Models continue to indicate a potential for a widespread severe weather event Tuesday Afternoon and into Tuesday Night.
Key Atmospheric Elements
One of the players for this event is an upper level system that is deepening in the Southwestern US. This upper level system will shift east and on Tuesday and orient across the Plain States to enhance the upper level dynamics for severe weather development.
In addition, a surface low pressure will become situated across Eastern Colorado/ Western Kansas on Tuesday. The associated warm front will spread east west across Kansas, while the dry line will be a player in western Oklahoma and Texas.
Ahead of the surface low, strong southerly winds will pull warm Gulf moisture into the Southern and Central plains. Dew points will climb into the upper 60’s and afternoon highs will be in the low and mid 80’s. This warm and juicy air at the surface combined with cooler air at higher levels which are associated with the upper low will create and environment with a significant amount of energy for thunderstorm development or CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy.) CAPE values provide insight of how rapid a thunderstorm could develop, the higher the number the more explosive the potential development. While the time of year is a factor for what is a significant CAPE value, for the time of year values in excess of 1500 to 2000 J/kg tend to “get meteorologists attention.” Forecast values are expected to exceed 2000 J/kg Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Another factor is the winds. With south winds of ~ 20 mph at the surface but winds several thousand feet in the atmosphere coming from more of a southwest to west fetch at 60 to 65 mph, the differences or shear will create spin in the atmosphere. This spin will support supercell development with large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes.
Focused Area for Severe Weather
Given that ingredients are coming together for a potentially widespread severe weather event Tuesday Afternoon and Tuesday Evening, National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center(SPC) has outlook a large area of Moderate Risk from South Central Nebraska to Central Oklahoma. A broader area of enhanced extends from central Nebraska to north central Texas.
There are still several questions as to the specific timing and location of storm development. The interaction with the dry line will also be a key player. So expect some fine tuning on the outlook areas and timing of the event.
If you have not done so already, take time today or this evening to double check your severe weather safety kit and make sure any items such as water and food have not expired. Consider having a drill this evening so everyone in your family, including your pets, is prepared in case you need to quickly take shelter Tuesday afternoon/evening.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.