Severe Threat Across the Plains This Week
After a historically quiet start to the 2015 severe weather season across the U.S., multiple waves of widespread storms are expected to move across the Central Plains this week.
While a widespread tornado outbreak is not expected (far from it, it appears), hail, damaging winds and possibly a few isolated tornadoes could accompany severe storms on both Tuesday and Wednesday across the central and southern plains states.
First things first: a low moving in from the northwest will run into a moderately warm and humid airmass across parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and a trailing cold front will lead to thunderstorm development on the south side of the low ahead of the front and behind a warm front (referred to as the warm sector, happy Meteorology 101 lesson). The clash of the warm, moist air with colder, drier air behind the front – typical of spring – will lead to thunderstorm development, along with several other factors that could confuse and/or bore many to tears if fully explained.
The outcome, however, could be the first widespread bout of severe weather in several months. For Tuesday (see map), a slight risk has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), highlighting in yellow areas under the greatest threat for severe storms. Cities in this zone include Springfield, Jefferson City and Columbia, Missouri and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Kansas City, St. Louis and Tulsa, Oklahoma are all just outside of this zone and residents in these areas should pay close attention to forecasts in the next 48 hours.
In its Sunday assessment, the SPC outlined large hail and damaging winds as the primary threats from Tuesday’s storms. However, again, a few tornadoes are possible with these storms.
On Wednesday, the same system will move further south, meaning locations such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma City and Tulsa are under a greater risk for severe weather mid-week. By Thursday, however, the front is expected to weaken and the severe weather risk should wind down.
As mentioned repeatedly here at WeatherNationTV.com and on WeatherNation TV, now is the time to review and/or develop a plan for the heart severe weather season in April, May and June. What will you do if a tornado warning is issued for your location? What is the safest location to seek shelter in your home, place or work or other locations you might be during the afternoon and evening hours? Make sure you and your family can comfortably answer those questions and develop a severe weather plan.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi