Thursday, May 19, 2011

5/19 - 12:45am CDT - Bust Today, Better Tomorrow?

Frustrating. There's no other way to put it. We had storms blowing up and developing before our eyes this afternoon in Oklahoma only to have a cirrus cloud shield develop in the upper levels of the atmosphere and squash any further development. Just about all the other conditions were right for this severe weather event, but the cloud shield made sure that nothing would form. A few linear storms along the warm front surging north this even have formed, but they should be out of Kansas pretty soon.

Speaking of Kansas, that's where all the action will likely be tomorrow. Upper level winds will be stronger tomorrow than today, but this time over Kansas. We're hoping that a dry slot aloft moving into the region later this evening (see right satellite image) will decrease the chances of an inhibiting cirrus shield forming tomorrow like it did today. Temperatures at 700mb will be less than optimal (need 10C or higher, but we may only have 8-9C tomorrow), so a shot of dry air will definitely be needed to keep clouds from forming in the cooler temperatures up there. Otherwise, I like the setup since winds and moisture will be wrapping around the northeast side of a low centered in the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandles. Easterly winds should stick around in Central Kansas beceause  The cap (warm layer of air aloft) should break sometime after 4pm or so tomorrow based on output from the NAM computer model.

With all of these factors, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a Slight Risk for severe storms tomorrow across Central Kansas with a 10% tornado risk tacked on. Could this be upgraded to a Moderate Risk? I think so if this dry slot aloft comes in and keeps the upper air clear tomorrow. We also have to be sure that no storms develop over Central Kansas tomorrow morning, which seems unlikely at this point. After two big severe weather busts in the past couple weeks, we're hoping tomorrow will be the charm!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow for all the latest updates from our chase!

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