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ALERT: High Risk of Severe Weather Thursday

18 May 2017, 4:48 am

The Storm Prediction Center is highlighting Thursday as a potential outbreak day for dangerous, life threatening severe weather.

An outbreak of severe thunderstorms, with tornadoes, very large hail, and wind damage is expected to develop across…

Posted by NOAA NWS Storm Prediction Center on Thursday, May 18, 2017

A powerful upper level low will move east out of the Four Corners region today, with a mid level short wave pushing into the southern and central Plains. This will provide a broad sense of lift and help provide energy to the system. A more focused source of lift will come from a dry line, or boundary/front between very dry and moist air. Dew points in the 60s and 70s will provide ample moisture for these thunderstorms and help drive up instability. Rapid changes in temperature (lapse rates) and wind speed with height (shear) will also increase the organization and instability within supercells.

The high risk of severe storms is draped across Kansas and Oklahoma, including Wichita. Not only is there an increased risk of tornadic activity, there is also a greater chance at seeing tornadoes at EF-2 strength or greater. Same goes for hail. Hail stones greater than 2″ in diameter will likely fall within the high risk area.

Isolated tornadoes are possible up and down the dryline into Texas. Large hail and damaging wind will also occur throughout the slight and marginal risk areas.

The storms will start off as more individualized cells during the mid and late afternoon. These will bring the best chance at more significant severe weather because they don’t have to compete with other storms for resources/severe weather ingredients.

As they push to the northeast, they will form bowing line segments; increasing the chance of damaging wind. Overnight, a Mesoscale Convective Complex will bring all of the storms together into one big line.

Storms will stay strong overnight and into Friday. Severe weather is still possible into Friday morning. A very moist, unstable airmass will linger into Friday afternoon. Any clearing will allow the sun to destabilize the atmosphere even more. The dryline will once again act as a catalyst for storm development. An enhanced risk of severe weather will be in place for many of the same locations as today. With several days of severe weather and heavy rainfall, up to 6″ of rainfall is possible, adding flooding to the list of potential threats.

For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Karissa Klos

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