Late Thursday afternoon into the night, scattered severe thunderstorms are expected across the central and southern Great Plains, specifically from the eastern Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma into southwest/south-central Kansas. These storms could produce very large hail, severe wind gusts, and a couple of strong tornadoes.

Locations:

  • Focus Area: Eastern Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma, and into southwest/south-central Kansas.
  • Large Risk surrounding that area including Nebraska, Colorado, and large portions of Texas.

Threats:

  • Very Large Hail: Up to 2.5 inches in diameter.
  • Severe Wind Gusts: Capable of causing damage.
  • Tornadoes: A couple of strong tornadoes are possible if storms can form early enough.

Timing:

  • Peak Activity: Late Thursday afternoon through Thursday night.

Discussion

Weather Patterns: A shortwave trough moving from the Southwest will become negatively tilted as it approaches the central/southern Plains, prompting the development of a deepening surface low moving toward northwest Kansas/southwest Nebraska.

Atmospheric Dynamics:

  • Surface and Moisture: A warm front moving northward across the central Plains may be hindered by convective outflow, limiting its northward progress. Rich low-level moisture will stream northward to the east of a dryline that will set up from the eastern Texas Panhandle into western Kansas and eastern Colorado.
  • Storm Development: The intersection of the dryline and increased surface heating and moisture will create an environment favorable for intense supercell formation, especially from western Kansas into western Oklahoma and the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandles.
  • However, the upper wave looks a tad bit delayed, which could delay storm formation until near sunset. This would have enormous impacts on how severe tomorrow becomes.
  • If storms form later, they will have a narrow window to become robust supercells capable of tornadoes. Capping will increase rapidly after sunset, so a storm needs to form by 5:30-6 p.m. tomorrow to have enough time, most likely.
  • The overall odds of storm formation are 50/50. Some models develop many storms, and some develop none at all. We’ll update you tonight.

Severe Potential: The atmosphere will be moderately to strongly unstable with increasing low-level and deep-layer shear throughout the day. This setup supports the development of supercells capable of producing very large hail and severe wind gusts. The tornado threat will increase into the evening in the hours around sunset as low-level shear and storm-relative helicity (SRH) intensify, particularly with any supercell that persists.

Practical Tips:

Target Area: Focus on areas along and just east of the dryline where the combination of moisture, instability, and shear will be most conducive for severe weather.

Impact: The setup indicates a significant severe weather threat as outlined by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) across the designated areas with potential for hail, damaging winds, and strong tornadoes.