Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Severe Weather Update - Oklahoma

The above visible satellite image was taken just a few moments ago.  You can see quite a bit of middle and high level cloudiness streaming across Oklahoma and northwest Texas ahead of an upper-level weather disturbance, but thus far there has been little to no lower level cumulus development along the surface dryline across the region.

A Tornado Watch is in effect until 11pm CDT, as shown by the reddish-orange area on the composite radar image below:

If we take a look at the local radar near Frederick, OK, you can actually see the location of a part of the dryline in far southwestern Oklahoma and far northwest Texas (as noted by the thin blue line):

A similar scene would be displayed on the Vance AFB radar near Jet in far northcentral Oklahoma, however it is not currently transmitting data.

The main reason that thunderstorms have been unable to form thus far appears to be a strong capping inversion that is in place across the region.  It is possible that the cap will be broken and thunderstorms will form later this evening as upper-level energy overspreads the region from the West.

Any thunderstorm that manages to form across the Tornado Watch area before sunset would have the potential of producing very large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.  The severe weather threat will lessen (but not completely diminish) after sunset.

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