Fairly potent set of paramaters coming together for this afternoon over south central Kansas and a severe weather event seems very likely. Storms will develop this afternoon along a dryline in SW Kansas/NE Oklahoma/E Texas panhandle (dryline location is marked on the map above). An outflow boundary from last night’s storms that tracked through Kansas this morning has been dropping south and is located roughly along the line I marked in blue on the map. The exact location is a little tricky to pin down at the moment because it doesn’t seem like there is a good correlation between the cloud line on satellite and wind shift/temp change at the surface. Where exactly the OFB will be this afternoon is a bit of a question mark too. Seems like the HRRR wants to push it back north a bit close to the triple point. I’ll come back to that in later posts.
Storms should develop around 3-5pm, possibly first at the triple point, with additional storms firing along the dryline and moisture wrap around back into NE Colorado. The environment over south central Kansas and ahead of the dryline will be characteried by extreme instability, with SBCAPE approaching 5000 and deep layer shear around 40kts which should be supportive of supercells with large hail. Shear vectors are largely normal to the boundary, which should encourage storms to at least come off the dryline as discrete supercells. How quickly storms fill in and become clustered is a bit of question mark, especially in the vicinity of the OFB. Current thinking is they’ll remain largely discrete through much of the afternoon, evening, possibly filling in closer to dark. Backing surface winds along and just south of the OFB will enhance low level shear and be the most favorable area for tornadic supercells. A few tornadoes seem likely with any discrete storm tracking through the area I boxed in red on the map. If storms can fire later or remain discrete past 7pm, a strong tornado threat could develop as the low level jet ramps up and 1km helicity begins to climb above 150 in south central Kansas.
I am headed out now. Just about to Kingman and we are heading towards the Liberal area. I’m not driving today so I should be able to get a few posts up. I’ll also post a link for our streaming video later.