I can honestly admit a lot of uncertainty about today due to a great myriad of factors we are about to discuss, but a lot of the core ingredients we thought were going to be in place 24 hours ago are going to be less than expected. Still, there’s a severe weather threat today and we’ll likely see storms in the afternoon off of the dryline. Let’s dive in.
Dewpoints will be in the upper 50s to mid 60s ahead of the dryline today, but the quality of the moisture due to ongoing convection is much lower than anticipated. This is going to modulate the total instability values by quite a bit.
Additionally, as of this writing, thick clouds exist over the region and may persist for quite awhile today. There will likely be some breaks, and we’ll get instability regardless, but this too is going to limit overall instability today.
Another ongoing concern are storms currently ongoing across Oklahoma. While these are going to continue existing well east of the dryline, the MCV fueling them may have a pretty subsident airmass in its wake. But the flip side is the incoming shortwave already seems to be trying to develop some showers/storms back SW of Plainview, TX. If you did get a new batch of storms forming there, the day would be over for tornado and supercell potential I think.
Analysis this morning shows a pretty complex scenario across the region. An outflow boundary is clearly denoted with cooler/more stable air to the north west of ongoing storms. The best heating and moisture transport is ongoing to the south of this boundary. A dryline (more like a moisture gradient) is situated in the Western Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico. A diffuse warm front is also located somewhere in N OK into the Northern Panhandles, though it is very subtle.
I do not trust models on days like today whatsoever, but they do at least still try to develop storms on the dryline by mid-late afternoon. But I would warn any weather watcher to not take CAMs too seriously this morning given the complex scenario ongoing. This is a day for observational data.
The Bottom Line
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty puzzled this morning on how the day goes. I think, to make up for the morning and possibly afternoon clouds, the maximum severe risk will be where the best combination of moisture and wind shear reside — which says SW OK or Western North Texas along the remnant outflow boundary. But I like the diffuse warm front to the north if you can get some heating up there as well. But I do worry about how narrow the warm sector could end up being.
Regardless, there are two scenarios for the rest of the day and we’ll know which is playing out in the next few hours:
- Storms form pretty early due to arriving shortwave ascent and overwhelm the atmosphere. Severe weather is possible in this scenario, but it would be more large hail (quarter to half dollar mostly). You’ll know if this is the scenario no later than 1 p.m.
- Storms hold off until the mid-late afternoon on the dryline. In this case supercells seem more likely with large hail and a low tornado risk towards evening as the low-level hodograph curvature really gets going near sunset.
I’m not ready to place bets on either scenario, but it is definitely a good idea to keep a close eye on things in the coming hours as we await the atmosphere’s judgement.
Assuming scenario 2 unfolds, we’ll be live streaming later today. Be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube.