Large hail is a big threat today with the initial supercells across Arkansas and Missouri this afternoon before storms coalesce into a line towards evening. There is a low tornado risk as well.

The Setup

The system that touched off the high-based storms in Kansas yesterday continues to push east today, with a renewed shot at severe weather today in the Mid-South.

  • Mid-level flow will increase through the day with 60kt 500mb flow nosing into the region by afternoon.
  • Further down, a modest low-level jet with a general SW’ly direction will be in place with winds increasing from 20-25kt to 35kt in some places.
  • Rich dewpoints in the 60s will be in place with CAPE values generally at or above 2000 j/kg.
Initially, some supercells should develop by mid-afternoon across SE Kansas down to Western Arkansas. These will push east, increase in number, and become a line by evening.
The initial environment in the afternoon is characterized by weak low-level shear but elongated hodographs in the mid-levels and moderate MLCAPE values. This is a sounding you’d expect if you were forecasting large to even giant hail.

The straight nature of hodographs early on in the day probably means there will be ample storm splits and consolidation rather quickly. I’d expect a line to be almost fully established by 6-7 p.m tonight.

As the line takes shape, there could still be some cellular activity in the early evening. The most likely place for storms to stay more isolated into the evening is further south in Southern Arkansas and Northern Louisiana.
Low-level shear remains somewhat modest into the evening hours, but it weakens dramatically from north to south. The tornado risk does appear lower end, but storm scale processes and interactions will probably enhance a storm or two enough to generate a few tornado warned storms throughout the day.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t a day that will have a lot of tornadoes most likely — but we will likely see 2.75” (baseball) size hail reports this afternoon from a few storms. Hail can be a very costly disaster! If you live in the risk area today from Southern Missouri down into Northern Louisiana, you owe it to yourself to pay attention to warnings throughout the day.