I moved north a bit and am setting up near the intersection of 83 and 23 just south of North Platte. I saw the Dow and whatever that research group is they’re doing this year on 83 going south about 15 minutes ago. Always make you think twice when you are going the other way lol. I’m a man of conviction though. I attached a quick screen grab from radar above. Storms should rapidly develop along the yellow arcing line I drew over the next hour. I’m looking for one coming off the area circled in red to hang with initially. I’ll probably try to drop south to catch a tail end or break in the line dryline storm tracking through the southern part of Nebraska later today as the low level jet ramps up. It’s going to be tricky, but I think it’s worth the gamble rather than committing to the southern storm from the get go. That or if we don’t get a storm in the next hour up here that looks like it’s got room to work I’ll shoot south in an hour and pick a storm up firing near goodland as it approaches the Nebraska border. Further updates through the chase today will be on my twitter page so follow me there if you’re interested. Btw the young storm in NE Colorado already has a little couplet. I always take that as a great sign when young storms get organized rotation fast.
Sitting in McCook, NE. There is a hell of a lot of chasers here. I’ve been forecasting for 30 minutes or so and I think I’m going to get creative with my chase strategy and move up to North Platte. Plan is to take a triple point storm early and see if I can get a tornado closer to the warm front early and then bail southeast to pick up on dryline storms tracking northeast as the low level jet ramps up and the open warm sector becomes supportive of tornadoes. It normally doesn’t work well when I try stuff like this, but I think it may work today. Roger Hill is at the same gas station as me now which makes me second guess leaving lol, but you gotta do what you think is right and north it is at least for a little while.
On my way to the McCook, Nebraska area. I’ll check satellite and surface pattern there and make final adjustments to my target from there. Plan is to get east of the surface low and I’ll either take a storm tracking near the warm front or take a northern dryline storm tracking through southern Nebraska. Tornado chances are better with the warm front option, but I also think that would take me north and northeast of North Platte which has some of the worst road networks in the plains. With fast storm motions I think chasing that area may be a fools errand. I’m considering it, but a northern dryline storm may be a better option low level shear away from the warm front won’t get strong enough for a decent tornado threat until 6-9 timeframe, but models have been signaling a long lived tail end or discrete supercell tracking through the McCook to central Nebraska corridor through the evening during that window when the LLJ ramps up. The tornado threat wouldn’t be quite as good as the near warm front environment, but it’s better road networks and easier to hang with a storm with that target. I’d love to play the dodge city area but cloud cover is filling in over the TX panhandle and into SW Kansas as forecast by the NAM and discussed in my previous posts. I think that lends credibility to the idea that there will be a narrow uncapped instability axis ahead of the dryline in SW Kansas so storms that due fire won’t have long enough windows to really mature and pose a good tornado threat before they move into less buoyant air and fizzle out.
Sorry for not updating if you’ve been checking. I had my hands full today trying to get stuff done so I can focus on chasing. Took care of my stuff at work, cleaned up the car and got a new dash camera and new windshield wipers after work, got a hair cut, showered, setup my equipment in the car, reprogrammed all my dash cams (I keep three running in my car at all times, my streaming dash cam is recording, I have two go pros and then my primary sony video camera for a total of 7 cameras lol. I take the overkill approach after missing footage in the past) and finally I packed my bags and prepped the rest of my equipment by my door so I’m ready to bail first thing in the morning. Unfortunately that didn’t leave any time for forecasting until about 30 minutes ago. I’ve only glanced over the HRRR and NAM. I’m still very uncertain of where I’m targeting. Things would be so much simpler if I knew the dryline in Kansas was going to put off a sustained storm. The SW Kansas portion of the dryline has been my focus and target with this one for days, but as we get closer and there’s only been modest trends with the models towards breaking out storms in SW Kansas I’m having a hard time not just heading north and taking the sure thing in Nebraska. If I didn’t chase for KWCH it would be an easier call. I hate missing out on good tornadic storms in the viewing area and I feel bad if I don’t help out with coverage. The HRRR puts off a storm by Dodge City, but it dies off once it gets out over the warm sector with there is a stronger cap and less CAPE. The warm front lifts north really fast with the HRRR and keeps warm front storms in a favorable environment for a good period of time and that is where the HRRR puts off the strongest UH tracks. Not sure I’m buying that as advertised, I am not a fan of chasing warm front storms and it’s way the hell up north, so I’m not seriously considering that target. I might consider it, but I also have a guy coming from Arizona tonight that is going to follow along with me chasing for a week or so. He’s driving through the night tonight to get to Dodge City, which was the target I told him several days ago. I gave him the warning that we might be calling an audible and going to Nebraska today, which is going to suck something fierce for him because he’ll basically have to pull an all nighter to get there. Gotta go where the tornadoes are though.
