After two days of severe weather where tornadoes swept through many states in the Great Plains, the Storm Prediction Center has forecasted a high risk of severe weather today for Oklahoma and Kansas. The main threats for the high risk area are strong, long-lived tornadoes with large hail and damaging winds. A low pressure system has been sitting over Utah and is the culprit for the severe weather for the last two days. However, the system is finally starting to move eastward bringing all the ingredients for a severe outbreak along its path. With diurnal heating, dew points in the 60’s and 70’s, and CAPE values in the 3000-4500 J/kg range, strong instability is guaranteed. The SPC did notate the timing and model guidance of the event as being uncertain. If the storms form too early, or form too close together (non-discrete cells), then the threat will shift towards a wind threat and suppress the hail and tornado threat. Nonetheless, people in the high risk area need to stay weather alert. Also at risk for severe weather are Texas, Missouri, and even western New York and northern Ohio. Although the main threat for these areas are wind and hail, a tornado cannot be ruled out.
In the picture provided, the SPC has forecasted a 30% chance of seeing a tornado within 25 miles from any given point outlined in pink. The hatched lines on top of the colors means a 10% chance or greater of seeing a tornado with strengths of EF-2 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. Even though the pink area is the high risk, you can see that the threat is still present outside of the high risk. Please, stay safe and take shelter when needed.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell