Sunday, April 26, 2009

High Risk of Severe Weather

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman has issued a rare high risk of severe weather for the Western half of Oklahoma for this afternoon and tonight.......this is the first high risk in Oklahoma in five years. The potential exists for tornadoes, some of which could be long-tracked, strong, and large. I wasn't thinking the threat would be this serious, but anytime the SPC issues a high risk, it should grab anyone's attention, as they are the world's foremost severe weather forecasters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Severe Weather Timeline

Trying to give details on severe weather events more than 1 or 2 days out is virtually impossible, but I am going to try to give a general idea of what to expect the next couple of weeks. What I do know is this: I can't remember the last time I have seen as much severe weather as what could be packed into the next 2 weeks. Usually you get 1 or 2 severe weather days, and the system moves on (under normal circumstances) and you get a break of at least a few days if not a week or so. This time, it appears the 1-2 day severe weather events will be separated by only 1 day breaks in between. So here goes:

Saturday- Greatest threat is over the Western 1/3 of Oklahoma. A localized tornado outbreak is possible over Western Oklahoma, including the possibility of large tornadoes. Threat to OKC-Slight and after dark.

Sunday- Greatest threat over Western 1/2 of Oklahoma. More tornadoes possible, possibly more than on Saturday. Locations will be highly dependent on how soon the storms move out from Saturday night and how much sunshine we receive. Threat to OKC-Slight to Moderate, and after 3PM.

Monday- Greatest threat approx. the SE 1/2 of Oklahoma. Biggest threat this day could be more hail, wind, and flooding than tornadoes, but that is still TBD.

Tuesday- Day of Rest.

Wednesday-Thursday- More severe weather possible, with some indications that one or both of these days could produce a significant severe weather outbreak.

Friday-Next Saturday should be break days. Hopefully the week afterwards also provides a break, but some models indicate the severe weather pattern will continue. This is really tarot card/crystal ball territory.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Severe Weather Outbreaks on the Horizon

It appears the real severe weather season in Oklahoma will get going beginning this Saturday. The models over the past couple of days have been hinting at a pattern that will result in a prolonged period of thunderstorms with associated severe weather potential and heavy rain/flooding potential. I can see a possible scenario of severe weather in the state every day from Saturday through the end of next week. Beyond the end of next week it's vague, but the pattern could continue beyond that.

This Saturday evening the severe weather threat will be over western Oklahoma, with the greatest threat over NW Oklahoma. Wind shear profiles look ideal for supercells: from top to bottom (surface) the winds go from W, to SW, to S, to SSE at ground-level. I imagine there will be 1-3 isolated supercells in western Oklahoma Saturday evening that will have the threat of producing tornadoes. Any threat to OKC appears slight at this time and would more than likely be between 10PM and 2AM.

Depending on where the cold front sets up Sunday and the rest of next week (which is highly dependent on the amount of rain that occurs with/behind the front), more severe weather and isolated tornadoes will be possible. One day I see on the horizon that could have an enhanced threat of tornadoes would be Wednesday, but that is not set in stone by any means.

Bottom line is this: Late April and Early May are primetime for severe weather in Oklahoma. Some years we are lacking in storms moving through during this peak season, but it appears as though a stormy pattern will coincide with peak severe weather season this year. Just stay weather aware over the next couple of weeks. If you don't own one, I highly recommend purchasing a programmable NOAA weather radio. The programmable radios are more expensive, but you can set them to just go off for certain counties and certain warnings (Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, Flood, etc.) The cheaper ones give you peace of mind as well, but you can only program by county, not by type of warning.

More updates to come in the coming days!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Work-Week Weather and Long-Range Severe Wx

If you have any extra time you can take off of work this week you may want to use it! Beautiful weather will be here from Monday all the way through the next weekend. There will be a little bit of wind, but it's Oklahoma, so you should expect that. Temperatures will range from the mid 70's to the mid 80's with plenty of sunshine!

I've looked at some of the long-range computer models, and I have a feeling things are going to get pretty interesting around here starting the first week of May. Until then, a large ridge of high pressure is going to build over the Plains and Gulf of Mexico, which will allow heating, and most importantly in terms of severe weather, moisture build-up. Starting that first week of May, a parade of storms looks to begin impacting the Central Plains. As opposed to the rest of the storms we have dealt with this year, these coming ones will have plenty of heat and humidity to work with. This will probably yield a few severe weather/tornado outbreaks in the Plains. I say the Plains just because it is impossible to pin down locations this far out. So get ready to buckle your seatbelts........we may be in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Late Start to Spring

Anyone wondering when Spring will be here permanently? So far this Spring there has been an endless stream of cold fronts moving through every 3-4 days. In addition to keeping temperatures down, this has also reduced the amount of severe weather we have seen so far. The cold fronts have taken the warmth and moisture that is needed for severe weather and shoved them down deep into the southern Gulf of Mexico. So other than the February tornadoes, severe weather season has been tame so far.

I suspect our severe weather season will ramp up in early to mid May and go a little later than normal, probably late June. The second half of April will probably be warmer and drier than normal. This will actually allow the Gulf to build up some heat and moisture content so that storm systems that move in during May will have adequate moisture to work with. Bottom line as to my thinking in terms of severe weather: The rest of April will be quieter than normal, May will be normal, and June may be more active than normal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Record Cold

It appears as though OKC is going to set a new record low for April 7th. The old record is 27, and we will probably get down around 25. We have been in a strange weather pattern with record snow, high wind, and now record cold. One reason for this is the Jet Stream winds have been stronger than normal over Oklahoma, pushing low pressure systems through Oklahoma faster than normal. This is causing the high wind and lack of rainfall, because storm systems do not have time to pull up Gulf moisture before they high-tail out of Oklahoma.

A Spring pattern is beginning to show up by the middle of this week. We could have some severe weather Thursday afternoon as the next storm moves in, but I think the main threat will be over Eastern Oklahoma. Tornadoes will be possible there as well.

A stronger and slower moving system is forecasted over Easter. Right now it appears to be more of a heavy rain producer than a severe weather maker. We could get as much as 2-3 inches of rain on Easter Sunday. We'll see how that pans out.