Jesus I’m rambling a lot about non-forecasting related stuff. Anyway, the NAM keeps Kansas dry again with no dryline storms while the HRRR shows a storms that fizzles shortly after maturing. There are some differences in the surface patter near the surface low between the two models as well. The NAM shows a potent little notch with a tight moisture gradient just east of the surface low. The HRRR shows a wider moisture gradient in the same spot and not as potent of an environment. Both models have sustained supercells coming off the dryline in far NW Kansas/SW Nebraska though. As nonsensical as it seems after focusing no the triple point/near warm front environment and the SW Kansas dryline target for several days, I’m now considering targeting the far northern portion of the dryline. Storm motions are going to be fast tomorrow so I want to target downstream a ways. There’s no reason to get cute and tuck in tight on the boundary on fast storm motion days IMO. You are just asking to get left behind before the storm even matures and starts posing a solid tornado threat. I’m thinking maybe McCook, Nebraska or somewhere up in that area for starters. I’m either going there or out in the Dodge City area tomorrow. My plan is to check the cloud cover over the panhandle and CAM guidance first thing tomorrow morning and make my targeting call then. If I still can’t decide, I’ll head towards Hays and that will buy me three more hours to make the call. I can go NW from Hays or cut south to Dodge City from there if it looks like we’ll get dryline storms in SW Kansas. I don’t think I’ll play the warm front. Just too far and again I generally am not a fan of warm front storms. They tend to go HP as they mature so you have to tuck in tight in the bears cage and on days like tomorrow they can also have huge hail. It’s a recipe for an ass kicking and when storm motions are fast I really hate trying to manage warm front storms. Top that off with the shitty road networks in that part of Nebraska tomorrow and either you need an armored car or you better be okay with beating the shit out of your car. I’m not lol. So SW Nebraska or SW Kansas for Mikey. I’ll update in the morning when I look at data and I’ll be updating regularly through the day with mesoscale details so check back then.
I’m seriously worried about that cap over the open warm sector with Friday’s setup. That in my mind is the one big fly in the ointment for the SW Kansas and Texas panhandle portion of the target area. What’s weird is that if you read the Norman NWS discussion and the DDC NWS discussion they seem very confident in at least scattered storms off the dryline. Those guys definitely know better than I do, but despite their confidence I am still extremely worried and am bracing myself emotionally for a blue sky cap bust lol. You do get strong moisture convergence along the dryline, especially in SW Kansas and the high resolution NAM and regular NAM both show towers/light showers trying to come off the dryline in that area, but neither has shown any sort of sustained convection across the SW Kansas or Texas panhandle portion of the dryline. BTW if you look at the 00Z NAM simulated reflectivity and saw the precip over the target area at 21Z pictured below, I believe that’s elevated bullshit the NAM is wrongly kicking off the dryline down in the panhandle at 18Z. That’s not surface based precip coming off the dryline at 21Z like you might think.
The GFS has shown an isolated storm or two occasionally, but I have no faith in the GFS precip output. Getting a sustained storm issues aside, the environment looks quite good for tornadic supercells late in the day, with the strongest parameters consistently being located in that SW Kansas into the northern Texas panhandle corridor, which is what I’ve been focused on. I still really like my Meade, KS target and I am sticking to it. The only adjustment I would make would be if I thought that moving up or down the dryline was necessary because there wasn’t going to be a sustained storm coming off the dryline in SW Kansas. I think it has as good of a shot as anywhere though when looking at the dryline between I70 and Amarillo.
