If you’ve followed us a long time, you know we are oftentimes the people who proudly anti-hype up some setups because there are a lot of accounts out there that really go overboard when it comes to severe weather risks. So I hope with that in mind, this lands a bit stronger than it would for most people saying it: tomorrow could be the real deal.

As of right now, a significant risk of severe thunderstorms is forecast for west-central/central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas. Severe weather is expected to develop and move eastward across the southern/central Plains from Monday afternoon through Monday night. The region could possibly experience multiple strong/potentially long-track tornadoes, very large to giant hail, and severe/damaging winds.

Locations:

  • Moderate Risk Area: West-central/central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas.
  • Slight Risk Area: Surrounding regions and extending into parts of the central Plains.

Threats:

  • Tornadoes: Multiple strong and potentially long-track tornadoes.
  • Hail: Very large to giant hail, ranging from 3″ to 4″ in diameter.
  • Wind: Severe and damaging gusts up to 80 mph.

Timing:

  • Storm Initiation: Late morning/early afternoon, with significant severe weather development expected by the afternoon and persisting into the evening.
  • Peak Activity: Late afternoon through late evening, with the threat continuing overnight.

Discussion

Weather Patterns: An upper cyclone over northern/central California is set to move eastward, transforming into an open wave as it reaches the central Rockies and progresses into the central Plains, adopting an increasingly negatively tilted orientation. This transition will facilitate strong mid-level flow over the region, enhancing severe weather potential.

Atmospheric Dynamics:

  • Surface Analysis: A low-pressure system is moving from southwestern Iowa towards Lake Michigan, with a cold front stretching from southeastern South Dakota through western Nebraska and central Colorado. This front will advance southeastward, reaching central Oklahoma and merging with a dryline, which will act as a focal point for severe thunderstorm development.
  • Severe Potential: The alignment of a moist and unstable air mass with strong dynamical forcing along the cold front and dryline will provide an ideal environment for severe thunderstorm development. Initial storm modes may be discrete, particularly in south-central Kansas into southwest Oklahoma, promoting the formation of supercells capable of producing tornadoes.

Severe Weather Impacts:

  • Hail and Wind: Early storm development may produce very large hail, particularly in the moderate risk areas. As storms consolidate into a more organized convective line, the primary threat will transition to severe wind gusts.
  • Tornadoes: The tornado threat is expected to increase from the late afternoon into the evening, supported by an increase in low-level moisture and buoyancy, along with strengthening wind fields. This is especially true from S. Kansas to the Red River in Oklahoma.

Impact: This severe weather event poses a significant risk across the designated areas, particularly in west-central/central Oklahoma and south-central Kansas, where the potential for giant hail, destructive winds, and strong tornadoes is highest. Monitoring for storm initiation and development will be crucial, as conditions are favorable for rapid intensification and severe impacts.

Technical Discussion

500mb mean.cp.f03600.

A classic ‘ski jump’ trough is emerging out over the Plains tomorrow with the system being sampled slightly stronger than models had originally been depicting. This is resulting in very favorable shear profiles from S. Kansas into Oklahoma tomorrow.

850mb mean.cp.f03600.

If there is one thing that isn’t as favorable for a big tornado day tomorrow across the Plains, it would be the 850mb winds aren’t as favorable for such a thing. You have to look a bit harder to find big tornado days with SSW 850mb winds on the Plains but they do exist, most notably May 19, 2013, is a day I keep thinking of when I see the jet structure for tomorrow.

Ref1km 004hmax pb40.cp.f02800.

Storm coverage with southern extent is more uncertain tomorrow, but any storms from the Red River and north that are discrete will have the chance to produce tornadoes, including the strong and long-track variety. The key tomorrow I think is storm mode and coverage (as it is many days). If storms on the dryline hold off until 4 p.m. or so, which is well timed for when the low-level winds really increase in intensity, then a tornado outbreak seems increasingly likely tomorrow. The failure mode would be a stronger cap than expected keeping storm coverage very sparse in the most dangerous environment (and limiting updraft strength) and also unexpectedly strong forcing/weaker capping leading to more crowded storm modes. But if we end up with isolated, robust, dominant supercells tomorrow — there will be tornadoes.