Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Severe Weather Outlook for Today...

There are several pockets along a swath extending from the Plains into the Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio Valley region and into the northeast where strong to severe storms will threaten today.  This is not a situation where particularly widespread severe weather is likely (except perhaps with respect to hail in Kansas, which we'll discuss in a moment), but rather scattered pockets of locally severe weather are possible in several areas.

In general, strong to locally severe storms are possible today within the brown shaded areas on the above image from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).  The greatest chance of severe weather lies within the yellow shaded areas on the same image.

Large hail and damaging thunderstorm wind gusts are the primary severe weather threats in these areas today, however an isolated tornado cannot be completely ruled out.

The main threat of severe weather will occur this afternoon and into this evening as thunderstorms develop and/or increase during afternoon heating along and to the South of a surface frontal boundary.  This development will be enhanced by several weak upper-level disturbances that are forecast to move across the primary severe weather threat areas in yellow.

If there were to be one area that is likely to experience the most organized and/or widespread severe weather, it would be within the yellow and black hatched area on the image below, extending from central Kansas into southwest Missouri:

Within this region, there will be a threat of particularly large hail (i.e., 2 inches in diameter or larger will be possible).  This threat will begin during the afternoon hours, and damaging wind gusts may also become a pronounced threat in this region by this evening.

Elsewhere, throughout the remaining severe weather outlook areas, severe weather will be possible on at least a scattered basis, with large hail and strong wind gusts the primary threats this afternoon into this evening.  Within the brown shaded areas on the above image, the threat of severe weather will mainly take place on an isolated basis this afternoon or evening, as thunderstorms are expected to be less organized in these areas.

If you live across any of the severe weather threat areas for today, please remain alert.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for the latest information, watches and possible warnings.  Take a few moments to review severe weather safety and preparedness tips and be ready to seek shelter if threatening weather is observed or a warning is issued for your area.

Check back for an updated outlook by mid to late morning.  We'll try to become even more specific as to the severe weather threats in that update...

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