Dangerous tornado outbreak expected Saturday; Gulf of Mexico SSTs warmest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:57 PM GMT on April 13, 2012

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A dangerous tornado outbreak is expected on Saturday over the Plains, says NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Warm, moist air flowing northwards from a Gulf of Mexico that has record-warm waters will collide with cold air funneling down from Canada, creating a highly unstable air mass capable of creating strong thunderstorm updrafts. An impressive upper-level low, accompanied by a jet stream with 105 - 125 mph winds at middle levels of the atmosphere, will create plenty of wind shear, giving the air the spin it needs to form tornadoes. SPC has has issued their highest level of alert, a "High Risk," for much of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska for Saturday. Included in the "High Risk" area are the cities of Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Lincoln. This is the second time SPC has issued a "High Risk" forecast this year; the first "High Risk" forecast came for the March 2 tornado outbreak, which killed 41 people and did $1.5 - $2 billion in damage. It is very unusual for SPC to issue a "High Risk" forecast more than a day in advance of a suspected tornado outbreak; according to Wikipedia, today's "High Risk" forecast is only the second time SPC has ever done this. The other instance was for the April 6 - 8, 2006 tornado outbreak focused over Tennessee, which generated 73 tornadoes that killed 13 and did $1.5 billion in damage. People living in the threatened area need to pay close attention on Saturday to this dangerous severe weather situation.


Figure 1. Severe weather risk for Saturday, April 14, 2012, from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

Gulf of Mexico water temperatures the warmest on record
Temperatures in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico were the 3rd - 7th warmest on record during the first three months of 2012, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. This allowed Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the Gulf of Mexico (25 - 30°N, 85 - 90°W) to climb to 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average during March 2012, according to a wunderground analysis of the Hadley Centre SST data set. This is the warmest March value on record for the Gulf of Mexico, going back over a century of record keeping. During the first two weeks of April, Gulf of Mexico waters remained about 1.5°C above average, putting April on pace to have the warmest April water temperatures on record. Only one year in the past century has had April water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico more than 1.1°C above average; that year was 2002 (1.4°C above average.) All that record-warm water is capable of putting record amounts of water vapor into the air, since evaporation increases when water is warmer. Because moist air is less dense than dry air, this warm, moist air flowing northwards from the Gulf of Mexico into the developing storm system over the Plains will be highly unstable once it encounters cold, dry air aloft. The record-warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a key reason for the high risk of severe weather over the Plains this weekend.


Figure 2. Departure of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from average for April 12, 2012, as computed by NOAA/NESDIS. SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico are at their warmest levels on record for this time of year.

Follow Weather Underground on twitter for the latest on this potential severe weather outbreak.

Jeff Masters

April Storms (llpj04)
this storm greeted me as I came out of the grocery store, chased me home and got to my driveway the same time I did.
April Storms
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma (mbryan777)
Last night we had a pretty spectacular lightning storm. I put the camera on the tripod in time-lapse mode and laid on my back on the hillside above the pond taking in an amazing show. When it got more exciting than I was comfortable with, I ran for the house.
Lightning Up the Pond - Oklahoma

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Randy Denzer following a big tornado
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0537
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0751 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...NE NEB...SERN SOUTH DAKOTA NW IA

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH UNLIKELY

VALID 150051Z - 150215Z

STRONGEST SURFACE PRESSURE FALLS ACROSS THE CENTRAL PLAINS HAVE
RECENTLY BECOME FOCUSED ACROSS THE MID MISSOURI VALLEY AREA
...AROUND YANKTON/SIOUX FALLS AND SIOUX CITY. THIS IS LIKELY
REFLECTIVE OF A STRENGTHENING LOWER/MID TROPOSPHERIC WARM ADVECTION
REGIME...WHICH PROBABLY WILL SUPPORT INCREASING CONVECTIVE
DEVELOPMENT THROUGH 02-04Z. THIS ACTIVITY WILL BE ROOTED WITHIN A
MOISTENING LAYER ABOVE A LINGERING NEAR SURFACE STABLE LAYER...TO
THE NORTH OF A WARM FRONT. WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT MID-LEVEL
INSTABILITY MAY BE SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT THE RISK FOR SOME LARGE
HAIL IN STRONGER STORMS...THE SEVERE POTENTIAL CURRENTLY SEEMS TOO
LOW TO REQUIRE A WATCH.

