Threat Of Severe Storms On Tuesday


Monday, April 25th 2016, 7:36 pm
By: News On 6


After the rains of last week, we have enjoyed a nice break for the last several days; but that is about to change.  Conditions for Tuesday through the overnight hours still look interesting to say the least with the potential for a significant outbreak of severe weather across the state.

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Notice the map showing the upper level features as of this morning and the position of the system in the Southern Rockies.  As you can see, there are several more systems stacked up to the west of it over the N Pacific which means it will be much more progressive than the daily rainmaker we had early last week.  Bottom line is that there will be abundant energy rotating around the bottom of that system as it moves our way Tue/Tue Night.   In other words, there will be very strong winds aloft moving from the SW over the state while at the surface we will have very strong southerly winds which will keep warm, moist air over us.  So far, this has been a remarkably well forecast system as we have been watching its development and potential impact on our weather since this time last week.

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Problem is that there will also be a layer of very warm, dry air aloft which will provide a capping inversion that will be difficult for individual updrafts to break in order to form storms.  Therein lies the ‘devil in the details’ for severe storm forecasting.  We will have the ingredients in place Tuesday afternoon for severe weather and as you can see once storms form, all modes will be possible including large hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, and some localized street flooding.   But, the exact timing and location is still somewhat uncertain due the strength of that capping inversion and to smaller scale features that cannot be forecast this far in advance.

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For tonight, look for the low level stratus cloud deck to reform which together with the southerly winds overnight will keep us from cooling much.  That may also result in some drizzle or a few sprinkles tonight and into the morning hours of Tuesday.  Those low level clouds should be thinning out as the day wears on for E OK, but the presence of a dry line west of I-35 will provide more sunshine earlier in the day out there and also a better focus for storm initiation.  Therefore, our current data suggests that storms will be forming along or W of I-35 by early to mid-afternoon.  If those storms form as anticipated, then they would be reaching the Tulsa metro area before sunset and continue moving on eastward for the rest of the overnight hours.  Also, depending on the timing and location of initiation, the first storms will likely be more discrete and more likely to be tornadic followed by a more widespread area or line of storms moving eastward with a damaging wind and large hail potential but also with embedded circulation features that could become tornadic.  In other words, it could get a little crazy tomorrow.

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That will be followed by the potential for some redevelopment over the far E or SE counties on Wednesday, but for the most part the main action will be late Tuesday through that night.  As you can see on our forecast page that will be followed by a nice break for Thursday before the next system comes our way over the Fri/Sat time frame.  This one may also produce some severe weather but currently it looks to be more of a flood threat.  As you can see on the 7 day QPF map, the potential will certainly be there for locally very heavy rains from these next two systems.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.  Strongly suggest keeping a very close eye on the weather and being very weather aware for the Tue/Tue night time frame in particular.  In fact, this would be a good time to review tornado procedures for your family.

Dick Faurot