Sunday, May 20, 2012

5/20 - 11:45am CDT - Texas Panhandle Today

We're on the road from Oklahoma City to the Panhandle region of Texas where storms are likely to form today. Right now we're watching a clear area on satellite near a cold front situated just south of a line from Childress to Lubbock, TX. This clearing should help to build instability for storms to form as heating from the sun is allowed to reach the surface. Winds and dew points at the moment are not terribly favorable, but the most recent RAP (Rapid Refresh) model does have surface winds turning more easterly during the afternoon bringing in more moisture.

Even though winds at the surface will likely be favorable, winds aloft at 18,000 feet (500 mb) will be weak and westerly to west-northwesterly. It would be preferrable to have winds at that level that are fast and from the southwest, so not having much of either of those components will be a limiting factor. Storms that form this afternoon could have some large hail and winds, but the tornado threat at the moment looks marginal given the lack of upper wind support and possibly lower dew points.

Given these factors, the Storm Prediction Center has decided to forgo issuing a severe weather risk for the area today and only has a general storm risk with mention of some isolated instances of severe storms. The trick today will be to find these isolated instances wherever the best environment for these sets up this afternoon.

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