I’m going to get into a little more detailed discussion tonight since we’re getting closer and the finer scale details are what really matter on this. I’ve avoided getting into that up to this point strictly because it’s too far out, but I have been looking at the details pretty closely with Friday’s setup for several days. I mentioned a day or two ago the temperature anomaly that starts over the Texas panhandle portion of the warm sector and spreads up into Kansas through the day. The surface temps over that area ahead of the dryline are a good 6 degrees cooler than the ambient warm sector. That pocket of lower surface temps syncs up exactly with the lower surface based CAPE and stronger CINH. Why is it there? Welp, from what I can tell it’s the NAM’s response to heavier cloud cover and warm air advection at 850mb. The NAM has been extremely consistent in showing that. It starts over the Texas panhandle at 12Z and advects north through the early afternoon which keeps surface heating down ahead of the dryline from the NE Texas panhandle into SW Kansas. Below is a few screen grabs from COD 00Z NAM showing this evolution through the day. The first pic is 18Z cloud cover, note the heavier cloud cover moving up out of the TX panhandle into Kansas which is inhibiting surface heating with the NAM (I outlined the cloud cover in black that I’m talking about).
The next screen grab below is the surface temps at 18Z, showing the temperature anomaly that syncs up with the cloud cover. There is a good 6 degree or so drop in surface temps associated with that. Again it’s outlined in black.
And finally below is the 00Z CAPE/CINH output from the NAM where you can clearly see how the lower surface temps equates to reduced CAPE and increased CINH ahead of the dryline across the NE Texas panhandle and SW Kansas. There is no CINH along the dryline where there was better surface heating, so if that were to verify, you may get storms trying to come off the dryline in SW Kansas, but they’d struggle and fizzle in the model world.
Also note the very unstable and uncapped warm sector farther north in NW Kansas and southern Nebraska which is the portion of the warm sector north of the cloud cover and gets good heating through the early afternoon. All this is very easy to see if you loop the NAM and again, it has been extremely consistent in showing it. In the model world, that pocket of less stable air and high inhibition is a deal breaker for surface based storms coming off the dryline in SW Kansas and the panhandle, which is where the strongest wind shear is for tornadoes. So the big question is whether this is going to be a real world problem or is it just a model world problem. I have no idea lol. I just spout off shit on here and hope the people reading know less than I do so I look like I know what I’m talking about lol. No I joke, but I do only know enough to be dangerous. I have a fair amount of experience and I studied mesoscale and storm scale meteorology a little when I was getting started as a youngster, but I am not strong at the fundamentals of diagnosing things like cloud cover associated with warm air advection (I suck at synoptic scale meteorology too btw). The good people at NWS and SPC are good at that and they don’t seem to think it’s that big of an issue so I have to defer to them on these types of matters. Normally I’m a firm believer in following my own forecast regardless of what others like SPC say, but on things like this and whether or not the cap will break and we’ll have sustained storms over the warm sector, I know my own weaknesses and I defer to others, so I will participate in the Friday cap bust lol.
Storms still look to be much more certain over the northern portion of the warm sector coming off the triple point in SW Nebraska, which is farther south in the latest runs btw. The low level shear is not nearly as strong up there though and any tornado potential would be isolated to the triple point and near warm front environment. Given storm motions and the orientation of the front, I don’t think that window is very large and the residence time for supercells tracking through that corridor of greater tornado potential won’t be very long. I love a triple point chase, but when the low level shear is only strong enough to be supportive of tornadoes in the near warm front environment you need right mover storm motions to be somewhat in alignment with the orientation of the front so the storm can either root in the boundary and track down it or at least maximize it’s residence time in that near warm front environment before it moves north of it and becomes elevated. That difference between projected storm motions and front orientation up there is just too big for that to happen IMO and it’s a pretty sharp warm front so storms will probably get elevated pretty quickly as they cross it. I think the best chance is literally right at the triple point where you may have possibly have a little longer residence time in that favorable window. I’d target there if I was chasing up there and I think it has the best shot at a tornado or two. I do think we’ll see a tornado report or two out of that spot and it’s the area I boxed in on the map. The exact location of that triple point will likely change, but you just change your target with it. The concept that you target the first storm coming off the triple point remains regardless of the exact location of that triple point.
