A dryline setup on the Southern Great Plains in late February is not unheard of, I wouldn’t even say it is uncommon. In the coming decades, this will probably be relatively expected (more on that in our video tomorrow!).

A compact but powerful storm system looks to emerge over the Great Plains on Sunday (2/26/23) with an attendant risk of severe weather. Let’s dive in and look at some broad details.

Powerful Trough

There are subtle differences in the GFS and Euro at this range, but the broad-scale “there is a powerful compact trough” story is the same across both models.

GFS version of the trough.
Euro version of the trough.

The Euro has a more powerful look to the trough in a lot of ways, but either solution will result in fast moving storms (45mph+). I pulled a couple of sample soundings on the dryline with the Euro that had storm motions at a ridiculous 70mph!

(I doubt any eventual storms were to move that fast).

Moisture Quality

In lieu of showing graphics from multiple models throughout the rest of this blog, we’re going to run with the Euro the rest of the way (there are a lot of similarities right now).

60 dewpoints will be drawn northwards to be near the dryline on Sunday afternoon. Right now this has the look of a setup that is capped off early but initiates late afternoon/early evening as main forcing ejects out.
The Euro has an eye-opening look to its precip fields on Sunday. I’m skeptical the thermodynamics would be that favorable further north and soundings seem to bear that out.
This stuff changes wildly but it would seem that there would be a narrow zone of strong heating along the dryline but storms would quickly move into a pretty lame environment for anything but damaging winds and some small hail.
The key for Sunday I think will be when this cap is broken and if it does so further south in TX/OK. Moisture there will be pushing the upper 50s with lower 60s likely east of the dryline. While low-level hodographs aren’t entirely remarkable early on, they become eye-popping near and after sunset. Any isolated storms could pose a real tornado threat in the two hours before and after sunset to be sure.

The Bottom Line

While there is a lot of agreement on broad details by models, it is in the finer points that events are made or unmade. It’s a good idea to start preparations for severe weather season thought. Think about things like get your batteries changed in your weather radio, review your safety plan, etc.

We’ll have at least one more blog post on this event before Sunday, so stay tuned!