..KERR.. 04/15/2012


ATTN...WFO...DMX...FSD...OAX...LBF...

LAT...LON 43879900 44399719 44269603 43449530 42259545 41489616
41979736 42699823 42849891 43879900
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0536
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0750 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...ERN IA

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH POSSIBLE

VALID 150050Z - 150145Z

AN ORGANIZED BOWING SEGMENT CONTINUES TO TRACK EWD...AND IS EXPECTED
TO PROGRESS TO THE ERN PORTION OF WW 169 BY 02Z. THE SYSTEM MAY
WEAKEN WITH TIME...BUT ITS ORGANIZATION WILL CONTINUE TO BE
MONITORED...WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF A DOWNSTREAM SEVERE WW.

AN MCV LOCATED JUST EAST OF ATLANTIC IA CONTINUES TO TRACK
EWD...WITH AN ORGANIZED COLD POOL NOW EVIDENT. ALTHOUGH CONDITIONS
REMAIN FAVORABLE FOR DMGG WINDS AND POSSIBLE EMBEDDED MESOVORTICES
ATTM...DOWNSTREAM 00Z SOUNDINGS SHOW LIMITED
INSTABILITY/MOISTURE...WHICH MAY WEAKEN THE SYSTEM AS IT APPROACHES
THE ERN EXTENT OF WW 169. HOWEVER...A STRENGTHENING LOW LEVEL JET
COULD LEAD TO AT LEAST WEAK MOISTURE RETURN...WITH A SUPPORTING
UPPER WAVE NOTED ON WV IMAGERY ACROSS ERN NEB POSSIBLY SUSTAINING
THE BOWING SEGMENT. AS SUCH...ISOLATED OCCURRENCES OF DMGG WINDS
AND/OR HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE.

..HURLBUT.. 04/15/2012


ATTN...WFO...DVN...DMX...

LAT...LON 41859289 42619203 42419093 41869064 41279087 40789136
40519174 40609233 41519282 41859289
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Same tornado on News 9... Rain-wrapped and intensely rotating...
Not rain rapped at all.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Good lord.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
He is perfectly placed, I hope you guys are watching this!!
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Same tornado on News 9... Rain-wrapped and intensely rotating...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Multivortex stovepipe tornado on the ground.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32553
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's about to produce a wedge...

Just got finished with tornado cyclogenesis.

That's the exact same thing I was thinking with that really hanging low wall cloud.
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People in Cherokee need to take shelter
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
It's about to produce a wedge...

Just got finished with tornado cyclogenesis.
Yes that is exactly what happening.

Edit:
Still think its about to drop a wedge at some point soon.
Tornado Trojans agree.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Location?
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I hope I'm mis-reading it or overhyping it, but it appears Dacoma, OK got hit according to storm chasers.
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It's about to produce a wedge...

Just got finished with tornado cyclogenesis.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32553
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Link


Randy Denzer has the Cherokee twister on the ground live
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
The velocity's on this are insane.
about how strong is the couplet?
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Only a rope? Would expect at least a cone with the velocity's.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Quoting Xyrus2000:
News 9 was tracking a tornado on the ground, but the chopper was low on fuel so they had to stop.

also getting dark so i doubt they'll have time to go back to the tornado.
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The velocity's on this are insane.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
News 9 was tracking a tornado on the ground, but the chopper was low on fuel so they had to stop.

