Thursday, April 14, 2011

Severe T-Storm & Tornado Outbreak Likely Today

The above image shows the latest Severe Weather Outlook for today from the SPC in Norman, OK.  Severe thunderstorms are possible anywhere within the green outlined area.  An enhanced risk of severe storms, including very large hail (greater than tennis ball size) and strong, possibly damaging tornadoes lies within the red outlined area.

The enhanced severe weather & tornado risk area includes the following cities:  Chanute, KS, Tulsa, OK, Ft. Smith & Fayetteville, AR, and Paris, TX.

A strong upper level storm system is moving across the Rockies this morning, and will move out over the severe weather risk areas this afternoon & evening.  In the meantime, warm, moist and increasingly unstable air is surging Northward into the risk areas from the Gulf of Mexico.

By late afternoon / early evening today, a strong dryline is forecast to extend from an area of low pressure over southcentral Kansas, through central Oklahoma and into central Texas (as shown by the light brown scalloped line on the surface weather map below):

Thunderstorms will form along the dryline, first over Kansas, by mid to late afternoon.  Thunderstorms are then expected to develop Southward over time, into central Oklahoma by late afternoon or early evening.  Once developed, thunderstorms will rapidly become severe as the move generally Eastward.

Large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are possible with any severe storm that developes today.  The most intense storms, with the potential for long track, damaging tornadoes, are expected to form over portions of southcentral and southeast Kansas into northcentral and northeast Oklahoma late this afternoon and evening.  This activity will then move into adjacent portions of Missouri and Arkansas during the mid and late evening hours.

Thunderstorm development further southward into Texas is uncertain at this time.  A very strong capping inversion is forecast to remain in place in this area, which will tend to inhibit thunderstorm development.  Any isolated storm that does manage to form late this afernoon or evening would likely become severe rapidly, producing large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.  We'll continue to monitor trends in Texas and post updated information as it becomes more apparent exactly what will take place.

Residents all across the severe weather threat areas should remain on a high state of alertness today.  Be prepared to seek shelter immediately should threatening weather approach your area.

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