As for the southern target, at this point in time I think I’m targeting Meade, KS, but I also think the I40 and just south of there in the TX panhandle portion of the dryline may be a better target. It kind of depends on the NAM verifying though with the pocket of lower surface temps over the NE panhandle and SW Kansas. Assuming the NAM is totally accurate, then the Texas panhandle target would clear out a little earlier in the afternoon allowing for more surface heating and a wider uncapped warm sector for storms to work with. It’s also on the southern edge of the strong low level jet and stronger SRH. Best overlap of low level shear and workable warm sector. I don’t know though. I like the environment better in SW Kansas, I can help with coverage if I stay up here and my gut makes me think the NAM is overdoing the lack of surface heating over the warm sector in SW Kansas. BTW I say all these very specific details about the NAM three days out not because I think it’s going to play out exactly like that so I give it that level of validity. I say it just because I do think that scenario is a possibility and it’s a good exercise to prepare for quick and effective chase day targeting decisions based off how it’s actually playing out and you’re going off observations trying to figure out where to move to in the final hours before initiation. It’s also just good practice to spend time evaluating the details trying to find subtle mesoscale strengths and weaknesses between one specific target and another. Anyway, point being don’t take those very specific model details too seriously this far out. So that being said as things stand now I think my strategy would be to target Meade, KS hoping for the best, but be there at least a couple hours early so I can watch satellite and current conditions and adjust south into the Texas panhandle if I need to. Any sustained storms in the southern target area I outlined on my tornado threat map would likely pose a tornado threat and we could even see a strong tornado threat if things play out right.
Alright I’m too tired to get into the extended range tonight. I’ll hit on that tomorrow. Basically I think maybe a couple lower end tornadoes Saturday, but needle in the haystack type chasing. Sunday is a down day in the plains. Monday through Thursday there is tornado potential every day, but the trend with the GFS has definitely been to back off the tornado threat as we get closer for each setup. I don’t know. It could be tough chasing with localized areas of enhanced potential on given days. There will definitely be tornadoes, but you are going to have to put more work into it than I thought you would a few days ago. I’ll get into the specifics more tomorrow.
It’s all going to hell in a hand basket. lol I’m just beside myself with the GFS. It’s jumping around a lot and taking a dump on every setup as we get into the near term, which seems to be it’s MO. For chasers it is proving to be a dream crusher of a model. I am in a hurry so I need to keep this quick. Friday still looks to have serious capping problems for everywhere south of I70. I’ll look at it closely over the next 36 hours, but I’m thinking about calling an audible and going north where sustained storms are more likely. I’ll take a closer look at that tonight. I still think Saturday looks very messy and tornadoes will be tough to come by, but I do think they’ll happen. That is going to be a common theme through the entire forecast period. The GFS shows a very active jet stream with one wave after another coming through the plains for the foreseeable future, but there doesn’t seem to be any easy setups with an undisturbed warm sector. They all look sloppy where air mass recovery in isolated pockets may produce, but they aren’t widespread outbreaks where you basically pick your storm coming off the boundary and your in business. You are going to have to work for it. Monday of course follows that theme. The last several runs of the GFS have morning storms screwing things up across the northern portion of the warm sector. You may get some clearing behind that which will allow for a pocket of stronger CAPE, but how that will evolve is very unclear at the moment. Same theme seems to go through Tuesday and then again with the third trough that ejects into the plains on Thursday/Friday. We are going to get tornadoes in the plains between this Friday and next Friday. I have very little doubt about that. You can’t get this kind of high quality moisture with strong negatively tilted troughs coming through the plains and not get tornadoes. That would be very abnormal when it’s happening in May. It’s just going to be tough forecasting and chasing to find them. No layups with this one I’m afraid. That’s all the rambling I can do right now. I’ll dig into specifics tonight.
