Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5/19 - 12:30am CDT - Empty-Handed Today in Texas

We busted big time in the Texas Panhandle today. We were expecting storms to form in the nicely sheared, moist, and southeasterly-winded environment to the south of Amarillo, but they didn't. Instead, a huge supercell exploded north of Amarillo as we waited. It kept looking like there would be more southward development as the afternoon went on, but that lone supercell was the only show in town. We held our position and so did other experienced chasers because the environment was so ripe for supercells south of Amarillo. Any storm that formed there would cut off the supercell to the north, and we didn't want to head north for fear of that scenario. Five hours and multiple tornado touchdowns later, we were the ones who left empty-handed. We were befuddled because dew points and temperatures in the area where that supercell formed were way too low to support a storm like that. There must have been something else going on that we could not detect. Nature throws curve balls like that sometimes!

Tomorrow's severe outlook for Oklahoma looks pretty good right now, with the SPC already issuing a Moderate Risk (45%) for much of the state. An area of low pressure just to the west coupled with an advancing dry line will generate east winds and a source of lift for storms tomorrow. CAPE values will be over 2500 J/kg, dew points near 70 degrees, and bulk shear over 50 kt just east of Elk City, OK. With storm motion forecast to be 10-15 kt tomorrow, any storm that forms will be a slow mover. I'll update our chase forecast tomorrow morning!

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