While there may not be a super high risk of severe weather, or at least for tornadoes, through much of this week, we may have near daily risks of severe storms on the Southern and Central Plains. Big hail and damaging winds seem likely, but the day to day evolution of risks and threats will likely depend on how storms evolve in the day(s) prior.
There is a marginal risk of severe storms today that runs roughly diagonal across the Texas Panhandle into the Texas South Plains. Hail and damaging winds would be the primary threat if storms can form in this area.
Moisture is pretty limited (dewpoints in the lower 50s) and shear is pretty limited, so expect any severe reports to come from damaging winds and only marginally severe hail.
A broad slight risk area outlined for tomorrow covers basically the entire body of the state of Oklahoma. Hail/damaging winds will again be the main threat, but I think the odds of a supercell tomorrow are far higher than today.
- Moisture will tick up tomorrow, with near 60 dewpoints possible by afternoon.
- Shear will still be on the marginal side, with 0-6km bulk shear values only vaguely supportive of supercells.
- Still, some models want to break out more isolated storms tomorrow. Right moving storm vectors do indicate that updrafts would want to rotate if they can stay isolated.
- Storms will become crowded with time, especially the further north and east you go in the risk area.
The NAM 3km has been performing pretty well as of late and I think its distribution of storms for tomorrow is probably closer to reality. Widespread storms forming both along a dryline and in the warm sector are likely, with a couple of supercells possible. Any supercells would be capble of very large (2 inches or greater) hailstones.
Storm development on Wednesday is much more uncertain as ridging builds in ahead of a trough advancing to the west. We may see severe storms, but early in the day associated with the low-level jet and some lift from a trailing shortwave. However, subsidence and the rising heights may prevent another crop of afternoon storms.
My confidence for Thursday and onwards begins to wane as model solutions continue to morph a bit on their handling of the ejecting trough. However, leaning into the GFS solution would suggest that severe weather chances will peak Thursday and Friday this week with the best shear/instability combos of the week.
- Surface boundaries are more diffuse Thursday, but models/ensembles produce widespread storms. Models are insistent on an environment that would support supercells, but we may also be dealing with some storm mode issues to the east and moisture issues to the west. I’m not fully sold on Thursday as a big threat type of day, but the potential is there if you can get a more organized surface pattern.
- For Friday, the angle of ejection on the GFS leads me to believe we would have a possible more enhanced/significant threat further north near the surface low which the GFS has in Nebraska. The trailing dryline would need to be watched, but hot/dry air will be shoved east over the dryline leading to a stronger cap. This would likely preclude anything more than very isolated storm development further south.
- A front will shove south from Friday into Saturday, with severe storms possible along it — but the front will likely be screaming…which isn’t the type of setup that leads to lots of tornadoes on the Plains.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I think there will be severe storms much of the week. But, as a storm chaser who lives a few hours away from most of the risks, I’m not fully sold on me heading east just yet. I want to believe, but so far this week has the look of a pretty marginal to low-end string of setups.
The trough ejection on Friday needs to be watched, and a Thursday-Friday chase setup is a real scenario I may indulge in. We’ll be watching this all and our social media channels will be where we’re opining on a lot of this through the week.