May 27 Forecast

052715 Forecast Map

Tomorrow is actually looking like it could be a decent chase day. Good thing because after watching the HP beast in Texas tonight on radar I’m ready to get out. Just got the cameras plugged in to charge so I should be good to go in the morning.

Convection that is starting up in southeast Colorado right now will track off to the east through the night and into tomorrow morning. These storms could lay down an outflow boundary across southwest Kansas. Additional storms are forecast to develop over Oklahoma and potentially lay down another outflow boundary. A OFB/warm front should drape somewhere in the vicinity of where I drew the red line on my map. Along this boundary surface winds will back, creating very good directional shear that will help offset weak wind field aloft. Deep layer shear should be around 40kts where surface winds back during the afternoon. When combined with strong instability conditions should be supportive of supercells.

The extent of  convection and how storms will evolve during the afternoon is a bit unclear. Both the dryline and the OFB/warm front could serve as a focus for storms. How the morning storms in Oklahoma lay down a boundary and how much clearing there is along/ahead of it may play a role in the tornado threat over the southern portion of the area I highlighted on the map. I think the northern portion of the threat area may be a bit more of a sure thing for that reason (although I certainly wouldn’t call tornadic supercells in that area a sure thing for tomorrow). With good curvature in the lower portion of the hodograph and 850mb winds picking up to around 30kts later  in the afternoon, conditions should become supportive of tornadic supercells. The tornado threat will be maximized along the OFB/warm front where surface winds back.

I’ll try to get a bit more detailed with where exactly I expect the best tornado threat in the morning once the surface pattern is a little more clear and the HRRR picks up on this. On that note, the HRRR hasn’t been that great as of late, so I may not put a whole lot of stock in that. The NAM did do a good job forecasting today’s convection in Texas and it has been putting storms off the moisture wrap around portion of SW Kansas pretty reliably. It also wants to develop storms along the OFB in Oklahoma and the dryline in the panhandle later in the afternoon. I think I’ll probably chase some place between the NE Texas panhandle and SW Kansas. One because it’s closer to home and it’s always nice if I can stay in the KWCH viewing area to help with coverage. Two because I think the proximity of backing surface winds to where I expect storms to fire is better up here. That may change tomorrow though once we see how OFB’s lay down and clouds clear along/ahead of them. I do think we’ll see some tornado reports tomorrow. I am a sucker for directional shear too. A lot of times when you have good turning like you have tomorrow you can get those good barrel shaped updrafts. With weak winds aloft, I’m questioning what type of supercells we’ll get. I haven’t looked at it in a while, but I want to say anvil level SR winds around 40kts is kind of the threshold for more classic vs HP supercells and we’ll struggle to get there. None the less, I’m leaning towards chasing. I am god damn tired of HP supercells this year though. I’m not sure what I would have done if I was on that beast of an HP in Texas today, but I know I would have been pretty nervous trying to make my way back into the bears cage on a storm with a real strong velocity couplet. Last year I wouldn’t go into the bears cage except for once because I was still a little jumpy after a close call with the El Reno tornado. This year I’ve gone into the occlusion/bears cage on several tornadic HP storms. I was feeling pretty comfortable again in there until I got a bit of a scare in Texas a few weeks back where I had a hook wrap in on me and I couldn’t figure out if the center of rotation was in front of me or behind me (it was basically over me). My road options were real limited that day in Texas though which kind of put me in a vulnerable position and hopefully that won’t be the case tomorrow. Although I do think the roads start to suck pretty bad in those counties right along and either side of the Oklahoma panhandle. Anyway, enough rambling. I’ll try to get a little more detailed map up in the morning (or by early afternoon) tomorrow once the surface pattern and where the peak tornado threat will be is a little more clear. I am extremely busy at work, but I think I’ll sneak out by lunch time for this one as long as everything looks on track in the morning.

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