I didn’t have much time to forecast or make maps tonight. Got home late from the gym and I have a 7:30am meeting tomorrow so I need to get into work a little earlier than usual, so I didn’t much done on the forecasting front other than a quick glance. I’ll just do a quick run through and then I’ll get a couple posts up tomorrow.
Friday. I saw the 00Z NAM and of course it doesn’t want to break out precipitation in Kansas or Texas/Oklahoma. I think the NAM may be wrong on that one. After looking at it a little closer the NAM keeps a pocket of colder surface temps over the eastern Texas panhandle and then advects it north through the afternoon, which puts a stronger cap over the Kansas portion of the target area. This same surface temperature anomaly coincides with heavier cloud cover and saturated 850mb layer (can see it real easy on 850RH). The lower surface temps associated with this keep CAPE down CINH up and no precip along the dryline in that area with the 00Z NAM. At least that’s my quick take after spending about 15 minutes looking at the NAM and the GFS isn’t really showing the same thing (not going into it that deep tonight), so don’t take it too seriously lol. I’m going to see what SPC has to say about it tomorrow and I’ll dive into it more with tomorrow’s forecast. Being 3 days out I’m not too worried about the details yet. I am a little concerned about a cap bust though. Farther north in Nebraska near the triple point, I think the chances for a sustained storm are much higher up there. Low level shear will be pretty weak except for along the warm front where backing surface winds will improve SRH. Storms could pose a lower end tornado threat as they cross the warm front, but otherwise I think the tornado threat will be fairly low up there. Farther south the low level shear is forecast to be quite a bit stronger over the southern target area I outlined on the map. If we get storms, they should be discrete supercells with plenty of room to work. I’m just worried about CINH and getting a sustained storm. If sustained supercells develop, any storm over that area should pose a solid tornado threat and could put down a couple decent ones. Given the discrete/widespread nature of storm coverage, I’d probably just go 5% with the tornado probability if I were SPC. They seem to be more confident in sustained supercells in KS/TX/OK than I am with their forecast and they are way better than me at figuring that out so it will be real interesting to see what they say on that tomorrow. Below is my forecast map for Friday.
I am still highly skeptical of Saturday’s setup due to the same reasons mentioned in previous forecast. Directional shear is not good with very little 850-500 crossover and storms will likely go early and be fairly tightly packed in. Directional shear should get better out over the warm sector once storms get off the dryline a ways across Oklahoma and Kansas, however instability is also forecast to drop off as directional shear improves and there is a good chance storm mode (clustered) will become less favorable for tornadic storms as they get further out into the warm sector. I’m just not a fan. I think there will probably be some token tornadoes, but it’s not a good tornado setup. I may chase Saturday simply because it’s close to home and I’ll help with coverage in Kansas, but I’m not excited about it.
Sunday is a down day, which will be needed because tornado chances are on the rise starting Monday. The 00Z GFS is not nearly as good as earlier runs, but I won’t lose any sleep over it. It drops CAPE off a fair amount from earlier runs, which have all been showing a largely undisturbed warm sector with dewpoints in the low 70’s. The 00Z run has some precip and lower surface temps over the northern portion of the warm sector from central Oklahoma up into south central Kansas which puts a dent in instability. The hodographs are extremely impressive considering the moisture quality and potential instability that may coexist with it. If we can get an undisturbed warm sector with surface heating through the afternoon a tornado outbreak looks like a serious concern for Monday. I’m not going to worry about the latest downward trend with the GFS until we see some consistency. It looks like a very volatile setup and strong tornadoes would be a real possibility from central Oklahoma up to the warm front. Any storm coming off the triple point and tracking near the warm front could be particularly nasty and a bastard to chase given the fairly fast storm motions and probability for large hail. Should be a fun one lol. Below is my map. I’m sure it will change, but that’s my best guess 6 days out.
