Chasing Today

I’m on the road now heading towards far SW Kansas. I may drop a little farther south into the NW Texas panhandle as a starting point. Still sorting out my exact target, but I am going with the southern option and playing the dryline today. Between shear vectors being more normal to the boundary and upper level winds veering (and being a bit stronger) along the dryline with southern extent, I think it’s the smarter play for more discrete storms and tornadoes. Moisture quality looks slightly better at first glance than previously forecast. Oklahoma mesonet shows dewpoints already at 55 with a few stations in the OK panhandle with several stations showing mid 50’s advecting in from the south behind that. 57 to 58 or so seems reasonable for the Texas panhandle with more like 55-56 in far SW Kansas for this afternoon. I’m not sure if those will mix down much since surface temps are still pretty low. I haven’t looked at much data yet so I’m still relying pretty heavily in what I saw with the models in previous days, but my current targeting thoughts are that I’m focusing on the area near the OK panhandle into far SW Kansas. Reason being that I didn’t like the weak upper level winds that were backed (horrible upper portion of hodograph farther north in Colorado western Kansas) and I didn’t like the weaker curvature in the lower portion of the hodograph farther south along the dryline, so I’m kind of splitting the difference and playing the central/northern portion of the dryline. Plus CAM guidance and common sense indicate this is the area where storms should start to be more discrete and you are going to want to be on a storm with undisturbed inflow after 6pm for the best tornado threat. With strong low level winds and moisture improving modestly the tornado threat could peak right around dark or a little after and continue into the night. And finally my other reason for playing that area rather than dropping farther south into the TX panhandle is that I would like to help KWCH out with coverage so unless there is a major difference in tornado potential I usually will cheat towards staying in the viewing area.

I still think this is a lower end tornado threat (despite the HRRR showing some pretty strong UH output), but I do like my chances of a tornado more now than I did over the last couple days while forecasting. I’d put the best tornado potential from about 2/3 of the way south into the TX panhandle up into SW Kansas. Any discrete storm over that area could be in business later today. I’ll try to update again in a bit as I get a better handle on the forecast. I’m flying solo today though so it’s kind of tough to work on that stuff while driving. Anyway, good luck if you’re out.

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