Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Update on Severe Weather Threats This Week...

A strong area of low pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere will move East into an increasingly moist and unstable airmass over the Plains the next few days, resulting in several rounds of severe weather.

Below is the latest outlook for today:

It's important to keep in mind that since we'll still be well out ahead of the main upper-level energy today, the severe weather threat will be relatively scattered in nature (albeit across a potentially large geographic area as shown above).

Large hail and damaging winds are the primary concerns this afternoon and evening, with an isolated tornado threat across mainly the West Texas portion of the outlook (shown in green).

A more widespread threat of severe weather, some possibly significant, is taking shape for tomorrow:

Large hail and damaging wind gusts will be widespread with the activity tomorrow, along with a threat of tornadoes.  As I pointed out in a post on Sunday, the primary mitigating factor for significant tornado development tomorrow is the fact that we will (1). have widespread activity fairly early on in the day that will tend to cut down on the instability in some areas and (2). the primary focus for severe thunderstorm development during the peak heating hours will be in the form of a line along the cold front.  This tends to create more of a damaging wind threat than a significant tornado threat.

As I pointed out on Sunday, it will be important to monitor any storms that are able to form out ahead of the main line and remain relatively isolated.  If such a storm becomes well organized, then a strong tornado is possible.  Please be sure to keep an eye out for those types of storms on Wednesday afternoon and evening, especially if you live or have travel plans within the yellow shaded and red-hatched area on the image above.

For Thursday, the severe weather threat will shift East/Southeast into the Mississippi Valley region:

Widespread, locally heavy rainfall can also be expected in association with the system this week, with rainfall amounts in excess of 3-4 inches across much of the Midwest:

If you live or have travel plans across the severe weather threat areas described above for the next few days, please stay alert and make sure that you have a way to receive weather warnings, and that your best sheltering location has been prepared just in case!

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