It is just past midnight and I need to ass out and get some sleep so that’s it for tonight simply because I’m out of time. There looks to be plenty of other chase opportunities through the week with lots of tornado potential. Tuesday could be big day as the trough pushes off to the east and another outbreak. Wednesday the threat will likely be back in the plains. Thursday and Friday there could be some higher end tornado potential in the central and northern plains. I’ll have to keep a close eye on it and try to get my plan figured out on the days I’m chasing. I’d love to hit the road all week and chase everything, but I don’t think I can pull that off with what I have going on at work. I think I can chase several days next work week, just not be gone all week like I’d like. Anyway, I’ll get into it more tomorrow. I’ll probably make an update in the morning or at lunch and then again tomorrow night.
The hype train is rolling down hill and the brakes are out. SPC came out with their new 4-8 day outlook and highlighted a threat area for every single day, which is the first time they’ve done so in the history of the 4-8 day outlook. I thought it was a bold move and they’re braver than I am. Actually not really, because you have to be mindful of the fact that they are forecasting severe weather, which is a layup compared to forecasting tornadoes. They did specifically mention tornadoes with several of the setups and as far as what they said in that regard I agree. I have to make this update quick because I’m on my lunch break and I have a 2pm meeting I need to finish getting ready for, but I still think the bigger tornado days in the nearer term are Friday and Monday. Friday looks to be a moderate tornado threat. I still think 10% tornado prob if you go off SPC standards with several discrete tornado supercells coming off the dryline in western Kansas and eastern Texas panhandle/western Oklahoma on Friday afternoon. Only moderate shear profiles and LCL heights will keep that from being a higher end tornado threat, but I do think you could see a strong tornado or two. Monday looks much more serious and could be a major tornado outbreak across the central/southern plains. This one looks like a textbook major tornado outbreak right in the heart of tornado alley with an extremely potent combination of thermodynamics and shear over a large area. It’s still very unclear where the triple point will setup, but Oklahoma City and Wichita look to potentially be in the wheelhouse for that one. Beyond Monday, it’s still tough to pin anything down, but Wednesday and Thursday are also putting off signals for higher end tornadoes. Right now I know I’m chasing Friday, Monday and Wednesday/Thursday. I’m up in the air on Saturday. I think there will be a few tornadoes Saturday, but it looks to be sloppy and shear profiles aren’t that good. Tuesday is another possibility, but again I think there will be tornadoes but it will be a limited threat and I’m not doing the needle in the haystack thing with all these higher end setups showing up in the models. I’m hunting elephants with this stretch of active weather.
I will get a forecast and updated map posted later tonight, so check back then if you’re interested.
Well our little active stretch that is in full hype mode within the chaser community still looks to kick off on Friday. The setup looks fairly straight forward with a surface low in NE Colorado and a dryline running north south through western Kansas and down into the far eastern Texas panhandle (near OK border). A mid level jet will nose into western Kansas during the afternoon, which should give us around 40kts of deep layer shear. Dewpoints are forecast to be in the mid 60’s and with good surface heating over the warm sector we should have moderate instability. Shear/CAPE combos are definitely supportive of supercells and with shear vectors nearly perpendicular to the boundary discrete supercells should be the favored mode of convection along the dryline. There’s a bit of a question mark with storm coverage. The models haven’t shown much in the way of precip before 00Z, but you can’t trust them at all on precipitation. I think there will be scattered storms along the dryline if we realize dew points in the mid 60’s, so moisture return will be something to watch later this week as we get closer since it could be important. My thoughts on the tornado potential are about the same as before. I think slightly high LCL heights and only moderate shear will be mitigating factors for tornado potential to some degree, but we’re still looking at a 10% or so tornado probability type threat if you want to go by SPC standards. My plan as of now is to take off at noon on Friday and head out towards the Dodge City area (target obviously subject to change). I still like the SW Kansas area where I think you have the best compromise of overlap with the mid/lower jets and better quality moisture coming up from the south. That’s where I’d put the best tornado potential as things stand now.
