the April 14, 2012 Tornado Outbreak brought us an outbreak on both January 22nd and March 2nd. Following the past trends, there will probably be another upper-low move eastward and impact the Plains between April 25th and April 30th. Until then, it will be fairly calm severe weather-wise for mid-April.
Seeing as how nothing significant is expected over the next week or so, I think I will use this time to discuss more on the upcoming summer and possibly release an outlook for the summer months of June, July, and August. Take care and enjoy the (calmer) weather!