Made the right call today by staying home. There was enough model consistency saying that this wasn’t going to be the same kind of day as yesterday. Storms in western Oklahoma and the eastern Texas panhandle were generally short-lived and uneventful. There were a couple of monsters that rolled southeast through northwest Texas – but this is in my “no-chase” zone. Squall line in Kansas is organizing and should blast through here with more heavy rain and strong winds late this evening or during the early morning hours.
Latest mesoanalysis shows MLCIN has been removed across a large part of central and western Oklahoma. MLCAPE ranges from 1500 j/kg in the far northwest part of the state…..to over 4000 j/kg in central Oklahoma. In the axis of highest instability…. CU and TCU has been developing / centered near Seiling / which is where we are located and will remain for a bit. Storm development looks likely during the next hour or so.
Forecast seems to be pretty much on track. There is a weak surface low in the northeast Texas panhandle and a weak dryline has moved into the western part of the state. Several boundaries are evident in radar loops and mesonet data – with the most pronounced boundary extending from the Woodward area east southeastward toward Watonga. All model data support rapid thunderstorm development near this boundary during the next couple of hours. Deep layer shear is better north of I-40 and supports supercell structure with the potential for very large hail. While tornado threat is low-end… backed surface flow near the main boundary should still support a threat.
Quick update on the potential today. A significant round of severe thunderstorms is expected across most of the state this afternoon and evening. Oklahoma will be squeezed in between a weak ridge to the southwest and trough to the northeast with 30 to 40 kts of west northwest / diffluent / mid-level flow over the state. Weak low pressure will be found by afternoon in the northeast Texas panhandle with a dryline extending south and a warm front extending east near the Kansas/Oklahoma border. The atmosphere in the warm sector will become very unstable this afternoon with MLCAPE running around 3000 j/kg. Thunderstorms will initially form in extreme northwest Oklahoma or southwest Kansas and move southeastward, digging into the low level unstable atmosphere. The degree of instability and sufficient shear indicates that several of the storms in their early stages will be supercells with a very large hail and damaging wind threat. Tornadoes cannot be ruled out. Eventually, these storms are likely to form a complex of severe storms producing hail and wind damage as it races toward the Oklahoma City area by evening.
The first of several updates. I didn’t give an update on the 28th as it was spent driving back from Concordia, KS to Okarche. We met up with Brit chasers Pete and Nathan at the house and watched as severe storms formed east, overhead and west of Okarche. Didn’t have to go far for these as they produced a total of 53 minutes of hail up to golfball size. We also got 2.21 inches of rain out of the deal – about an hour after I watered the garden. The golfballs were few and far between and a brief inspection of the garden this early hour doesn’t indicate a lot of issue from the hail. Hopefully we came through it just fine.
Unfortunately, there are going to be two more days of significant severe weather in the state (Today, Tuesday and Wednesday). I expect a lot more rain and severe weather events in the area. Both days are going to be chase days before the pattern settles down on the 31st.
Updates later today concerning todays potential…….
Near Smith Center KS after returning from near the Nebraska state line. Saw some decent storm structure today, but not sure if it was worth the price of admission. No decent storms left to observe, so we’re calling it a day and heading for Concordia KS for the night (about an hour away.)
In Russell, KS with storms starting to get going to our west near Hays and southwest near Ness City. Prob going to start drifting north and keep up with the Hays storm until it makes up its mind if it is going to play or not.
Currently in Harper, KS and continuing to drive north. Computer models show that storms will likely develop late this afternoon northwest of here, so we are currently driving toward Great Bend, KS, then make a decision of where to go from there.
It looks like a go. Actually, these are some of the easiest days to forecast. It’s taken several weeks to happen, but we are finally going to spread a strong upper system out over the Plains. The calendar says May 27…. there’s not much else that needs to be known. Severe thunderstorms will form this afternoon from the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle – northward through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It does appear that there will be an enhanced area of threat in Kansas and Nebraska where slightly better flow and instability will be found just northeast of a surface low. While we will try to get as far north as I-70 to take this into account, it should also be noted that most all high-res/short range models break out storms as far south as I-40…. tracking sustained storms through northwest Oklahoma and east of Dodge City. We will have to keep this option open as the day goes on. I will have Doug “Speg” Speheger riding as navigator. We have quite the string of tornado observing days going back almost a year. His new wife Jane seems to have some doubts about this storm chasing game… don’t worry Jane, Doug will be as safe as a baby in it’s mothers arms……
Didn’t have a whole lot of success with lightning last night…..just a few pics between Leedey and Putnam. (one image at the bottom of this post)
Saturday won’t be a chase day. There are a few model solutions that support evening thunderstorms in western Oklahoma once again. There may be another shot at some lightning.
Sunday still has decent potential in the central Plains. I expect that one would have to get north to at least I-70 and may end up near the Nebraska border before it’s over. This will likely be a chase day for me which may start a string of days if all works well.
From yesterday evening: