Forecast Update

No map tonight. I just now sat down for my nightly screw off time. It seems like during the week I have little to no time for forecasting or laying around. I usually work until 5:30-6:30, then I’ve been trying to work out every night (to get in shape for summer) so by the time that’s done along with whatever other stuff I need to do it’s 8:30 or 9. It sucks. I need to drag my ass out of bed earlier in the morning and go into work earlier so I can take off earlier. That’s a battle I fight with the pillow every morning and the pillow usually wins.

Anyway, I’ve glanced at tomorrow’s setup, but only briefly so take this with a grain of salt. The stronger deep layer shear is going to reside behind the cold front over most of the threat area tomorrow, however instability will be strong along portions of the cold front and dryline to help offset that. It’s May so we may eek out a tornado any place across the threat area, but here’s my best guess on where. I liked the area closer to the surface low over the last couple days, but as each run continues to show morning convection lingering from NE Kanas up into Iowa I’m becoming more and more convinced that is going to ruin any tornado potential up there. Tonight’s 4km WRF sure seemed to pain that picture. I’ll look at it again in the morning though. The HRRR is by far the best CAM guidance this time of year so I put a lot of stock in it on these types of issues. With precip possibly being a problem from NE Kansas up towards the surface low, I kind of like the cold front dryline triple point, which should be roughly in the vicinity of SW Oklahoma tomorrow afternoon. I’m a tornado chaser first and foremost, so generally I’m not a fan of cold fronts. Storms tend to parallel the front and storms get under cut or fill in quickly/transition to more linear mode. However, I am a fan of dryline cold front triple points. El Reno was a dryline cold front triple point storm. Where the dryline intersects the cold front surface winds back more and storms tend to fire later and be more discrete along the dryline portion of the boundary to the south of the triple point so a lot of times you get a semi discrete storm off the triple point with undisturbed inflow from it’s south (at least for a period of time) while more linear storms prevail to the north of the triple point. Without much upper level support and the cold front not crashing south you may tend to get some semi discrete storms along the cold front in central Oklahoma tomorrow too though. We should see good moisture and strong CAPE tomorrow, but shear profiles will be fairly weak, especially in the low levels. Deep layer shear CAPE combinations seem strong enough for supercells, with 0-6km shear in the 40-50kt range from the triple point up through central Oklahoma right along the boundary, but low level wind fields are weak and upper level winds are weak. I’d think the best shot for a tornado given those considerations is where surface winds back near the triple point and that’s probably where I’d target. Convective coverage is very uncertain down there with the models showing only a couple if any storms. We’ll see how that looks with the HRRR in the morning though. I think the triple point should be near Altus and the better thermodynamics will be from there up to OKC area or so where CAPE is forecast to be quite strong, so I would probably split the difference and setup between Altus and OKC initially to watch visible satellite and if cu looks fairly healthy near the triple point I’d drop south to take that. The only reason I’d split the difference early is to keep your options open if it looks like all we’ll get is a storm off the cold front closer to central Oklahoma. I’m going to see what SPC has to say and check data in the morning before making the call, but I’m leaning towards sitting this one out since it looks like I may be taking some days off next week to chase. Which leads me into the next topic…

looking ahead the GFS and ECMWF are showing a low amplitude wave moving into the central/southern plains early next week. The GFS had shown Monday as a fairly impressive setup in Oklahoma with the 12Z run, but it slowed the trough down with the 18Z run and the ECMWF is a little slower too, so it may be Tuesday before the trough gets out into the plains. That’s my current thinking, but we’ll need to see a couple more runs before pinning the timing down. It looks like there will be good quality moisture to work with and if that’s the case I’d expect there to be some chase days early next week despite this trough not being really strong. Part of me says that because it’s May and things tend to work out this time of year. Behind the trough early next week a more significant wave looks to move onto the west coast. Too early to get into detail, but stay tuned. It looked like we may be in for a bit of a break a couple days ago, but now it’s starting to look more likely that things will ramp up again in the plains for tornadoes next week. I’ll try to update again tomorrow before lunch, so check back if you’re interested.

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