There are going to be a lot of storms around this afternoon and evening, and a couple will likely organize into supercells with the threat of very large hail and perhaps even a tornado this evening. The tornado risk is very low, but it is not zero.

The Setup

The risk area today spans across portions of the region that I like to call the transition zone between the high and low plains. Storms will form almost everywhere it seems, and any that can mature and dominate their local environment will possibly become supercells.

Today’s risk area includes the threat of very large hail from Southwest Kansas into the Eastern Panhandles.
A look at the environment today shows moderate NW flow with plenty of turning towards the surface. There isn’t a ton of favorable turning from 0-1km, but the wind shear is more than enough for a supercell or two. The instability profile would lead me to believe storms may take a bit to fully mature, but that is a classic fall indicator.
The HREF is zero’ing in on Southwest Kansas as where the most likely area for ‘skinny storms’ to exist. But that threat extends back to the Southern Rockies and the Eastern Panhandles.
This is also the area with the best 0-1km storm-relative helicity. Some small pockets of 100 m2/s2 are forecast, which is the base line for what we look for when we are thinking tornadoes. But this environment does look short-lived. Thus, I think the window for tornadoes is pretty small.
The HRRR likely has a good handle on storm evolution today, with numerous storms across the High Plains. The crowding may limit the overall coverage of very severe weather, but it seems like at least one or two supercells will take shape.

The Bottom Line

We’re going to have a lot of storms and some damaging winds/large hail are almost certainties today. Storm coverage may be too high to see widespread major severe weather. However, one or two storms are likely to evolve into supercells.

  • The window for very large hail will exist from late afternoon into the early evening.
  • The tornado window will be a lot narrower, likely in the 6-8 p.m. time frame. That little time-frame will be the only real time when cloud bases lower and the surface remains unstable with the strongest wind shear. It’ll be really hard to get tornadoes outside of that.
  • The severe weather threat should diminish with time tonight, as instability wanes and storms generally weaken below severe levels.