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Daily Severe Threat Continues: More Tornadoes Likely Today

30 May 2013, 11:44 am

It’s been a pretty incredible ride the past couple of weeks – really even less than that.  Round of tornadoes after round of tornadoes… and it’s May.  That means we have June to go as far as the “big” severe weather season is concerned.

To put the breakdown of May into perspective, think back to when things were a bit quieter in the first half of the month.  Remember that span of time?  It seems like so long ago:


Preliminary May Tornadoes
Preliminary May Tornadoes


Check out that graphic above.  You’re reading that right.  The first 17 days of May? 32 tornadoes reported.  The past 12 days? 145.  Nearly 5 times the quantity in only 2/3 of the amount of days!

It’s not just that, however, it is also the strength of storms.  We saw the EF-5 rated tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, last week… but let’s separate wind speeds from strength, and focus on wedge tornadoes for a moment.  We’ve seen a lot of them.  They ranged from this incredible video you saw us using on WeatherNation:




To dual wedge tornadoes on the same day elsewhere around Kansas.  The map below shows that two of the wedge tornadoes we saw on Tuesday were fairly significantly far apart…

One took place in Salina, KS, and one took place in Corning, KS:



Impressive, huh?  And we’ve got another tornado threat today, as well… with a strong dryline interacting with robust Gulf moisture, we could be in for another busy day of storm tracking and analysis today and possibly tomorrow.

The dryline is a rather impressive beast, in its own right, and the neat thing about them is they are very easy to notice.  Look at this graphic below – this is a temperature forecast for this afternoon/evening across the nation.  Pay close attention to the brown line drawn onto the image:


Afternoon Temperatures Today
Afternoon Temperatures Today


Not very apparent via temperatures, right?  In fact – see those arrows over Kansas coming from the West/Northwest?  Typically those might indicate a cold front coming… as a kink in the isobars (lines of constant pressure) and a sharp directional shift in the winds would typically imply that type of cooling.  But notice the temperatures: Still potentially 80s or higher for temperatures!  Something is amiss here… and that should lead to more investigation.

Here’s the other comparison.  Constructing this image, I put the dewpoint map for the same time-frame and the exact same locations – using the same indicators.  Here are the results:


Afternoon Dewpoint Temperatures Today
Afternoon Dewpoint Temperatures Today


Notice how the dryline didn’t line up with anything in the first image… but now it is lining up perfectly?  That is the miracle of the dryline!  Unfortunately, drylines tend to induce severe weather.

Now for tornado potential:

Look at the following image…

Wind Contrast
Wind Contrast: Severe Region Likely


Now, look at THIS image… this is today’s severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center:


  • Today's SPC Threat MapToday’s SPC Threat Map


And going a step further – look at their tornado prospects map for today:


SPC Tornado Threat
SPC Tornado Threat


Amazing how it all lines up, huh?  Well, let’s hope that things don’t get to wild today, and that if there are any tornadoes that they happen in unpopulated regions.

Have a safe rest of your Thursday, and a great weekend!

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

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