Saturday, May 18, 2013

Significant Severe Weather, Including Tornadoes, Likely Today thru Monday...

As feared for much of the past week, a string of significant severe weather days will get underway starting today in the Plains...

The latest severe weather outlook for today is shown below:

The highest risk of significant severe weather will take place where the green (scattered severe storms) and red (significant severe storms) merge from southwestern Nebraska into much of the Western one-half of Kansas into northwestern Oklahoma.

Within this region, one or more strong and/or long track tornadoes are possible, along with very large hail in excess of 2 inches in diameter.  The significant hail threat will extend Southward into the red shaded region across northwest Texas and southwest Oklahoma as well.

The most significant severe risk for today includes the cities of North Platte, Goodland, Hays, Russell, Dodge City, Pratt, Great Bend and Woodward.

Thunderstorms are forecast to develop along and ahead of the dryline by late afternoon from western Kansas into northwestern Oklahoma.  Activity should be well underway by 7pm CDT, as depicted by this simulated radar image valid at that time via the high-resolution NAM computer model:

By that time, you can see that isolated development is also indicated over northwest Texas as well.  While one should not take the forecast radar positions as literal, it does give you a good idea as to the general areas where development is likely at a particular time.

The highest tornado potential will take place in association with any storm that is able to remain isolated and become well organized, mainly during the late afternoon through mid-evening hours.  Once the activity congeals into one or more larger clusters of storms by late evening, the tornado threat will decrease - but a pronounced large hail and damaging wind threat will continue.

Tomorrow, Sunday, continues to look particularly ominous.  This is mainly for two reasons:  (1).  the coverage and magnitude of potentially significant severe weather will increase and (2). the threat will shift Eastward into a more heavily populated region (as compared to today).

The outlook for tomorrow is shown below:

Once again, the highest risk of significant severe weather will exist within the red shaded area, including the cities of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City, Joplin, Omaha and Des Moines.

Strong to violent and/or long track tornadoes, very large hail and damaging winds will be a distinct possibility within this region on Sunday afternoon and evening.  This is a potentially dangerous and life threatening situation for the indicated areas, and folks living in the region or that have travel plans into the region should be on a high state of alert on Sunday afternoon and evening.

For Monday, a threat of significant severe weather will continue over the Sooner State, including the OKC and Tulsa areas once again:

If you live across the severe weather outlook areas for the next few days, please remain on a high state of alert and readiness.  Review your severe weather safety and preparedness tips ahead of time, and make sure that you've identified the best sheltering option at home, work, school, church or any other location that you may be.

I am particularly concerned with the high number of graduation ceremonies that are scheduled across the region both today and Sunday.  If you are in a large public arena or other venue, look for "Storm Shelter" or "Tornado Shelter" signs, like the ones shown below, as you enter the facility, that way you can move to a safe place quickly if severe weather threatens.  Additional sheltering tips are offered in my free Severe Weather Safety:  Seeking Shelter guide that you can download today.

Also make sure that you have a way to receive severe weather warnings no matter where you are.  There are numerous options out there today, including apps or other links that you can load directly on your smartphone.  

For more information from 'The Original Weather Blog', including shorter, more frequent posts during rapidly changing weather events, please be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter:

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