A Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms exists this afternoon and evening for portions of the Southern and Central Plains. The primary threats are large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes.

Location:

  • Central and western Oklahoma
  • Central and north-central Texas
  • Southeastern Kansas
  • Southwestern Missouri

Threats:

  • Very large hail (especially early in the event)
  • Damaging wind gusts
  • Isolated tornadoes (the threat increases into the evening)

Timing:

  • This afternoon into the early evening hours

Discussion

  • Upper-Level Dynamics: A deepening upper-level trough over the Four Corners region, combined with strong winds aloft, sets the stage for storm development.
  • Moisture & Boundaries: Warm, moist air is moving northward from the Gulf. Cloud cover will limit heating in some regions, but a dryline will develop across western Oklahoma and west-central Texas, serving as a focus for storms.
  • Storm Evolution:
    • Central Texas: Storms forming along an outflow boundary could quickly become supercells, initially posing a significant hail threat. Isolated tornadoes are possible, especially toward evening.
    • Western/Central Oklahoma: Isolated supercells along the dryline pose a large hail threat initially, but storms are likely to become more linear, with hail and damaging winds as the primary risks.
    • Southeast Kansas/Southwest Missouri: Heating later this afternoon could allow for scattered storms to form. Strong wind shear favors supercells capable of producing all severe hazards for a few hours.

Scattered storms should form along a dryline this afternoon and up near a cold front in Kansas. Additionally, numerous smaller and less strong storms will be ongoing east of the dryline in Texas.

Storms will increase in intensity with time, with severe weather becoming more likely from Western Oklahoma into Southern Kansas and across West-Central Texas.

Storm mode today looks mixed, but it does appear some supercells may be able to take shape off of the dryline, especially near/after dark, as instability and wind shear markedly increase. A narrow window of low tornado potential is near and just after sunset, before the boundary layer cools.

For a more technical discussion: Initial cells off of the dryline will be dealing with a dry environment that is weakly sheared. 0-3km SRH values are pretty low, and 0-6km bulk shear values only marginally support storm organization.

In Kansas: Models are trying to pool moisture along a cold front, with much stronger shear overall. This is an intriguing possibility, but I am worried about the thick cloud cover and cold temps as well as the southward-moving cold front. To keep a storm surface-based, it is going to need to have a right motion south of east. That is possible, but the downdrafts of these storms will likely be rather cold. From a chasing perspective, the low clouds likely around these storms with crosswise shear vectors will make for a grungy appearance.

After dark in Western Oklahoma: Shear picks up quite a bit. Storms will likely remain surface-based through 7-8 p.m. This could set the stage for a brief nocturnal tornado threat in this region, with ample 3CAPE and increasing overall shear. The key at this point will be storm mode. If a storm is surface-based and supercellular and not wrapped into a surging area of outflow, it seems like a tornado is possible. But overall, this is a low-risk type of scenario. Still, it is worth watching.