Tuesday, May 31, 2011

5/31 - 12pm CDT - Minnesota? / Back to Nebraska

We're departing Detroit Lakes, Minnesota for Nebraska this morning. Many of you are probably asking how on earth we ended up in Minnesota last night. Here's the deal: The area of low pressure that we tried to stay up yesterday with kept moving northward and we had to follow it into the Fargo, North Dakota area. The cap (warm layer of inhibiting air) was broken with 4500 J/kg CAPE (!) for nearly four hours yesterday, but the low kept moving around. This meant that the east wind component needed for supercell formation wasn't staying in the same place either, so elements just weren't lining up in one spot for a long enough time to get anything going. Once we finally threw in the towel, we headed just a few miles east to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota for a nice evening in the town with a view of the lake.

Not all was lost though, because we did have a fast-moving squall line of storms move through Detroit Lakes while we were eating dinner. We had heavy rain and lightning where we were, but just a few miles west in Fargo, ND they sustained some wind damage due to a bowing segment in the line of storms.

Westerly flow aloft and southeasterly winds at the surface will return to Nebraska/South Dakota tomorrow as an area of low pressure moves into Colorado. These winds at the surface should usher in dew points that will break 65 degrees, so moisture should not be a problem as it returns to the Plains. Instability also looks good and it appears the cap will break tomorrow in the later afternoon hours. With all of this put into play, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a 15% Slight Risk area for severe weather in Nebraska, parts of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. They even have a hatched area for an enhanced risk and their discussion calls for supercells with a few tornadoes possible. Looks like the chase is on again tomorrow!

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