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Wow.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
its becomeing rain warp geting harder too see it noted it why watcing news9.com live on my laptop
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It's becoming rain wrapped it appears...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Its really trying to put down something huge.
d***....
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Dacoma is right in the path of this storm, and it really wants to put down a large tornado.
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Its really trying to put down something huge.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32553
Quoting HurrikanEB:


why is the one radar band moving the opposite way?

does it have to do with the air flow at the surface or something?

Not 100% sure, but it looks like the retreating dryline to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1625. LargoFl
TORNADO WARNING
KSC155-150100-
/O.NEW.KICT.TO.W.0021.120415T0012Z-120415T0100Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
712 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN WICHITA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN RENO COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...

* UNTIL 800 PM CDT

* AT 706 PM CDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PRETTY PRAIRIE...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT
35 MPH.

HAZARD...DEVELOPING TORNADO AND PING PONG BALL SIZE HAIL.

SOURCE...RADAR INDICATED ROTATION.

IMPACT...SIGNIFICANT HOUSE AND BUILDING DAMAGE POSSIBLE. MOBILE
HOMES COMPLETELY DESTROYED IF HIT. SOME TREES UPROOTED OR
SNAPPED. VEHICLES WILL LIKELY BE THROWN BY TORNADIC WINDS.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
HUTCHINSON...HAVEN...SOUTH HUTCHINSON...BUHLER...YODER AND
HUTCHINSON AIRPORT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS STORM HAS A RECENT HISTORY OF PRODUCING SEVERAL BRIEF TORNADOES
AND FUNNEL CLOUDS. TAKE COVER IN A BASEMENT OR STORM SHELTER NOW!

&&

LAT...LON 3784 9810 3817 9788 3818 9770 3790 9770
3775 9794
TIME...MOT...LOC 0011Z 221DEG 32KT 3785 9794

TORNADO...RADAR INDICATED
HAIL...1.50IN

$$

KLEINSASSER
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41116
Not a tornado, but that bow echo in Iowa is really impressive looking.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening,

I have put out another detailed "birdseye" update on the Atlantic tropics, which includes discussion of the severe wx & also how the computer models evolve the Atlatic basin atmosphere for a possible subtropical cyclone in the Atlantic this week.

Today's discussion is complex and so it is divided into regions with plenty of information. There is a lot of content today...so if there are any question about any unclear statements, please comment & I'll answer.

I am also using this subtropical cyclone potential as a preview for what I plan to do during the upcoming hurricane season. You can also post comments about how to make the discussions clearer/easier to understand....
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Whoa there were 5 power flashes along the power lines.
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1621. ncstorm
Henry Margusity Fan Club
Twin tornadoes, one hit an oil tank and blew it up,. Cory has it on video and will be posted on AccuWeather Sunday.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16076
Tornado in Iowa again.


Head along similar track to the previous one, near Des Moines.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1619. LargoFl
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
KSC025-047-057-119-150100-
/O.NEW.KDDC.SV.W.0028.120415T0022Z-120415T0100Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
722 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DODGE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EXTREME NORTHWESTERN CLARK COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS...
SOUTHWESTERN EDWARDS COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS...
FORD COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS...
EXTREME NORTHEASTERN MEADE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST KANSAS...

* UNTIL 800 PM CDT

* AT 719 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE HAIL UP TO TWO
INCHES IN DIAMETER...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS
STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR MINNEOLA...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BLOOM...
KINGSDOWN...
DODGE CITY...
FORD...
WINDHORST...
BELLEFONT...
MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF FORD...NORTHEASTERN MEADE...NORTHWESTERN
CLARK AND SOUTHWESTERN EDWARDS COUNTIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

BE ALERT FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS. IF CAUGHT OUTSIDE
SEEK A STURDY SHELTER AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS UNTIL THE STORM HAS
PASSED.

