High Plains Tours Storm Chase Day #2: Slight Risk 5/10/22

For the next six weeks, my attention is fully dedicated to severe weather and storm chasing. I am currently chasing storms with High Plains Tours.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued an Slight Risk for the West Texas today.

Associated with the Slight Risk is a 2% tornado threat ring. While there is a higher risk over Wisconsin, it is out of play for us.

To summarize the SPC:  Moisture will surge to the west as the dryline retreats due to anticyclonic flow over the Mississippi River Valley. With temperatures expected to reach the 90s F under a humid air mass, some of the models are showing signs of convection this afternoon. This, combined with an upper-level disturbance moving northeast from Mexico will add some shear to the mix. Large hail and damaging winds are the primary threats.

The visible satellite imagery shows mostly sunny skies, with a few, light clouds to the east.

The surface observations show southeasterly breezes, advecting moisture into West Texas. There is a sharp dryline, particularly near Lubbock.

The dryline is very sharp (black line). Look at the dramatic change near Lubbock, where the dewpoint ranges from 19 F to 61 F in just a short distance. The warm front (red) is a little more subtle. The winds aren’t changing direction very much, but there is a boundary between stations with clouds and those without that marks the warm front.

The surface pressure chart shows a broad, thermal low over West Texas and eastern New Mexico. The high pressure system is just east of the Mississippi. It’s a broad feature as well, but the wind barbs show that humid air is being advected inland.

The 12Z sounding out of Del Rio, TX, shows bundles of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), already reaching 3669 J/kg. However, the same sounding shows a strong capping inversion that will need to be broken for storms to fire. While the low-level shear is ample (26 kts), the deep-layer shear is weak (19 kts).

The Nested NAM simulated reflectivity shows thunderstorms firing around 19 Z, with the first discrete cell rolling by 20 Z. The storms will quickly go linear, according to the NAM, stretching up past Lubbock.

High temperatures will rise into the upper 90s F, nearing 100 F farther north and east. In the target area it will not get quite that warm.

The Nested NAM shows a plume of deep moisture, pushing the dryline north and west. The dryline is particularly sharp near the east-west NM/TX border.

The Nested NAM CAPE/CINH plot is showing CAPE is peaking at around 5700 J/kg in West Texas at initiation time.

The helicity is tolerable, just north of Big Bend, and then near the corner with New Mexico.

The Nested NAM shows that the supercell parameter peaks later in the day (0 Z) just southwest of Odessa.

The Nested NAM shows that the SigTor parameter will remain low throughout the event.

I think we are going to Odessa and will regroup there. I am thinking our target are will be the triangle between:

1.  Odessa, TX
2.  Kermit, TX
3.  Monahans, TX

Today’s game is going to be finding where the cap breaks. There is a bunch of CAPE, and plenty of moisture. We are lacking shear and we have a strong capping inversion. I am choosing the target location based on the CAPE, where I think the dryline will be, where will take advantage of the most diurnal heating, and, according to the 500 mb plot (not posted), a small vorticity maxima that may pass through the region near sunset.

Sources:
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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