Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5/22 - 9:45am MDT - Nebraska Here We Come!

Today's storm setup is tricky because we're dealing with, again, a situation where the moisture is not returning to the region as well as we need it to. The good news though is that the trough that is slowly making it's way eastward will finally be in play today, so upper-level wind support will be there for storms. Let's start with the moisture though. The higher dew points will be in the Dakotas today no doubt, but this is at the surface. With such a short time between being dry and having moisture moving into that region, this moist layer is likely very shallow and confined near the surface even though the short-range models this morning show it a little deeper than before (models have not been handling moisture well at all lately). This means that storms up that way would likely be low-precipitation supercells, maybe to the point where some of them are only putting down virga and not ground-falling rain. The better surface wind support near the low will also be in the Dakotas, but you won't get many, if any, tornadoes if the storms can't get any "meat" on them from the lack of moisture. Dew points in Northern Nebraska may be lower at surface, but we may have an overall deeper layer of moisture there.

The upper-level winds as I said before will be more favorable today than yesterday. The trough moving in will provide fast southwesterly winds in the Dakotas extending down to Northern Nebraska. This should bring in some drier air aloft and enhance wind shear for this afternoon's storms. Today we'll stay on the southern end of these winds aloft so that maybe we can get some deeper moisture coupled with the winds. Hopefully some supercell storms can form in this environment.

Because the models are having difficulties resolving moisture issues, today's CAPE (instability) forecast looks rather low in Nebraska with higher values north. This is something we'll be watching throughout the afternoon to see where it actually sets up. The potential lack of moisture and the best shear being removed from deep layer moisture will likely limit tornado potential today, but maybe we can see some high-based photogenic storms!

The Storm Prediction Center has a Slight Risk for severe storms today in the Dakotas extending toward Northern Nebraska. There's only a 2% tornado risk with this and I think this is a good call given the moisture issues here. If dew points were to be higher over a deeper layer in North Dakota I think you could have a pretty decent tornado risk from supercells given the forecast wind environment. In any case, our more southerly target today will put us in great position for tomorrow's chase, which will likely be in Nebraska.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates today!

No comments: