The next 7-10 days will be dominated with a lot of the same, with subtle subtropical flow underneath a ridge leading to just enough wind shear for a localized area or two for supercells. The tornado risk remains lower-end for now, but I suspect the threats for tornadoes will grow through the week.

The Ridge Dominates

The horrific blocking pattern we’ve found ourselves in has led to a very weak jet stream generally across the Plains. Outside of 5/11/23, there really hasn’t been that strong of a jet streak across the middle of the country since April. What we’ve been dealing with instead is a lot of what the graphic above shows: very weak, very subtle flow regimes.

The small waves bring just enough lift to get storms going and just enough shear to get a few to spin — and the results have been sometimes quite dramatic.

20230518 P1441269

This well-documented supercell north of Amarillo, Texas gave storm chasers a strong show of storm structure last week. As with this day, the tornado chances this upcoming week do look to remain lower end but not entirely out of the question.

Slight Changes

I’m seeing some trends in models to try to bring a trough out west closer to the Plains, despite the strong blocking, which would enhance the flow at least in smaller areas by late week. I’m still not very confident in what I’m seeing, but we could be dealing with 30 or even (gasp) 40 knot 500mb winds by this next weekend.

05 20 23 flow late week

Anywhere a wave with stronger flow can eject will be a preferred area for severe weather this next week. The spatial location of these waves seems to change on every run and from model to model, but it does seem likely the Plains will have a pretty persistent severe weather pattern at least for a few days this next week once again.

Screenshot 2023 05 20 at 2 56 59 PM

I’ve seen some pretty decent soundings out of the HIgh Plains for late week and into the weekend, but also not stuff that I’m ready to jump over the moon for. Still, the 0-1km SRH looks solid on many days so if storm mode overall can cooperate you could possibly see a bit more of a tornado risk than we’ve seen the past 10 days or so.

The Bottom Line

Honestly, nothing screams to me as a particularly big day in the next 7-10 days — but I’m also not seeing any day that I can really confidently say you can fully discount severe weather either. This is, at the very least, a really good rain pattern for the Southern/Central Plains without a lot of big severe weather, which is a pretty rare feat.