&&

LAT...LON 3746 10022 3791 10004 3789 9945 3773 9955
3773 9956 3771 9956 3746 9972
TIME...MOT...LOC 0022Z 216DEG 49KT 3743 10002
WIND...HAIL 60MPH 2.00IN

$$

RUSSELL
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41116
Quoting Bluestorm5:
that storm is REALLY rotating again now on News9.com stream.
No kidding.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
On the ground again.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32553
1616. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
SEVERE WEATHER THREAT CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS



IAC001-003-007-009-029-039-049-051-053-077-099-11 7-121-123-125-

135-153-157-159-173-175-179-181-185-150040-



IA

. IOWA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE



ADAIR ADAMS APPANOOSE

AUDUBON CASS CLARKE

DALLAS DAVIS DECATUR

GUTHRIE JASPER LUCAS

MADISON MAHASKA MARION

MONROE POLK POWESHIEK

RINGGOLD TAYLOR UNION

WAPELLO WARREN WAYNE

$$





KSC043-150040-



KS

. KANSAS COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE



DONIPHAN

$$





MOC001-003-005-021-025-049-061-063-075-079-081-08 7-115-117-121-

129-147-171-197-211-227-150040-



MO

. MISSOURI COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE



ADAIR ANDREW ATCHISON

BUCHANAN CALDWELL CLINTON

DAVIESS DEKALB GENTRY

GRUNDY HARRISON HOLT

LINN LIVINGSTON MACON

MERCER NODAWAY PUTNAM

SCHUYLER SULLIVAN WORTH

$$





THE WATCH STATUS MESSAGE IS FOR GUIDANCE PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE

REFER TO WATCH COUNTY NOTIFICATION STATEMENTS FOR OFFICIAL

INFORMATION ON COUNTIES...INDEPENDENT CITIES AND MARINE ZONES

CLEARED FROM SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND TORNADO WATCHES.

$$


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Back on the ground!

Link
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
that storm is REALLY rotating again now on News9.com stream.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
Looks like more supercell initialization as showers cross over the dryline.



why is the one radar band moving the opposite way?

does it have to do with the air flow at the surface or something?
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Video of damage in Thurmond, IA


Link
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
783

ACUS11 KWNS 150016

SWOMCD

SPC MCD 150015

KSZ000-OKZ000-150115-



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0535

NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK

0715 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012



AREAS AFFECTED...NW AND N CNTRL OK INTO NE KS



CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 170...



VALID 150015Z - 150115Z



THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 170 CONTINUES.



LONG-LIVED...MODESTLY FAST MOVING SUPERCELLS WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR

ISOLATED STRONG TORNADOES WILL PERSIST THIS EVENING.



SEVERAL DISCRETE SUPERCELLS CONTINUE MOVE NORTHEASTWARD AROUND 30

KT...THROUGH THE OPEN WARM SECTOR OF THE DEEPENING CYCLONE CENTERED

OVER THE HIGH PLAINS. MID-LEVEL FORCING FOR UPWARD VERTICAL MOTION

REMAINS WEAK/UNCERTAIN ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA AND

CENTRAL/EASTERN KANSAS...AND INHIBITION FOR BOUNDARY LAYER PARCELS

MAY BEGIN TO INCREASE SOME WITH SURFACE COOLING. HOWEVER...BENEATH

DIFLUENT AND AT LEAST WEAKLY DIVERGENT HIGH LEVEL FLOW...STORM-SCALE

DYNAMICS MAY BE STRONG ENOUGH TO MAINTAIN ACTIVITY INTO AT LEAST THE

02-04Z TIME FRAME. CELLS APPEAR GENERALLY FOCUSED ALONG THE

INTENSIFYING LOW-LEVEL JET AXIS /50-70 KT AT 850 MB/...WHERE

ENLARGING CLOCKWISE CURVED LOW-LEVEL HODOGRAPHS WILL STILL SUPPORT

THE RISK FOR STRONG TORNADOES.



