This evening the arriving tour 2 group will meet for orientation. We'll go over the basics of storm chasing, safety precautions, and a few housekeeping items. After orientation we'll pile in our vehicles and head to our traditional first dinner of the tour at The Big Texan. This place is quite the tourist attraction, with signs in the airport and around town advertising their "Free 72 oz. Steak" (if eaten within one hour). I think I'll stay with my 8 oz. sirloin, thank you.
Now, on to more important things. We'll probably end up chasing tomorrow somewhere in Central or West Texas based on what the computer models are saying right now. No particular parameter looks very impressive, so we may not see any storms to write home about. We'll see what the situation looks like in the morning.
Monday is when the action cranks up. A severe weather outbreak has been forecast for Oklahoma, Southern Kansas, and North Texas for quite a few days now and things certainly aren't backing down now with the Storm Prediction Center issuing a 30% risk for severe weather for the region. The NAM and GFS computer models have CAPE values well over 3000 J/kg in Central Oklahoma, which is just phenomenal for supercell development. Bulk shear values are topping 70 kt and dewpoints will be in the upper 60's throughout the area, so neither of those are limiting factors. The NAM is also indicating EHI (Energy Helicity Index - combines helicity and instablity) values over 6 in West Central Oklahoma. Values over 5 are considered to be good indicators for strong EF4 and EF5 tornadoes, so there's much excitement in the storm chasing community right now over this outbreak. I do want to caution that a few storms that will be exiting Eastern Oklahoma and Kansas on Monday morning, which could contaminate the atmosphere a little bit and limit heating. Here's what the Storm Prediction Center has to say about that:
BANDS/CLUSTERS OF ELEVATED TSTMS ARE EXPECTED TO BE ONGOING EARLY MONDAY ACROSS PORTIONS OF ERN KS/OK OWING TO A ROBUST WAA REGIME WITHIN A BROAD 45-50 KT SSWLY LLJ. THIS ACTIVITY MAY PROVE PROBLEMATIC FOR A NWD EXPANSION OF THE WARM SECTOR MONDAY AFTN AND THIS UNCERTAINTY WAS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR NOT UPGRADING TO A MDT RISK.
On a brighter note, they also had this to say about the good shear I mentioned earlier:
FCST HODOGRAPHS EXHIBIT STRONGLY VEERING LOW-LEVEL WINDS WITH THE COMPLETE VERTICAL PROFILE SIGNATURES INDICATIVE OF HISTORIC STRONG TORNADIC CASES. VERY LARGE HAIL WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE.
That's some pretty strong wording there coming from the SPC. I think we're going to have a wild day of chasing on Monday if things come together as anticipated.