Today is going to be yet another day with severe weather possible on the Plains, with supercells possible with large hail the primary threat. You can not rule out a tornado either, especially in the hours around sunset where the low-level shear will maximize with an increasing low-level jet.


I’m watching an outflow boundary in the Texas Panhandle very closely today. Low clouds north of this boundary should erode slowly through the day, but the uneven heating and added vorticity of this boundary may be a focus area for supercell development later today.

Screenshot 2023 05 18 at 10 23 27 AM
Unlike yesterday, which produced a miraculous supercell (in my opinion) with 10kt 500mb winds, today those winds will be 30-35kt over the region.This is leading to effective shear that is adequate for supercells given strong veering with height.

Screenshot 2023 05 18 at 10 23 11 AM

Mid to upper 50s dewpoints (perhaps into the low-60s) will be common across the Panhandles and Western Oklahoma. Typically in this region, I look for 55-60 dewpoints for the ‘hey this could get interesting fast’ type of days.

Screenshot 2023 05 18 at 10 22 15 AM

Curved hodographs aloft with 39kt of effective shear will absolutely be enough for a supercell or two.

Screenshot 2023 05 18 at 10 32 36 AM

Expect widespread storms today. These storms will likely stretch from the area west of the Rockies and Central Mountains in New Mexico and as far east as Central Oklahoma and Kansas. The ingredients seem maximized across the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma.

The Bottom Line

I expect a couple of supercells to form amidst a lot of storms across the region overall. Storms will begin forming early in the day, noon or earlier — but supercell formation is more likely/expected after 3 p.m. or so. The time I expect the severe weather threat to maximize will be from 6-10 p.m. CT tonight.

Large hail is the primary hazard, with damaging winds possible with any upscale growing clusters/lines. While the tornado threat is very low, if you were to get a supercell tornado today it will likely be in that 6-10 p.m. timeframe.