Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Severe Storms/Heavy Rainfall Possible with Late Week System...

A strong storm system in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere will move from the Rockies out into the Plains later this week and into this weekend, bringing another round of locally heavy rainfall and possibly a few areas of severe thunderstorm activity as well.

Drizzle and fog are fairly widespread across central and eastern Texas this morning -  a sign of low-level moisture flowing Northward across the region from the Gulf of Mexico.  This moisture transport will continue across the southern and central Plains for the next 24-48 hours as a strong storm system approaches the region from the West.

Thunderstorms are forecast to develop near the Northwest edge of the most unstable air by Thursday evening and/or Thursday night.  The most vigorous thunderstorm development is likely take place across northwest Texas and southwest Oklahoma, in and near the yellow shaded areas on the latest SPC Severe Weather Outlook shown below:

Thunderstorms within and near this area are likely to produce large hail on Thursday night, and some threat of damaging wind gusts may also develop over time.  There is a slight chance that an isolated tornado could form from a particularly well organized storm, but that threat appears rather minimal at this time for Thursday night.

By Friday, the threat of severe weather will shift eastward, across portions of northcentral and central Texas.  The greatest threat will reside within and near the yellow shaded areas on the image below:

Again, large hail and damaging wind gusts will be the primary severe weather threats on Friday.  There is a possibility that the threat of severe weather will extend Northward into central and eastern portions of Oklahoma as well (as noted by the "See Text" wording on the image above).  The main question for that region is whether or not the atmosphere will be able to become unstable enough to support severe storms due to widespread cloud cover and rain.  There is certainly a threat for hail approaching severe limits across central and eastern Oklahoma on Friday afternoon as well.  We'll be able to pinpoint this risk better in later updates.

Widespread, locally heavy rainfall will also accompany this system over the Plains the next couple of days.  The HPC rainfall forecasts for Thursday and Friday (respectively) are shown on the images below:

Folks living in and near the areas described above should remain alert on Thursday and Friday.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or a trusted media source for later updates and possible watch and/or warning information.

The threat of locally heavy rainfall and possible severe weather will shift Eastward into the Mississippi Valley region over the weekend.  Folks in that area should watch for later updates as this system progresses.

For more information on the winter weather aspects of this storm system, please see this post.

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