Friday, May 20, 2011

Severe Weather Outlook for Today

The above image is the latest Severe Weather Outlook for today from the SPC in Norman.  Severe thunderstorms are possible anywhere within the yellow shaded area.

Similar to last Thursday, thunderstorms are already widespread across much of the severe weather outlook area early this morning, although none of the activity is severe.  Below is the latest radar snapshot, showing a sloppy, heavy rain mess extending from Kansas into much of Oklahoma and northwest Texas:

This activy is generally moving slowly toward the East/Northeast.  Gusty winds and small hail are possible with some of the stronger storms in Oklahoma & Kansas this morning, but widespread severe weather is not expected before Noon.  Very heavy rain will cause flash flooding in some areas.

Further South into Texas, the atmosphere is more unstable, so a few of the stronger storms in northwest Texas may produce larger hail and gusty winds this morning, but an organized severe weather threat is also not expected in this region before Noon.

The big question for today is how much will the atmosphere be able to recover in areas that have widespread rain this morning, and will that allow for severe storms to reform later this afternoon & evening?

The difference between today and last Thursday is that we do have a strong upper level weather disturbance that will move out over the region later this afternoon & evening.  This will provide the uplift needed for additional thunderstorm development along the surface dryline and/or cool front.  The big question is, how unstable will the atmosphere be, which will determine the severity of anything that re-forms.

If the atmosphere is unable to recover over western Oklahoma & Kansas, we could just be looking at a rainy, sloppy mess once again, with some embedded hail.  If, however, the atmosphere is able to recover even in a narrow corridor ahead of the dryline this afternoon, more robust severe weather is possible, with very large hail & damaging winds the primary threats.  Today does not appear to be a day for significant tornado activity in Oklahoma or Kansas at this time (this does not mean that an isolated tornado is out of the question, just that conditions are not favorable for widespread, organized tornado development in this area).

Further Southward, the atmosphere has been "worked over" less in Texas, particularly west-central & southwest Texas.  More vigorous severe thunderstorm development is possible in this area today, which could translate Eastward into the I-35 corridor of San Antonio and Austin.  Large hail and damaging winds would be the greatest threats in this area, along with a chance for an isolated tornado.

There are more variables at play today than in a usual severe weather event, so please "stay tuned" here and with your local media for updates throughout the day if you live in the severe weather threat areas.


The Planet Pink said...

It is for sure a sloppy rainy mess this morning and I love it! I really should move to Seattle. Haha.

Anonymous said...

Bring on the rain. Everyone in Texas do your part and get out there and do a Rain Dance!

Rob In Texas said...

Planet Pink - you guys need to build an ark and we need to do a rain dance down this way (like anonymous said).

At least you missed out on severe weather again!

More stuff will fire off to the West this afternoon/evening. We'll have to keep an eye on it but I think you're in the clear...