Tornado Forecast

Sunday Day 3 mapAbove is the updated map for Sunday. I put most of my comments on the forecast in the text of that map, so just click on that to get the quick break down. I don’t think Sunday is getting the love it deserves lol. I don’t know if it’s because people are focused on Tuesday or because nobody has been saying the T word in the formal forecasts for Sunday, but I think that’s going to change pretty quick. It will be a lower end tornado threat, but it’s there and I’d bet we get a tornadic storm or two over the area I boxed in red on the map if the moisture return the models are forecasting verifies. That’s the biggest if around this setup IMO right now. The models are holding steady with dewpoints around 60 making it back into south central Kansas by late Sunday afternoon. I still find that a little hard to believe, but if we can hit 60 or so with dewpoints, then I think we’ll see tornadoes. If you loop the dewpoint map with the NAM it looks pretty miraculous lol. It almost seems like it’s showing a contribution from evapotranspiration or better moisture slightly above the surface mixing down with daytime heating. I only glanced at forecast soundings and the moisture is deep, but it doesn’t seem like it rises much just above surface. IDK. I figure it is what it is so I’m not going to invest too much time digging into it right now. There is a really strong LLJ in place to pump moisture north ahead of the trough on Sunday, but it never does get a really good fetch off the gulf with the axis of the LLJ remaining over the plains. Whatever lol, we’ll see.

See the text on the forecast map for details, but discrete supercells should be the favored mode of convection from central Kansas into NW/NC Oklahoma. The window of real interest for me is 6-8pm or so when LCL heights start to lower and low level shear ramps up. Low level winds will be quite strong and surface pressure falls over southeastern Colorado could help to locally back low level winds a little more across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Effective LCL heights area little high, but later in the day as they start to lower and low level shear improves, I think we’ll get a couple tornadic storms. Below is a forecast sounding/hodo from the area near the KS/OK border at 00Z. It’s not bad for a day that isn’t getting much talk.

Sunday Wichita hodographI’m gong to see Bill Burr in KC tomorrow night, but I’ll get a post up some time tomorrow at least making quick comments if not a full forecast. If I don’t get it done tomorrow, I’ll break Sunday out in a little more detail Sunday morning. I do plan on chasing and as of now I’m leaning towards targeting out around Pratt as a starting point and chasing back towards the Wichita area. That may change a bit. I could target anywhere from Salina down towards the area east of Woodward as details become more clear. Although that’s where my starting target would be, I think the best tornado potential would be for the area farther east closer to the I35 corridor in south central Kansas. That seems like the general area storms should be in during the 6-8pm time frame when conditions become most favorable for tornadic supercells.

I want to watch a movie real quick before bed, so I’m not going to get into Tuesday again tonight. You can look back at my previous posts for some details and they should all still be valid because really not much has changed with this setup. It looks the same as it did before, minus a northeastward shift in the threat area. See my post from this morning for details on that and where I think the threat area will ultimately end up. The GFS has been trending northeast and the ECMWF is even faster, so I think the logical conclusion is the threat area will stay put or shift even farther east. Right now the triple point is in western Kansas near I70 with the warm front draped along I70 and the dryline extending south a couple counties west of the I35 corridor. The only concerns I have with regards to Tuesday are the same ones I’ve had for a couple days. The models keep showing a fair amount of CINH, but at the same time it breaks out plenty of convection along the dryline. The other concern besides the CINH is upper level clouds. 250mb RH has been high off and on with previous runs of the GFS. The 18Z had 250 RH at 95% or higher through the day Tuesday. Despite that, surface temperatures still warm plenty through the day with very strong instability ahead of the dryline. So although there is a bit of concern with the models showing saturated upper levels and CINH, the end result is the models still show neither really being an issue. Given the strong thermodynamics that will be in place, solid shear profiles and large spatial coverage of both, I still think a tornado outbreak is likely on Tuesday with the possibility of strong tornadoes. I also still think this is a high end moderate to low end high risk type setup if you want to put it in SPC terms.

Beyond Tuesday I am starting to get a pretty good feel for my chase schedule I think. Friday looks to be a day before the day event out in the western plains. Moisture return will likely be a bit of an issue, especially as you go north close to the surface low in Colorado. There should be some good quality moisture to work with down the in panhandles along the dryline though and that’s the area I’m focused on (at least as focused as you can be a week out lol). You can’t put much into details since it is 7 days away, but being a day before the day type setup directional shear will be very good and if you get far enough south to realize good quality moisture I think you could see some impressive storm structure and possibly a lower end tornado or two.

Saturday looks like it has the potential to be a bigger severe weather outbreak. It doesn’t look quite as good for strong tornadoes as Tuesday, but it’s a long ways out and it does have some things better going for it, like stronger mid/upper level winds compared to Tuesday. It definitely bears close watching and the potential could be there for another outbreak type scenario.

Sooo, basically a very active severe weather week coming up and I think residents of the plains are about to get a strong reminder that we are coming into peak tornado season. I think I’ll be chasing Sunday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. It’s going to be a busy week for me with little sleep, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be trying to update at least twice a day starting tomorrow, so check back if you’re interested.


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