Sunday, February 20, 2011

First Organized Severe Weather Episode of the Season This Week?

The above image from the SPC is valid this Thursday, February 24th.  It depicts the area where, in the SPC's opinion, there is at least a 30% chance of severe thunderstorms occurring within 25 miles of any given point within the purple encircled region.

I've been monitoring computer model forecasts and other data for several days now, and would concur that an organized severe weather threat does seem to be taking shape for Thursday into Friday.

Below is the surface weather map as forecast by the HPC, valid 6am CST Thursday morning, February 24th:

As you can see, a rather strong cold front is forecast to be dropping Southward through the Plains and Midwest on Thursday.  A dryline will extend South from an area of low pressure over central Oklahoma, into west-central Texas.  Moist, unstable air will be in place ahead of both the cold front and dryline, setting the state for vigorous thunderstorm development by afternoon.

A potent upper-level weather disturbance will also be lifting across the same region, as indicated by the GFS Computer Model image below (valid 6pm CST Thursday, February 24):

Note the yellow and orange shaded area from southwest Texas into southcentral Kansas.  The "X" over northwest Texas generally depicts the center of the upper-level weather disturbance that will be lifting across the region at that time.

All of the above ingredients look to be coming together to form organized severe thunderstorm activity across the region on Thursday afternoon and evening.  This will include the possibility of tornadoes as well.

We'll continue to monitor the latest model trends and other data and provide updates as the week progresses.

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