THE HIGHEST TORNADIC POTENTIAL MAY BE WITH CELLS DEVELOPING

NORTHEASTWARD FROM NORTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA INTO SOUTH CENTRAL

KANSAS...NEAR/SOUTH OF WICHITA...ASSOCIATED WITH INFLOW OF AT LEAST

A BIT MORE MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR THAN CELLS FARTHER NORTH.



OTHERWISE...NW STORM DEVELOPMENT WILL CONTINUE BACK TO THE WEST

ALONG THE DRY LINE ACROSS THE HIGHER PLAINS...WHICH HAS ACTUALLY

RETREATED WESTWARD SOME THE PAST HOUR OR TWO.



..KERR.. 04/15/2012



...PLEASE SEE WWW.SPC.NOAA.GOV FOR GRAPHIC PRODUCT...



ATTN...WFO...TOP...ICT...OUN...DDC...



LAT...LON 36589878 37919790 39239719 39889605 39339580 36969720

36159847 36199879 36589878



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Thats about to drop again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Looks like more supercell initialization as showers cross over the dryline.

With they way thing are set up this could go on for hours.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3851
1608. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
783

ACUS11 KWNS 150016

SWOMCD

SPC MCD 150015

KSZ000-OKZ000-150115-



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0535

NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK

0715 PM CDT SAT APR 14 2012



AREAS AFFECTED...NW AND N CNTRL OK INTO NE KS



CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 170...



VALID 150015Z - 150115Z



THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 170 CONTINUES.



LONG-LIVED...MODESTLY FAST MOVING SUPERCELLS WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR

ISOLATED STRONG TORNADOES WILL PERSIST THIS EVENING.



SEVERAL DISCRETE SUPERCELLS CONTINUE MOVE NORTHEASTWARD AROUND 30

KT...THROUGH THE OPEN WARM SECTOR OF THE DEEPENING CYCLONE CENTERED

OVER THE HIGH PLAINS. MID-LEVEL FORCING FOR UPWARD VERTICAL MOTION

REMAINS WEAK/UNCERTAIN ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA AND

CENTRAL/EASTERN KANSAS...AND INHIBITION FOR BOUNDARY LAYER PARCELS

MAY BEGIN TO INCREASE SOME WITH SURFACE COOLING. HOWEVER...BENEATH

DIFLUENT AND AT LEAST WEAKLY DIVERGENT HIGH LEVEL FLOW...STORM-SCALE

DYNAMICS MAY BE STRONG ENOUGH TO MAINTAIN ACTIVITY INTO AT LEAST THE

02-04Z TIME FRAME. CELLS APPEAR GENERALLY FOCUSED ALONG THE

INTENSIFYING LOW-LEVEL JET AXIS /50-70 KT AT 850 MB/...WHERE

ENLARGING CLOCKWISE CURVED LOW-LEVEL HODOGRAPHS WILL STILL SUPPORT

THE RISK FOR STRONG TORNADOES.



THE HIGHEST TORNADIC POTENTIAL MAY BE WITH CELLS DEVELOPING

NORTHEASTWARD FROM NORTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA INTO SOUTH CENTRAL

KANSAS...NEAR/SOUTH OF WICHITA...ASSOCIATED WITH INFLOW OF AT LEAST

A BIT MORE MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR THAN CELLS FARTHER NORTH.



OTHERWISE...NW STORM DEVELOPMENT WILL CONTINUE BACK TO THE WEST

ALONG THE DRY LINE ACROSS THE HIGHER PLAINS...WHICH HAS ACTUALLY

RETREATED WESTWARD SOME THE PAST HOUR OR TWO.



..KERR.. 04/15/2012



...PLEASE SEE WWW.SPC.NOAA.GOV FOR GRAPHIC PRODUCT...



ATTN...WFO...TOP...ICT...OUN...DDC...



LAT...LON 36589878 37919790 39239719 39889605 39339580 36969720

36159847 36199879 36589878


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Looks like more supercell initialization as showers cross over the dryline.

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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