Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5/24 - 11:45am CDT - HIGH Risk in Oklahoma

Yet another tornado outbreak is on the way in the United States today and this time we're going to be smack-dab in the middle of it. A strong cut-off area of low pressure moving across the Plains this afternoon will provide the needed moisture-laden surface winds from the southeast and dry, pushing air from the southwest to create a sharp dry line that will be the focus for storm development this afternoon. Instability values will be off the charts as the cap (thunderstorm-inhibiting layer of warm air above the surface) breaks sometime during the middle of the afternoon. Temperatures aloft today will be slightly warmer than yesterday, so storms should stay isolated, especially south of the Kansas border. Locations near that border will most likely see a similar situation to yesterday, when tons of developing storms merged into an un-chaseable complex. There's a bit of a cloud shield situated vertically across the central part of the state this morning, but it should clear out fairly quick.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare HIGH Risk for Oklahoma and Southern Kansas because of how potent this setup looks. The issuance of a HIGH Risk may not seem rare because of all the destructive outbreaks that have happened this year, but overall they don't issue one but once or twice at the most in a normal season. The risk includes a 45% tornado risk (!), something that has only been used for the devastating April 27th tornado outbreak in the South this year. Needless to say, expectations are high and a lot of folks are nervous around here. We're getting in position right now in Oklahoma and making adjustments as necessary based on conditions.

With such a huge outbreak expected, today is certainly the day that you need to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for my latest chase updates and photos if you haven't already.

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