A storm system is pushing north into Canada, with a trailing cold front and enough upper energy to touch off some severe weather today and tomorrow. Today, we will focus more on Kansas and Nebraska, with tomorrow’s action in Oklahoma/Texas. Let’s dive in.


A storm system is skirting the Plains, but it is dragging a cold front down that will be a season changer. This pattern is part of a broader reset that will send us into the cool season in earnest.

The main belt of 500mb flow will be located across Kansas and Nebraska today, with trailing energy back into the Texas Panhandle and NW Oklahoma.
The low-level flow will be more substantial up north in KS/NE, and it weakens significantly with southern extent. Some models veer the flow more than others, but the 850mb flow will likely cross over the dryline further south.
Paintball reflectivity forecasts show a chance of storms as far south as I-40 in Texas. But this morning’s model runs were significantly drier than last night’s, so this may be a lagging indicator of what models thought last night vs. this morning.
Still, models are bullish on storms generating UH further south, so our ‘Spinny Storms Index’ still likes today a lot if you can get storms.
The model solution that seems to have caught onto today’s environment most quickly is the HRRR, with veered low-level flow. The thing it isn’t modeling is what appears to be a pretty significant dry punch just above the surface that may overlay the dryline. Overall, this is a sounding that supports very large hail, but the tornado risk is very, very low if a storm can get going.
As the morning has passed, the HRRR has trended away from storm activity very far south today. The linear complexes in KS/NE will pose a hail and damaging winds threat — and perhaps some tornado threat. And the storms that may fire way south on the dryline will do so because of slightly better convergence and surface heating — but will mainly pose a hail risk.

The Bottom Line for Today

It seems obvious we’ll have a robust severe weather threat across Central/Northern Kansas into Nebraska. Storms will be ongoing much of the afternoon into the evening with a large hail and damaging winds threat. The tornado risk is low.

Further south, I think the diffuse nature of the dryline mixed with drier air aloft mixed with veering low-levels that I see on surface obs means storm initation from Southern Kansas to the Texas South Plains is more uncertain. The likely scenario is this area stays dry until at least sunset.

An Early Look at Tomorrow

Storms will form early tomorrow, seemingly everywhere. I think just on storm coverage alone, we should see an enhanced risk. Hail and damaging winds will be the primary threat — the low-level flow, in particular, is very anemic so I don’t see much of a tornado risk.

Paintball sims of tomorrow say bring on the storms with supercell initiation as soon as 11 a.m.
The spinny storms index says to prepare for a lot of updraft helicity tomorrow — but I think this is more because of the linear nature of the storms after a rapid transition from supercell structures.
Upper-level flow is justokay tomorrow on models, with 30-45kt of 500mb flow. This is the type of flow that’s enough but it’s not a lot.
The flow at 850mb (the tornado-maker flow) is very poor tomorrow. This is due to the fact the core of the upper storm system is way north and east, so there’s not much driving a pressure gradient on the Southern Plains.
As such, a look at the model soundings for tomorrow paints an environment with a very elongated hodograph but very little flow in the lower atmosphere. Given the instability, this is a sounding made for giant hail AND damaging winds when a giant MCS takes shape into the evening. Enhanced risk time.

The Bottom Line for Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the prototypical severe weather threat day that’s going to see a lot of blue (wind) and green (hail) dots on the storm reports map but few if any, red (tornado) dots. Early on in the storm’s life-cycle (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.), giant hail will be possible. That will transition over to what might be a significant damaging wind threat as the MCS accelerates south and east across Oklahoma and North Texas.

There is a very low, non-zero tornado risk — but any such events must be embedded within the line or from fluky storm interactions early in the day.

Looking Ahead

The pattern resets in a big way, and we will likely see severe weather chances taper off on the Plains for a good while under dry NW flow aloft. I’m not seeing any apparent patterns in the next 7-10 days beyond this one to indicate there’s even a small risk of severe storms on the Plains.