Friday, November 9, 2012

Update on Plains / MS Valley Severe Weather Threat This Weekend...

Conditions continue to appear favorable for severe thunderstorm development across portions of the central and southern Plains on Saturday, extending into the southern Plains and lower to middle Mississippi Valley region on Sunday.

Below is the latest severe weather outlook for Saturday from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK:

Severe storms are possible anywhere within the brown shaded area on the image, with the most likely areas to experience severe weather shown in yellow.  This includes the Wichita, Kansas City, Omaha, Des Moines and Minneapolis-St. Paul areas.  

Strong to severe thunderstorms are forecast to break out along and ahead of a surface cold front and dryline across this region by mid to late afternoon Saturday.  Here is what one of the high resolution computer forecast models believes the radar will look like at around 4pm CST on Saturday:

While we can't take the exact location(s) of the thunderstorm activity as gospel, I do agree with the idea of strong to severe storms breaking out from northwestern Oklahoma into central and northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri by that time.  The activity will then move and/or develop East/Northeastward with time throughout the evening hours.

Damaging wind gusts and hail will be the primary severe weather threats, although a few tornadoes also cannot be ruled out.  This will especially be the case early on as storms initially develop and mature, particularly with any cells that are able to remain isolated and become well organized.

This activity will also produce beneficial rainfall across the region by Saturday night, with widespread 1-2 inch rains possible from portions of the Midwest back into eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas:

The threat of strong to severe storms will spread to the Southeast by Sunday afternoon and evening, as shown in the SPC outlook for Sunday below:

The same high resolution computer forecast model valid at 6pm CST on Sunday shows strong to severe thunderstorm activity extending from parts of central Texas into the middle Mississippi Valley region:

Strong, possibly damaging thunderstorm winds will be the primary threat with the activity on Sunday afternoon and evening, especially within the yellow shaded area on the SPC outlook image above.

Widespread rainfall, some locally heavy, will spread into the region as well, with 2-4 inches common from the ArkLaTex region into portions of southern Illinois:

If you live across the severe weather threat areas for Saturday or Sunday, please remain alert, particularly during the afternoon and evening hours each day.  Be sure to identify the best sheltering location where you'll be during those hours, and listen NOAA Weather Radio, local media or another trusted source for the latest information and possible warnings.

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