Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Major tornado outbreak likely today in central/southern Plains

Not sure whether anyone in the USA reads this blog - if you do, and you're in the central or southern Plains, please be on high alert for severe weather today.

A strong upper trough will move in from the south-west today. Ahead of this, a strong southerly wind will transport rich Gulf moisture into the Plains. A dry-line will move slowly eastwards into western Oklahoma, NW Texas, and SW Kansas. Thunderstorms will likely form along this dry-line this afternoon and then move NE into the richer Gulf air.

A deepening low over Kansas will cause winds ahead of the dry-line to back into the SE, and wind fields at all levels will increase quickly this afternoon. High to extreme instability looks to develop in the moist sector. These ingredients point towards the development of intense supercells by 4pm CDT. The strength of the flow and the instability, including high low-level instability, will likely allow for the development of strong, possibly violent tornadoes, which may be long-track.

Needless to say this is a potentially very dangerous situation. Chasers will be out in full force today, I've no doubt about that. We'll likely opt for hanging back a bit from storms, as chasing only 2 weeks per year means that we don't get much practise in such volatile situations.

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