Really not a whole lot to change from the going forecast post I made two days ago other than getting into a little more detail. It still looks like Sunday is the first day with any plausible tornado potential. also still looks like we are going to get into a more active stretch of severe weather/tornadoes in the plains next week.
For Sunday the potential has trended down a bit over the last couple days with the GFS. Still a decent looking setup, but it’s been trending down slightly. The GFS was showing around 60-65kts with the mid level jet a couple days ago, but now it’s more like 50-55kt at 500mb Sunday evening as the shortwave weakens. Moisture return is a bit of a concern as well. The GFS is still showing dewpoints near 60 making it as far north as southern Kansas by 7pm Sunday, but that’s a bit less aggressive than in previous runs. Moisture advection back into the plains is last minute with this setup too. The GFS has consistently shown moisture return starting slowly into south Texas on Saturday, but we don’t really get a good fetch off the gulf and into the plains until Saturday night, which doesn’t leave a very big window for moisture advection back into the central plains. The other chief concern with this setup (as the GFS shows it, which is reaching when you’re 5 days out) is weak upper level winds. Regardless of the concerns, respectable shear profiles in the 0-6km layer and dewpoints near 60 would probably be enough to get the job done for a lower end tornado threat. The focus for the greatest severe/tornado threat would likely be with the dryline across Kansas and Oklahoma where better quality moisture will be available. I’ll hold off on any further detail until later posts, but it’s something to watch and I do think it will be a chase day. I am going to KC Saturday night to see Bill Burr at the Sprint Center and go out in power and light, so it’s going to be a rough Sunday morning for me lol. I’m going to have to get out of bed at a decent hour to make sure I’m back to Wichita early enough Sunday to get the car ready and forecast. It’s still way too early to be putting up maps, but I went ahead and did it anyway to at least show my best guess at the threat area. There is still some spread between the GFS and ECMWF with the exact timing/location of the shortwave though (and we are 5 days out) so it will likely have to be tweaked in coming days. I do think the central portions of the dryline is the likely target for the best potential with this setup since that’s where favorable shear profiles (mid/upper winds will get weaker as you go south) will overlap better quality moisture moving in from the south. Still question marks with this setup with things like moisture return and extent of convection that will need to get sorted out in coming days, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Beyond Sunday it still looks like an active week may be in store as a long wave trough anchors in over the western US. At the same time a surface high pressure off the southeastern US will keep a good flow of moisture coming in off the gulf. This pattern is forecast to basically stay in place through the week with several significant shortwaves moving through the plains. The large scale pattern certainly favors some significant severe weather in the plains, but it’s still too far out to get into any real detail. Bottom line is it’s a very favorable pattern for severe weather in the plains and climatologically (not sure that’s a word lol) speaking this is when it happens. You expect tornado season to ramp up in April and it looks like it may finally be happening. If you think about it we really haven’t had any solid tornado setups in the plains so far. There’s been some decent lower end threats, but nothing major so far this spring. Hopefully that starts to turn around next week. I need to buckle down at work the rest of this week so I make sure I’m good to take off a couple days next week if need be.
Alright, that’s all for tonight. I’m going to keep a close eye on the models and I should update again tomorrow sometime. I’ve actually been looking over model data on my lunch break too and tomorrow I have to take my car in for service at lunch so I may post a quick update around noon. If not I’ll get to it tomorrow night.