Forecast Update for Tuesday May 1st

The 18Z NAM has a very impressive forecast sounding/hodograph just east of the triple point Tuesday afternoon (18Z NAM forecast sounding above for area just east of the triple point). There is a little bit of CINH, but otherwise that is extremely impressive. SBCAPE around 3000 and 57kts of deep layer shear. That will definitely get you a supercell. Anvil level winds are fairly strong, so I’d expect classic supercells, at least for a while. The tornado potential is equally impressive near the triple point with 0-1km SRH >300, effective layer SRH around 500, critical angles are right around that 90 degree sweet spot, strong inflow level SR winds, fairly low LCL and LFC heights, etc. Basically everything you need for tornadic supercells is where it should be for a solid tornado threat. My feelings have been the same for the last few days on Tuesday in that I think the triple point area is a moderate risk type event if you go by SPC criteria. The 00Z NAM is out now and it is basically the same as the 18Z run, so no major changes. Below is the 00Z NAM forecast sounding for that same area east of the triple point.

The triple point did move around a bit with the 18Z and 00Z run. Not much shift in the location, but the 18Z NAM had the triple point a little farther east and then the 00Z shifted it back north a bit closer to I70. As of now I think a starting target of Hays, Kansas is about right. The 00Z 3km NAM has the triple point a little farther south with a storm developing SE of Hays. Somewhere out in that general area is going to end up being the bullseye for triple point development during the afternoon on Tuesday. If you get a discrete storm like the NAM continues to advertise, then strong tornadoes will be a threat in the area northeast of the triple point. Since this very well may just be only one or two storms, it’s not a high density severe weather type event, so you have to consider that when looking at how SPC handles it, but pound for pound these very well may be the strongest storms we get out of this 3-4 day severe weather event and if you live in the area I’ve been talking about you should take it seriously. Wednesday will probably get more hype since it could be a more widespread event, but my feelings are still the same that Tuesday’s storms may be the strongest. I would expect SPC to probably draw the enhanced risk a little farther south with the next update to account for the triple point earlier in the afternoon and the possibility that you may get a dryline storm in Kansas. I don’t know whether or not they’ll go moderate near the triple point if current model depictions hold true into Day 1. Given the low coverage of storms, they may opt not to do that I’d think. Still, I firmly believe any triple point storm could pose a threat of strong tornadoes, so again take it seriously if you live in or near the area I boxed in red on my forecast map from earlier today. Also brace yourself for the massive onslaught of chasers you are about to see lol. It’s been a slow season so everybody and their brother will be out for this one. That in the combination with the fact that there is a well defined bullseye for tornado potential at a triple point with this setup will draw virtually every chaser in the field to the same general target area. You won’t be able to throw a rock in Hays and the other towns around there without hitting a chaser Tuesday afternoon.

I did take a quick look at Wednesday’s setup with the 18Z runs and weak low level shear seems to be the biggest problem. Earlier runs several days back had the same issue. Then a couple days ago models started ramping up low level winds (I made a post on this a few days back). Now current runs of the NAM have the stronger low level winds shifting east through the day Wednesday and low level shear is pretty weak until after 00Z when the nocturnal LLJ ramps up. By that time the boundary layer is decoupling though, so there doesn’t seem to be much overlap in time/space where low level shear is supportive of tornadoes while we have surface based storms. The NAM is very stingy with convection too, only showing a couple discrete storms coming off the dryline. Not sure I’m buying that, but figured I’d mention it. I’m going to hold off for now on going into more detail. It doesn’t seem worth discussing too much until the models settle in a little better on this setup. We will need stronger low level shear than what is currently depicted for a solid tornado threat.

I got my car cleaned, Rain-X applied to all my windows and most of my non expensive chase equipment setup this afternoon. All I have left to do is getting some wiring better situated and setup the expensive equipment that I don’t like leaving in my car overnight and I’m ready to go. My tentative plan is to leave Wichita around 11am Tuesday and head up towards that Hays area. I’m getting all my backup batteries charged tonight because there is a good chance I’ll get home really late Tuesday and I need to be prepared for the possibility of an early AM departure for SW Oklahoma Wednesday morning, so I need all my shit in order in case I need to do that. Still not sure where I’ll chase Wednesday, but I have been leaning towards the Oklahoma portion of the dryline. I’ll get that figured out in the coming days though.

Alright, time for Mikey to ass out on the couch for a bit before I go to bed. I’ll update again tomorrow. Probably a brief update in the morning once 12Z runs come out and then I’ll get a more detailed post up tomorrow night, so check back then if you’re interested.


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