May 19, 2013

May 19, 2013 -- Provisional Target for Storm Initiation North-Central Oklahoma

Another Round of Tornadic Supercells Expected:  Provisional Target--northernl OK/se KS

(Complete log of yesterday's magnificent cyclic tornadic supercell will be posted during the day today)

Our first look at data this morning shows a triple point (join between a warm front, dry line and cold front) somewhere jn northwest of Oklahoma City today, drifting much through the day, and ending up near I35 east of Enid (see graphic to the right).  There is an outflow boundary from last night's convection over southeast KS and northeastern OK.

Dew points east of the triple point are in the 60's with 70s surging northward in southeasterly flow over the eastern two thirds of Oklahoma into southeast KS.  On the chart at right, green areas reprsent dew points >60F.  Deepest green indicates dwpoints >70F.

The 500 mb wind flow (~18000 ft) will be the strongest of the trip so far, with widespread 40-50 knots in southwest flow over the threat area.

Hodographs (diagrams that show the variation of wind direction and speed with height)  plotted for this afternoon just east of the dry line show a pattern favorable both for supercells and for a wind profile in the lowest km or so supportive of tornadoes.  Some of those tornadoes might be strong and violent.  Other measures of updraft rotation, such as 0-3 km Storm Relative Helicity (see diagram at right) are consistent with the impressive hodographs (the green and yellow areas on the chart at right are an estimate of updraft rotation).

The 12 UTC run of the WRF-NAM is not yet in.   So Thom and I will go out on a run, and we'll see then what our actual intiial target will be.  Our target is shown in the red box above.   My thought is that the outflow boundary will act as a storm initiation mechanism.  There is also enhanced shear along that.  That shear can be ingested into the updraft of thunderstorms and augment their rotation.

Meanwhile, tomorrow's pattern looks to be in about the same area, or slightly further southeast...but with conditions favoring another outbreak of supercells, some with strong and violent tornadoes.