Enhanced Risk: 5/1/22

For the next six weeks, my attention is fully dedicated to severe weather and storm chasing.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued an Enhanced Risk for parts of the Southern Plains today.

Associated with the Moderate Risk is a 5% tornado threat ring.

To summarize the SPC:  Gulf moisture will advect northeast into the Texas Panhandle and west Texas ahead of a mid-level trough. Orthographic lift will lead to scattered thunderstorm development as this moisture seeps into the area. Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) is expected to climb to nearly 2000 J/kg. The approaching trough combined with the surface winds will boost deep-layer shear values into the 40-50 kt range, supporting supercells and large hail. The tornado threat will be strongest in the evening and over west Texas, just before cells congeal into several Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS).

Currently, the 12 Z Amarillo, TX, sounding is nothing special. No CAPE, and a Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) of 1909 m. However, it does show the shear, with 24 kts of low-level shear and 41 kts of deep-layer shear.

The 12Z Midland/Odessa, TX, sounding shows similar shear values, and officially no surface-based CAPE, but you can see in the traces that there is some elevated CAPE (the space between the red line and the maroon line).

The visible satellite imagery shows light clouds over the threat area. The most important feature in this image is the linear nature of the clouds- they look like little snakes. This indicates that there is some shear aloft.

The surface observations show winds advecting moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northeast into Texas and western New Mexico, as shown by the southeasterly winds. The skies are cloudy all over Texas (according to the sensors).

I modified the surface observations chart to show the dryline, which runs west to east.

The surface pressure chart shows no strong pressure systems or gradients. However, the RAP shows a deepening lee-side low pressure system developing over northeastern New Mexico, strengthening the gradient from southeast to northwest over the next six hours.

The Nested NAM simulated reflectivity is showing a few initial cells popping in the Texas Panhandle.

A few hours later, there is a few cells that fire farther west over New Mexico.

High temperatures will rise into the lower 80s F.

The Nested NAM shows a strong dryline developing much later in the day.

The Nested NAM CAPE/CINH plot is showing CAPE is peaking at around 2300 J/kg in eastern New Mexico this afternoon.

The Nested NAM shows that the supercell parameter will be highest in eastern New Mexico later this evening.

The Nested NAM shows that the SigTor parameter remains low. This chart has been excluded from today’s post.

If I were targeting and chasing today, I would target somewhere in eastern New Mexico.

1.  Logan, NM
2.  Nara Vista, NM
3.  San Jon, NM

It’s really tempting to chase today’s threat, but I will probably stay put.

Meteorologically speaking, the moisture arrives much later in the day than I’d like to see for a good tornado threat in New Mexico. I think storms will fire late in the evening and remain high based- it looks like a great day for large hail. The low-level shear will support tornadoes, but I don’t think the LCLs will.

I hate basing my storm chase decisions on non-meteorological factors, but I have a lot to get done today. I think if this setup had occurred in the middle of June after an inactive season, I’d jump on it. However, at the beginning of the season, it looks like a low-risk, low-reward setup.

Storm Prediction Center
College of Dupage – SATRAD


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.
This entry was posted in Possible Chase Opportunity, Practicing Concepts, Predictions, Satellite Imagery, Severe Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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