A big upper storm system will eject out over the Plains and the South this weekend, bringing with it a chance of severe weather from Friday into Saturday.

Friday: As it looks right now, most of Friday should remain dry as the main upper-level energy will be situated well to the west of the risk area. However, by the evening lift should be ongoing and increasing throughout the Eastern Oklahoma/Western Arkansas region. The most likely scenario is that with the moistening and aloft lift, storms rooted above the surface layer will take shape with a risk of large hail. It is unlikely severe weather will be widespread on Friday Night into Saturday Morning — but I’d bet on a few storms making it to severe levels if they can get going. 

Saturday: The more pressing matter will be the severe weather risk on Saturday afternoon into the evening. By Saturday, that upper trough/system will be moving over the risk area with strong wind shear present. A surface cyclone should deepen on the risk area’s north side, increasing the low-level flow throughout the region. Additionally, a surface cold front will dive south through the region during the day. Storms are likely to form along this front and probably also ahead of it. 

This bimodal storm coverage/mode is common in the South and usually results in a marginally severe to severe line of storms along the front with a damaging winds and a low tornado threat. Ahead of that front in the warm sector is where tornado events are made or not with these setups. As it stands right now, I think it is too early to tell if this scenario plays out favorably for tornadoes or not. The slightly veered (west of due south) low-level flow is usually not what you get with the most significant tornado events in the south — but you do get tornadoes with that type of flow in the region often enough.

Still, flow increases into the evening, so if a dominant supercell mode can be established, I would suspect a few tornadoes are certainly likely in such a scenario. But again, it is simply too early to say either way.

We’ll, of course, have more updates as time goes on!