Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 8:07 PM GMT on April 25, 2014
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So far this year, the United States has been relatively lucky with regard to tornadic development. According to Dr. Masters most recent blog, there have been no tornadoes EF-3 or stronger through April 24 and also no deaths have been attributed to tornadoes so far in 2014.
The most significant outbreak of the season may be set for this weekend as a strong storm (currently bringing unseasonably heavy rain and high elevation snow to California) moves through the Plains and into the Mississippi Valley. As a prelude to a more dangerous day on Sunday, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk of severe weather for the Plains on Saturday (Figure 1). Severe weather could mean severe thunderstorms that could produce very heavy rain, large hail, damaging wind, and tornadoes.
Figure 1. Storm Prediction Center image showing where there is a slight risk of severe weather on Saturday.
While a tornadoes will always be a risk during a severe weather outbreak, large hail looks to be of primary concern on Saturday from Nebraska through central Texas. The trigger of Gulf of Mexico moisture will be confined to Texas early Saturday, will advect northward throughout the day and allow for greater potential for thunderstorm development.
The bigger threat arrives Sunday and the Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of severe weather for southwestern Arkansas and adjacent areas. A slight risk of severe weather surrounds the moderate risk from eastern Nebraska and southern Iowa through eastern Texas and northern Louisiana (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Storm Prediction Center risk map for Sunday showing a moderate risk of severe weather for parts of the south.
Some of the initial words from the SPC about the threat on Sunday are "outbreak of severe storms possible on Sunday across parts of the Central States with large hail...damaging winds...and tornadoes." This is a good indication that the SPC is anticipating a significant threat of severe weather. Residents throughout the Lower Mississippi Valley should monitor local weather conditions throughout the day and be prepared to protect life and property.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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