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Plains Severe Weather Chances This Week

29 Jul 2020, 8:30 am

An active weather pattern for the rest of this week will bring the threat for severe thunderstorms to the Plains. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued outlooks for today (Wednesday) through Friday highlighting a few areas where severe storms are possible. Below we will break down the risk areas for each day:

WEDNESDAY

The most likely locations where atmospheric dynamics will come together to bring in chances for severe thunderstorms today (Wednesday) extends from South Dakota to Oklahoma. There is a slight risk (level 2 on a scale of 1 to 5) that includes western and central Kansas. Large hail and strong wind gusts are the main threats, with isolated tornadoes possible in western Kansas.

There are a few dynamic factors to consider with this set-up. With daytime heating and more energy to work with, we look at our CAPE values. CAPE is also known as Convective Available Potential Energy. It is a measure of how much energy there is in the atmosphere. As temperatures heat up throughout the day, the CAPE values increase. Typically, anything over 1000 J/kg of CAPE (the measurement of energy) can be favorable for thunderstorm development. The yellow shades on the image below show us areas that have more energy to help with storm development.

Moisture is also needed to fuel storms. Throughout the day, low level moisture begins to increase. This in combination with orographic forcing (in this case, the Black Hill Mountains) should help support more organized thunderstorms in the same area the SPC has highlighted the marginal risk.

All of these dynamic factors are important to bring storms. Forecast guidance also shows that thunderstorms will begin during the afternoon and continue through the evening.

THURSDAY

On Thursday, there is a marginal risk for severe thunderstorms from southwestern areas of Missouri to the Red River of the South. Development will be focused along a front over the region with a low pressure center moving slowly eastward. Once again, storms will develop in the late afternoon and continue into the evening.

FRIDAY

As the front pushes slightly to the east and south, the threat for severe weather will extend from the Lower Mississippi Valley into Texas. Strong wind gusts and isolated tornadoes are the main concerns.

Keep checking in with WeatherNation for the latest updates on this developing forecast.

About the author
Alana Cameron was born and raised in Canada in the city of Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. Alana is the oldest of 4 siblings, all close in age, and grew up playing outside with them in all types of weather. After graduating high school, Alana moved to study at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna for a year before transferring to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia where sh... Load Moree completed a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Atmospheric Science. Upon completion, Alana moved back to Toronto where she completed a post-grad degree in Meteorology at York University. After her post-grad, she went on to complete another post-grad in Broadcast Journalism - TV News at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. During her final year of studies she had the privilege of interning with the best in the business in Canada at The Weather Network. Once she finished her internship, she got the call from small-town Denison, Texas where she accepted a job as an on-air meteorologist at KTEN-TV, right in tornado alley, covering severe weather from Sherman/Denison (North Texas) to Ada (Southern Oklahoma). After the most active tornado season Oklahoma had seen in May 2019 (105 tornadoes!) Alana is excited to join WeatherNation to cover weather all across the nation. If you're interested in following her on social media she can be found @alanacameronwx!

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