Above is my best guess at where the best tornado potential will be for this weekend’s trough. I didn’t highlight the general severe weather area, so keep that in mind. Those are just the two areas I think we’ll have the best tornado potential on Saturday and Sunday.
My thinking hasn’t changed a whole lot since my previous forecast post two days ago aside from I do think the setup for both days has started to look a little bit better for tornadoes.
The surface low has trended south a little with the GFS over the last 48 hours and now looks to be in NE Colorado just off to the east/northeast of Denver Saturday afternoon. At the surface moisture wrapping around the north edge of the surface low and dryline arcing southeast of there will be the focus for the most intense storms. The setup will be characterized by strong directional shear and modest moisture. Moisture return does look a little better with the NAM showing low 50’s wrapping around the surface low and closer to 60 degrees farther east along the warm front/east of the triple point along the NE/KS border. If that can hold true, LCL heights will be workable and with good low level shear north of the surface low and along the warm front I think we could see a couple tornadic storms. Still need to see a few more model runs before I make any plans, but I am leaning towards chasing Saturday right now. There are a couple target areas I’m looking at over the area I outlined on the map. One would be tucked in near the surface low where moisture wraps around. Storms will likely fire there first and usually on setups like this you’ll get a tornadic storm just off the N/NW edge of the surface low with one of those early storms. The other area I like is a little farther east where better moisture resides along the warm front just east of the triple point. This is probably where I’d target. Storms should come off in some sort of an arcing band and it seems like you may get a more discrete storm closer to the northern edge of the dryline bulge, kind of over in the NE/KS/CO border intersection. Still a long ways out to be picking targets lol, but that’s the area I’d generally focus on with this type of a setup. I think we are likely looking at a lower end tornado day, but I am becoming more confident we’ll see a couple tornadic storms. BTW I couldn’t get forecast soundings with the NAM to pull up so I’ll have to get into a little more detail on Saturday’s setup tomorrow.
Sunday should hold a little better tornado threat as richer moisture moves into the plains. I still think the greatest tornado threat will be along the dryline in southern Kansas and Oklahoma. The veer, back, veer hodographs are still there, but it seems to be less pronounced over northern portions of Oklahoma. I want to see how the NAM handles this tomorrow before I get into too much detail, but the potential could be there for a higher end tornado event. There’s nothing real dramatic about any given aspect of this setup. It’s just kind of generally good across the board. Moisture quality looks to be good, not great. Instability looks to be moderate for this time of year. Solid deep layer shear and low level shear, again nothing major though. Some of the forecast hodographs show some pretty good length and curvature in the lower levels. 0-1km SRH is around 200 with a lot of forecast soundings ahead of the dryline, which if instability is a little higher than what the GFS is forecasting (which I think the GFS tends to under shoot instability a bit while the NAM tends to juice it), then I think there may be a strong tornado threat over portions of the outlook area on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hoisting the strong tornado threat yet, just saying that I think the potential may be there. We’ll see what the NAM has to say tomorrow and then I’ll start to get into a little more detail on that. Right now I think I like the northern portions of Oklahoma best where the veer, back, veer profile doesn’t seem as pronounced with hodographs.
Alright, enough for tonight. I’m going to watch part of Jurassic Park on HBO and then I need to get to bed. I put the cameras on the charger tonight and I’m going to start getting the car ready for chasing tomorrow. I’m a little unsure on what my plans are for this weekend assuming I do chase both days. I’m thinking about maybe just driving out to far NE Colorado Saturday morning and then staying the night some place in western Kansas. I really don’t want to drive all the way home Saturday night after chasing if I’m going to head west again Sunday morning to chase. It’s kind of in the air right now though because if I’m targeting north central Oklahoma Sunday then I need to come back towards Wichita anyway. IDK, I do like staying in hotels when I chase lol. It makes it feel more like a vacation than the normal 15 hour round trip driving marathons I usually do. I may have to take Duck with me Saturday though so that could complicate things a bit. Duck doesn’t mind chasing as long as it’s not HP storms. The wind and rain scares him. Duck about shit himself on a tornadic HP storm in Texas last year when I was hanging out near the occlusion trying to get rain wrapped tornadoes. It wasn’t a fun experience for him, but as long as it’s not raining with the car getting blown around he seems to be cool with it.
That’s all for tonight, but check back tomorrow afternoon. I may make a quick post at lunch and then I’ll get a more detailed post up tomorrow night.