May 23, 2011

May 23: West Central Oklahoma

Our prelminary travel target is west-central Oklahoma.  Details follow. hings are a little muddled today because of the anemic 700 mb flow. As others have pointed out, the CAPE field is outstanding....and there's a nice southwesterly 30-40 knot 50 mb flow that, with surface southeasterly flow does give 0-6 km bulk speed shear values around 40 knots. There is a sweet area in the models between Clinton and Enid or so that has barely adequqte surface flow of 15 knots....and the hodographs in those areas are strongy looped in the lowest 3 km. 

But the anemic 700 mb flow suggests core dumping in the updraft areas....however.....with proper storm motions, southeast, one can get adequate storm relative flow even at 700 mb (a lesson underscored by the Sheridan Lake and more spectacular Campo events last year).

And then, there is that outflow boundary/ies. We are just leaving Tulsa on the backside of that. Some of the cases the last several days illustrate how important those can be on days with marginal shear. Thom and I are still a bit awed by what happened yesterday....when I posted our summary yesterday evening I was unaware that so many people lost their lives and that the storm so devastated Joplin. To think that we were 10 minutes or so and a hook echo crossing the freeway away from getting into that is sobering.

Anyway, we are targeting the area southwest of Enid today, unless something changes in the observational fields as we are driving.