As far as Saturday goes, I’m really not impressed. I’m a tornado chaser mind you. I’ll get out occasionally for structure, but I’m after tornadoes 99% of the time and it just doesn’t look like a good setup. There’s the potential for storms over the warm sector early in the day and I think low level winds will be veering which will put a major dent in the 850-500mb crossover relative to Friday’s setup (the GFS also shows backing in the mid to upper levels). For that reason I didn’t even include a tornado threat area on my map despite SPC including it in their latest 4-8 day outlook. You may eek out a weak tornado or two with a setup like that, but I doubt I chase as things stand now. Long ways out though so things could change.
Sunday appears to be a down day. Any severe potential will be lower end. It’s also the final episode of Game of Thrones so ole Mikey will probably be staying home and prepping for the next round of chasing which looks to be Monday. The models have been jumping around a lot with Monday’s setup, so take this with a huge grain of salt. Even though they’ve been jumping around a lot, there’s also been consistent indicators that this could be a high end tornado setup. Dewpoints are forecast to be in the low 70’s with surface heating over the warm sector leading to very strong CAPE values across the warm sector in south central Kansas and Oklahoma. There isn’t a distinct shortwave with any sort of amplitude, it’s just strong SW flow aloft so there isn’t going to be much upper level support to help kick storms off. That may not be a bad thing considering that extensive storm coverage probably screws up more tornado setups than anything. It is way too far out to be getting that cute with forecast details, but I’ve been watching it so close it’s hard not to talk about tendencies your seeing with finer scale details even though you’re 7 days out. Despite the lack of upper level support, the GFS has consistently broken out storms near the triple point and along northern portions of the dryline. Assuming we get storms, the GFS has been showing a very potent combination of CAPE and shear across the warm sector. Hodographs have been quite impressive with strong low level curvature and good length. What the GFS is selling is a high end tornado setup. Long ways to go, but it looks the best day to me for strong tornadoes.
Beyond Monday there is still way too much uncertainty with the evolution of the upper air pattern to take a guess at what may happen. Earlier runs of the GFS had another shortwave ejecting into the plains Wednesday/Thursday, but later runs have shown a ridge building in over the plains. The GFSV3 is a little less aggressive and centers the ridge farther SE allowing shortwaves to still move out into the plains. Given the uncertainty I’ll hold off for now on getting into it. I imagine we’ll stay in an active pattern and the ridge building in is exaggerated in the most recent runs of the GFS, but we’ll have to wait and see.
That’s all I got for tonight. Don’t take any of this too seriously. We are a long ways out and it could easily change. I’ll be watching it as always and update again tomorrow some time so check back then if you’re interested.
I had a chance to glance over the 6Z and 12Z runs and things are starting to become a bit more clear. It is starting to look like there will be a more progressive pattern with three significant troughs coming through the plains starting this Friday. First chase day will be Friday. I am looking at a SW to south central Kansas target where you get the best overlap of the low and mid level jets. The extent of storm coverage is a question mark with very little precip with the models, but I do believe we’ll get some discrete storms off the dry line. Deep layer shear is certainly adequate for supercells, but it’s not very strong. That in conjunction with somewhat high LCL heights will likely be the biggest mitigating factor for tornado potential. I think it’s looking like a 10% tornado probability kind of day given the sparse nature of expected storm coverage. I think Saturday will be a severe weather day, but not much of a tornado day. Directional shear will be poor as the initial shortwave veers low level winds as it moves off to the northeast. The next and potentially most significant trough ejects into the plains on Monday with the GFS. For the last 24 hours the GFS has been strongly trending towards a major tornado outbreak type setup for Monday. I think this is the first setup for the plains that the models have shown looking like a high risk type setup this year. Still a long ways out and the models are far from steady, but Monday could be an extremely volatile setup across Kansas and Oklahoma. A final trough looks to eject into the plains later in the week around Thursday, when again we could be looking at a higher end type setup with a tornado outbreak possible. That’s way too far out to trust the timing or specifics, but it does seem plausible that we will have very good moisture and a very strong jet stream over the plains and that should throw up red flags regardless of how far out it is.
I’m going to take a closer look and I will get a map posted later tonight along with more information on the forecast.