The Southern Great Plains are in for a potentially stormy Thursday. Scattered severe thunderstorms could bring large hail and strong wind gusts from the afternoon into the night.

Location: Southern Great Plains, primarily focusing on:

  • Texas Panhandle
  • Western Oklahoma
  • Northern Texas
  • Southern Kansas

Threats:

  • Large hail (primary threat)
  • Locally strong to severe wind gusts

Timing:

  • The main window will be Thursday afternoon into Thursday night.
  • In the morning, some lingering storms in north Texas pose a minor hail threat.
  • Main focus shifts to afternoon/evening for new storm development.

Discussion

Upper-Air Situation: Several small disturbances embedded within a larger upper-level trough are moving across the Southwest, fostering rising air and potential storm development.

Strong System Moving In: We’re watching an upper-level system move toward the Southern Plains.

  • A surface low is deepening in the Texas Panhandle.
  • A cold front is pushing in from the west.
  • This combo will enhance lift and the potential for storms.

Clash of the Air Masses: Warm, moist Gulf air is flowing northward, meeting a dryline over Texas. This boundary will be a prime location for storm initiation.

Afternoon Heating = Increased Instability: Expect strong daytime heating across western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle to boost instability and fuel storm development.

Storm Dynamics:

  • Lingering elevated morning storms might produce some hail, but the primary severe risk shifts to the afternoon/evening.
  • There’s potential for isolated supercells within storm clusters, posing a threat of large hail and strong wind gusts.

Uncertainties:

  • We’re not sure how far east storms will travel and how intense they’ll become.
  • The amount of moisture and instability will be critical in determining overall storm severity.

The lead wave in the morning that touches off a lot of storms will move east into the afternoon, with at least a brief period of sinking air behind it.

By afternoon, the main jet stream energy will be moving out and over the region. I’m particularly interested in whether the stalled dryline convects further south, closer to I-10 and I-20.

The HRRR in particular is pretty meager with moisture near the dryline. The HRRR also has a tendency to mix out environments like this a bit much. Still, the thing that even the HREF shows is the dryline is retreating through much of the afternoon, especially further north. This usually means no storms until the dryline stalls.

One wildcard is the extensive storm coverage in the morning and into the early afternoon. I would watch for an outflow boundary or two to set up. Perhaps one north in Oklahoma and another deep into west/south Texas.

As of right now, models start developing storms along the cold front as it overtakes the dryline just before sunset. The HRRR has pretty weak shear at this point, with 0-3km helicity values less than 100. However, the 0-6km bulk shear is really favorable, as is SR flow in the mid-levels. Storms will likely be quickly undercut by the cold front but will almost certainly pose a large hail threat. The tornado window is very small most likely. The chances are not zero, but they are very low.