Thursday, March 22, 2012

Strong to Locally Severe Storms Possible In Two Areas Today...

There are two pockets where thunderstorms will become strong to locally severe today, mainly this afternoon. They are located within the green shaded areas on the above image.

The first, over the central Plains, is associated with an upper-level low pressure system that remains nearly stationary across the region.  As surface temperatures rise during the afternoon, thunderstorms will pop-up beneath the cold upper-level low, much like they did yesterday, but with a concentration more toward the East and North.

Small hail is possible with some of the stronger storms, and a few cold air funnels are also likely.  Several cold air funnels were observed in and near the Oklahoma City Metro area yesterday afternoon:

This type of activity may be witnessed in the Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City and Joplin areas with a few of this afternoon's storms.  Cold air funnels are a weaker cousin to a typical tornadic funnel cloud.  They rarely touch ground, but sometimes can turn into a brief, generally weak, tornado.

Elsewhere, in the middle Gulf Coastal region, thunderstorms and rain showers will continue to form today along a weak surface frontal boundary.  Some of the storms may become strong to locally severe, especially this afternoon.  Gusty winds near severe limits would be the primary threat, although an isolated tornado or two cannot be completely ruled out.

The character of the activity in the middle Gulf Coastal region today will be much like yesterday, where any tornado that does form would likely be weak, short lived and embedded in rain.

Very heavy rainfall will also continue in this region, with localized amounts of 3-5 inches possible in association with the heavier storms, as shown in the purple shaded areas on the rainfall forecast below:

While widespread and/or well organized severe weather is not forecast in the above referenced locations today, folks living in these areas should keep an eye on the weather especially this afternoon.  Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for later statements and any warnings that may be required.

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