6/21/20: Storm Chase Predictions

We are starting the day in Tucumcari, NM, and headed northeast.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued an Enhanced Risk for southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma.

Associated with the Enhanced Risk in Oklahoma/Kansas was a 5% Tornado Threat ring.

The SPC description mentions the possible need to upgrade to a Moderate Risk later today, based on the forecast being “underdone” this morning.  They are saying damaging winds and large hail will be the primary threats, but a few tornadoes are possible.  They also mention the storms staring as supercells and multicell clusters, rapidly becoming severe, and then congealing into a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) by this evening.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Amarillo, TX, shows 2586 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) this morning, with -298 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH).  There is a large capping inversion and the CAPE is quite elevated so far this morning.  The shear is 32 kts of low-level (0-1 km) and 35 kts of deep-layer (0-6 km), which is higher than I expected.  Even so, it looks strongly capped.

The 12Z upper air sounding from Dodge City, KS, shows 1468 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) this morning, with -338 J/kg of Convective Inhibition (CINH).  There is a smaller capping inversion and the CAPE is a little lower to the ground than it was in Amarillo.  The shear is 21 kts of low-level (0-1 km) and 30 kts of deep-layer (0-6 km).

The visible satellite imagery shows an ongoing MCS over most of Oklahoma.  Skies are clear in its wake, and we may be able to play an outflow boundary from the MCS, though none are visible yet.

Part of today’s forecast is going to be placing the dryline and watching its movement.  Looking at the current surface observations, it is running through eastern Colorado and New Mexico, as shown by the yellow line on the chart below.

The HRRR simulated reflectivity is showing a few cells popping in southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, congealing and moving southeasterly.

The HRRR is showing the dryline sharpening in this region as well.

The HRRR CAPE/CINH/Shear chart is showing a good combination of these ingredients across the northern TX Panhandle and OK Panhandle.

The HRRR Supercell Composite shows a peak around 21 Z through both the TX and OK Panhandles.

The HRRR SIGnificant TORnadoes parameter is dismal, and I have excluded it today.

The Nested NAM is largely in agreement.

I don’t have a lot of time for full analysis this morning, we still need to get northeast.  I will be watching mostly the surface observations, looking for that dryline.

We are currently targeting the region between Canadian, TX; Perryton, TX; Buffalo, OK, and  Arnett, OK, as shown in the Google Map image below:

With cells becoming severe quickly and congealing, the trick is going to be to get close to the dryline and grab a cell near the southern end of any line that forms, the “Tail-End Charlie” as they say.  The southeastern motion of the storms will actually bring us a little farther west, but I want to stay out of the heavily-capped air that we see over Amarillo.

Thank you for reading my post.

Storm Prediction Center
College of DuPage
Google Maps

About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
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