Starting on Thursday, the chances for severe weather across the Central plains will increase, with a decent chance for tornadoes for northeast Colorado, southwest Nebraska and western Kansas. The map, left, depicts the current severe weather probabilities issued by the Storm Prediction Center for Thursday.
Thursday, a shortwave trough will make its way across the desert southwest and should reach the High Plains by Thursday evening. With the gulf moisture recently being scoured out by an upper-level low, there are uncertainties whether low-to-mid-60 dewpoints and quality boundary-layer moisture will return in time for Thursday. Nevertheless, cyclogenesis will take place, and instability will pool along a w/nw - e/se warm front and further south along a dryline in SW KS into western OK/ Texas panhandle region or further east along the strongly-capped warm front. Storms should fire first under the upslope regime in northeast Colorado (extreme southeast Wyoming as well), southwest Nebraska, and possibly northwest Kansas by late afternoon/evening. It's unclear, at the moment, if storms will fire further south along the dryline into SW KS into OK/TX panhandles. Any storm that does initiate on Thursday, will have the potential for very large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.
For Friday, the models are still in disagreement, but the GFS is hinting towards a decent potential for tornadic supercells for Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. TVN is planning on chasing every setup from here on out, so be sure to follow Reed's Facebook Fan Pagefor real-time updatesand our new LIVE streaming network, where we will be streaming the Dominator's intercepts all season! And don't forget to sign-up for our new launch of TVNWeather.com as well!
Also, today marks the two year anniversary of the deadly Yazoo City, Mississippi EF-4 tornado--a day that will forever be remembered from all of us that were there that day. Hopefully, the town has recovered and the residents are healing from that dreadful day. Check out our video, below, from that day.
Saturday and early Sunday proved to be the violent conclusion to several days of nearly unprecedented preparation and predictions, as a massive tornado outbreak swept across northern Oklahoma and Kansas, with parts of Nebraska and Iowa being impacted as well. Among the hardest hit was the town of Woodward, Oklahoma, where over 100 homes and businesses were heavily damaged or destroyed by a (preliminarily-rated) EF-3 tornado that struck just after midnight early Sunday; sadly (and amazingly), this was also the only killer tornado of the outbreak. Damage is still being assessed across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma, but so far several tornadoes have been assigned a strong to violent rating, with at least one rated as EF-4. Below are the current updates from the forecast offices in charge of conducting damage surveys; we'll update again as new information on the current tally of 135 tornadoes becomes available; Reed will of course post updates on his Facebookand Twitterpages as well.:
EF-4 near Kanopolis Lake, EF-3 Conway Springs-- Will Campbell and Dan Castro of the Omaha Twister Chasers live streaming teams got some amazing photos of the EF-4 tornado as it moved near Marquette, KS, pictured at the top of this post. (What a monster!)
As anticipated, storm chasers were out in full-force over the weekend, and several TVN teams captured some pretty compelling video on Saturday (of note, TVN website moderators JCPalmer and DougNKC were chasing and tracked down some tornadoes in Kansas as well!!!). The Dominator teamcovered storms in southern and central Kansas, eventually documenting tornadoes near Hesston, as well as the after-dark tornadoes near Wichita. TwisterData.com's Dave Demko and I started off chasing in south-central Kansas, but when storms re-initiated in northwest Oklahoma in the early evening, we opted to leave the storms near Arlington and Kingman, KS (which eventually produced the tornadoes near Hesston) and dropped south toward the Alva, OK area. We arrived in Cherokee, OK, area just as a large cone was touching down southwest of town, and soon another tornado developed to its east, resulting in two simultaneous tornadoes! We ultimately positioned ourselves for an up-close and personal encounter with the rope-out of the initial tornado, which dissipated roughly 100 yards south of our position, and offered us a "unique" opportunity for documentation! Thunder Entertainment's Curtis McDonald, Matt Chatelain, Daniel Betten and Thomas Spence were on this same storm and documented the rope-out from another wild angle, and eventually tracked it all the way into the Wichita metro. A prolific tornado producer, it put down several wedge tornadoes along the way.
Residents across the entire southern and central Plains region are urged to take time now to prepare and be mindful of severe weather this weekend. The threat begins this afternoon, when tornadoes, destructive hail and damaging thunderstorm winds are possible; the threat will continue through at least Sunday, as a very potent storm system makes its way across the Great Plains. Today's focus will be on the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle region, north into western Kansas. If storms are able to fire, strong directional shear and moderate instability will provide an environment conducive for strong tornadoes this afternoon into the late evening. As the storm system progresses gradually eastward Friday, much of Oklahoma and Kansas will be under the threat of severe weather, along with northwest Missouri into southeast Nebraska and southern Iowa; all modes of severe weather will be possible. The "main event" at this point appears to be Saturday, with the threat shifting very little as compared to the previous day. Forecast models have continued to show the wind fields and instability associated with this storm system coming together to support a widespread tornado outbreak scenario, with supercell thunderstorms a possibility along a warm front that is likely to be oriented across central Iowa and southeast NE, and extending south along a dryline that will stretch from around Grand Island, NE into northern and central Texas. The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted this area as a rare "Day 3 Moderate Risk"; the last issuance of such an outlook was in association with the devastating April 27 outbreak in the southeast United States last year. As always, we encourage everyone to monitor local media for updates, have a NOAA weather radio with fresh batteries, and a plan to find an adequate underground shelter or safe room (highway overpasses DO NOT qualify! Of note, check out this article about shelters along the Kansas turnpike). Reed will be providing updates from the field via Facebook and Twitter, and the live streaming page will of course be very active as well.