Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nasty Squall Line Hits Texas on Wednesday

The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a small area of severe weather potential for Wednesday, May 1st. This outline encompasses south central Oklahoma into north central Texas.

The NAM model shows a rather small region of high instability over central Texas, extending into central Oklahoma. This image is valid for the afternoon of Wednesday. This stretch of high instability is slightly different from the SPC outlook in that the most able regions for thunderstorm development are just a hair east of the outlook proposed by the SPC, especially in Oklahoma. Thunderstorm development is expected to commence in the late afternoon hours after the layer of stability erodes. This image shows surface-based instability, which is essential for thunderstorms to get going. However, in order for thunderstorms to start forming, the layer of stability must be eroded. The stability is seen in the shaded regions. When you have high instability with no blue shading, thunderstorms are most readily able to form.

Projected radar reflectivity for Wednesday evening shows the development of a nasty squall line stretching from Oklahoma into Texas. The greatest threat of severe weather then appears to be damaging winds and large hail. The lack of strong helicity in the vicinity of the highest instability tells me that the tornado risk will be rather minimized. Regardless of the biggest threat, it's certainly looking like a severe weather event will unfold on Wednesday.


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