An upper trough is digging in out to the west. Enough energy and moisture will be sent east and overspread the High Plains to create an environment favorable for strong to severe storms across portions of Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas.

The Big Picture

That large upper trough is digging to the south today, and it will take its sweet time before coming out to the east.

Today, the trough’s axis is almost offshore entirely, but it is quite large so some energy will be able to overspread the High Plains.
By tomorrow, the trough will make slow but steady eastward progress, increasing wind fields by quite a bit.
Moisture will not be incredibly robust, with dewpoints only in the low-mid 50sF — but strong SE flow will provide a continual fetch throughout the weekend.


Zooming in, the SPC has highlighted a marginal risk across much of the eastern Plains of New Mexico into the same region in Colorado. The threat stretches west beyond the Central Mountains, which may mean even places like Albuquerque and Santa Fe could see a severe storm.

Today’s marginal risk area outlined in green that stretches from Denver all the way to El Paso.
In the “there is no great zoom for thee entire risk area” game of chicken, we’ll zoom on the Southern 1/2 and look at storm timing there. Expect the first storms to begin forming 1-3 p.m. local time.
By evening, storms will end up clustering and lining out. This is due to strong cold pool generation due to inverted-V soundings which are favorable for strong downbursts. Storms will be capable of damaging winds, especially in their collapse phase.
Soundings show shallow instability profiles, with storms likely being high-based and low-topped today. There is good turning, and nearly 30kt of 0-6km shear. All of this leads me to believe some of the initial storms could show organization, with rain-free bases and even some hail.


Everything is just a little better tomorrow overall, which means that the risk of severe storms is going to be there as well. Right now, the SPC hasn’t outlined a marginal risk zone, but expect that to change as soon as the afternoon update to the day two outlook.

Storms should form in mid-afternoon tomorrow, with storms forming east of the dryline and into the warm sector as well.
If you compare this sounding to the one from today, you can notice a couple of key differences. The temperatures aloft are cooler, leading to stronger instability. Moisture is higher. And the overall wind fields are stronger, even if 0-6km shear values are similar. Storm bases will also be lower, which will help mitigate the cold pool/outflow dominant nature of storm a bit.

The Next Few Days

The upper trough responsible for this weekend’s severe weather risks will migrate only very slowly east Monday-Wednesday, with daily severe weather risks in tow. I think Monday-Wednesday risks may be greater, with tornadoes becoming possible by Tuesday/Wednesday. It may be time for this author to trek east this week finally.

The Bottom Line

The next two days are not going to be the chases of the year, but this may be one of the last few systems to chase in 2023 before true cold season patterns take hold on the Plains. With that in mind, we’ll probably be live in the field the next two days trying out some equipment and theories on live streaming in preparation for bigger days to come this Fall.

I suspect the higher-based nature of storms over a drier environment could lead to some pretty spectacular lightning and perhaps even a haboob.

Not a huge risk area, but a few severe wind reports and a rogue large hail report are to be expected.