Monday, May 10, 2010

High Risk!

Conditions are set in place for a severe weather outbreak across portions of the southern plains. Take a look at the severe thunderstorm risk map issued by the SPC below:

The SPC has issued a High Risk for far southeast Kansas and north central/northeast Oklahoma with the threat of large, long lived tornadoes. A potent surface low is continuing to develop and track into southwest Kansas with a 993 mb reading. Behind the warm front, strong southerly winds are allowing moisture form the Gulf of Mexico to surge in with dewpoints will into the 60's ahead of the dryline. Take a look at the surface map below:

You can see the surge of warm, moist air between the front an the dryline. As this moves eastward, thunderstorms should begin to develop along the dryline in south west Kansas and west central Oklahoma. Notice the cool air over Missouri and northeast Kansas. This is being caused by the rain and thunderstorms currently pushing though and will limit most of the tornadic potential later tonight as the storms move that way. The High Risk and surrounding areas are currently dealing with a low cloud problem as you can see in the map below:

If this were to remain in place, it would greatly limit th severe potential of this system, but the low cloud deck is gradually burning off from west to east and will set the stage for quite an outbreak of tornadoes.

The cap should gradually weaken throughout the afternoon and once it breaks, the storms will begin to erupt and as mentioned above, im thinking south west Kansas, and west central, Oklahoma, right near the triple location. With very effective wind shear in place of 50-80 KT and good vertical shear, warm, moist air, Mid level CAPE over 3000 J/KG, the thunderstorms should very quickly become supercellular and race to the northeast with every storm having the potential for extremely large hail, damaging winds, and large, long lived tornadoes. This is for the High Risk area in KS and OK. What is expected for areas to the northeast toward Kansas City today and tonight?

The powerful surface low is associated with a negatively tilted potent upper level low that will be located in across eastern Kansas later tonight around 10:00 PM. With the negatively tilted nature of this storm system, the atmosphere has much more lift to it and the storms will be able to keep on going even though they will be entering a cooler enviornment as you can see in surface map above. Now, the tornadic risk will be greatly reduced and will be limited to SE Kansas, NC/NE Oklahoma, and possibly SW Missouri, but there is still a decent chance for severe thunderstorms in the form of large hail and damaging winds. The storms KS and OK will move our way overnight and evolve into more of a cluster of strong to severe thunderstorms and push through the area later tonight.

This is a very complex forecast and I will have a new entry later this afternoon with the lastest information and the possibility fo more strong thunderstorms on Wednesday.

Alex Pickman  


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