Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Early Afternoon Severe Weather Update...

At 1:30 p.m. CST, a line of strong thunderstorms extended from northeast Missouri back to the southwest into western Texas.  The activity continues to develop along and ahead of a surface cold front (northern and central portions) and dryline (southern portion).

Individual thunderstorms are racing Northeast at 55-60 mph, while the line itself is moving East at about 25 mph on the southern end, and 45-50 mph on the northern end.
Tornado Watches continue this afternoon and evening in the areas shaded in lavender, with a Severe Thunderstorm watch shown in red over Texas:

The main energy associated with a strong middle and upper-level weather disturbance (currently centered over New Mexico) remains to the West of the thunderstorm line at this time, but is starting to approach the line in Texas:

As stronger middle and upper-level winds and other energy continue to advance toward and overspread the thunderstorm line later this afternoon, the activity will become more intense and will likely generate widespread wind damage at times, particularly in a region extending from northeast Texas into much of Arkansas, as shown within the lavender shaded and black hatched area on the image below:

This threat will shift East and Northeast into the Mississippi Valley region later this evening and into tonight.

Some of the winds could be particularly intense, in excess of 70 or 80 mph, due to the strong jet stream forcing that will come into play later today.  That type of wind can cause extensive damage, injuries and even death if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, so please take the situation seriously.

A few tornadoes also cannot be ruled out, particularly in association with any storms that are able to form out ahead of the main line, and within circulations embedded within the line itself.  These types of circulations tend to be smaller, weaker and shorter lived than their supercell counterparts, which can make radar detection difficult - leading to little or no advanced warning.

With the potential for extreme winds rather high, I would strongly suggest treating a severe thunderstorm warning in the aforementioned areas today as you would a tornado warning.  In the least, move to the center most portion of your home or business and stay away from outside windows and doors until the storm passes your location.

Much of the severe weather threat for roughly the Eastern (and especially the southeastern) half of the outlook area will take place after dark or even overnight tonight.  Please make sure that you have a way to receive weather warnings at night if you live in these areas.

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