Thursday, September 6, 2012

Convective Initiation in Northwest Kansas

Strong thunderstorms have begun firing in northwestern Kansas, where two cells have so far formed. It appears that two other cells are also building to the north of the dominating cells.

Analysis of the atmosphere in the area indicates that these storms are forming in the midst of a tight gradient of moisture in the lower levels of the atmosphere, as well as an equally sharp gradient of instability. Given that these storms are already this strong before entering the strongest instability, I worry about the potential these storms have.
Despite relatively unfavorable convection and lower level shearing, bulk shearing stands at a fair 40-50 knots ahead of the storms. It should also be noted that the 700mb layer indicates a corridor of moist air centered over these cells.

All of the above taken into consideration, additional initiation appears likely. Favorable instability and relatively favorable shearing induces the potential for supercellular storms in the region, those of which will have to be watched.


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