Severe thunderstorms are anticipated across the Southern Plains today, bringing the risk of severe wind gusts, large hail, and potential tornadoes.

Locations:

  • Primary Risk Area: Southern Plains from the Texas Panhandle into the Northwest 1/2 of Oklahoma.
  • Secondary Risk Area: Down the dryline in West Texas and in a post-frontal regime across portions of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.

Threats:

  • Large Hail: Particularly during the initial few hours of convective initiation.
  • Severe Wind Gusts: Likely to occur as storm clusters rapidly propagate from the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandles into northwestern Oklahoma and southern Kansas by late afternoon and early evening.
  • Tornadoes: A couple of tornadoes are possible, especially near the surface triple point and in regions experiencing post-frontal upslope flow.

Timing:

  • Storm Initiation: Expected during mid to late afternoon.
  • Storm Weakening: Overnight, as storms potentially become undercut by cold pools or move beyond the buoyancy axis.

Meteorological Discussion:

  • Synoptic Setup: A triple point will become established near the Oklahoma/Kansas border, with a moist and moderately unstable air mass to its east. This setup is influenced by a surface trough/dryline extending southwestward toward the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, and a subtle mid-level speed max developing northeastward later today.

Storm Development Regions:

  • High-based storms are likely across west/northwest Texas in a deeply mixed environment.
  • Additional storm development is anticipated near the Raton Mesa due to evolving low-level upslope flow, and east of the Oklahoma/Kansas border near the triple point.

Storm Modes and Evolution: Supercells are most probable near and east of the surface triple point and in areas experiencing upslope flow from far northeast New Mexico into the Oklahoma/northern Texas Panhandles. As the evening progresses, severe wind-producing clusters are expected to form and move rapidly across the outlined regions.

Technical Discussion

Refcmp uh001h.us sc-31.

Storm modes will be mixed and clustered with time, but initial supercells may develop earlier in the afternoon from the Raton Mesa east along the OK/KS border. In the latter area, the tornado risk is highest today.

Hrrr_2024051514_009_area_36.23 36.88. 97.79  97.05.

There is good turning of winds with height, and enough length in the hodograph that supercells do seem to be possible today along the OK/KS border with giant hail the main threat. The 3CAPE is pretty meager and the size of low-level hodographs don’t really increase until low-levels quickly stabilize near sunset — this all leads me to believe the tornado risk today is low. Still, favorable storm interactions with boundaries or other storms could lead to a tornado or two in this region.

Hrrr_2024051514_010_area_35.84 36.44. 101.77  100.77.

The other area I talked about yesterday is in the region around the Raton Mesa into the northern Panhandles on the backside of the front. Post-frontal regimes on the High Plains can end up sneakily quite good for storm chasing. The temperature/dewpoint depressions are a little too big for my taste for tornadoes, but I could see a small storm sculpt out in the evening as it moves into better moisture and matures across the northern Panhandles region.