Just now getting a chance to start really looking at data. I had to get some of my equipment setup in my car after I got home so I’m ready to bail anytime tomorrow. Just got the go pros and video camera charging so Mikey is pretty much good to go. Now time for forecasting.
I have only glanced at the NAM and it’s been pretty steady through todays runs. The NAM is showing a surface pattern very similar to what it had two days ago except everything has shifted northeast slightly. That also puts the greatest tornado threat northeast of Wichita tomorrow, although storms could develop very close to Wichita so it’s still could see some severe weather. There is still some question marks around where storms will develop and when. The NAM has an uncapped warm sector by afternoon, but it’s been rather skimpy with convection and really hasn’t been showing much if anything in the way of dryline storms. I’m not too worried about that though. I’ll pay attention to high resolution convection models like HRRR, but even with those I look more at general themes rather than specifics, like progression of convective evolution or storm mode. Even those models don’t do a good job with forecasting convection, so I wouldn’t sweat the NAM much on that type of thing. Despite the lack of dryline storms, the NAM has shown convection north of the warm front through the day and then storms along it by late afternoon near Emporia/Topeka, but I’d think anything developing in that area would track northeast fairly quickly and out of the favorable near warm front environment so I haven’t paid much attention to that as of yet. I’ll have to pull forecast soundings and take a closer look at that later tonight. Anyway, what I’m watching for is storms developing along the dryline bulge and just off the east/northeast side of the surface low along the cusp (if you will) in the moisture wrap around. Even if the HRRR doesn’t have a good handle on convection you should be able to get a good feel for where storms will fire off visible satellite by early afternoon so it shouldn’t be hard to focus in on an exact target. My best guess is if storms develop along the dryline bulge it will be roughly along a Wichita to Hutchinson line. Ahead of the dryline the environment will be quite favorable for supercells with CAPE in the 2500J/kg range and AOA 50kts of deep layer shear. Additionaly storm motions should be largely normal to the boundary so discrete supercells should be the favored mode of convection. The tornado potential tomorrow should be focused along and just north of the warm front where backing surface winds enhance low level shear. Supercell and Sig Tornado composites are actually half way decent along the warm front, which makes sense given the strong instability, decent moisture, strong deep layer shear and fairly strong low level shear along the warm front. SPC even went as far as to say a strong tornado couldn’t be ruled out tomorrow and I’d agree with that. It’s all about convective evolution and whether or not you get a discrete storm tracking through that near warm front environment though. Basically the paramaters will be there to support tornadic supercells, we just needs storms to fire at the right time and in the right place to realize it. If we get a discrete or tail end storm coming off the dryline bulge area from I70 to Wichita that can track northeast towards the warm front, then I think it’s game on.
I still have quite a bit to look at with the models and I plan on going over the 00Z run when it comes out, so I’m sure I’ll be back on here rambling more later tonight. As of now my plan for tomorrow is to head home after lunch and be ready to hit the road around 1pm. I probably won’t go far. Thinking Newton or McPherson is a good starting point. Since it’s close to home I have the luxury of waiting til the last minute to pick my target so I’m not worried about it. I’ll post a few times tomorrow morning as I get details figured out and I’ll likely post again tonight so check back if you’re interested.