High Plains Tours Storm Chase Day #4: Marginal Risk 5/12/22

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 a Marginal Risk for the High Plains today. The Moderate Risk in Wisconsin is out of play.

Associated with the Marginal Risk is no organized tornado threat.

To summarize the SPC:  Our chaseable region barely gets a mention today, but they do mention a frontal boundary and the dryline will intersect, probably in west-central Kansas. The triple point is much farther north in South Dakota, hence the Moderate Risk.

The visible satellite imagery shows some morning convection over the Texas Panhandle.

The surface observations show weak, southeasterly breezes, advecting a little moisture into West Texas, though the low-level flow is quite variable in the threat area. The skies are clear and sunny over the threat area, with a few clouds further east.

The dryline (black line) is sharp and seems to run colinear with the warm front. Notice the wind shift as well on either side of the dryline. I didn’t highlight the front.

The surface pressure chart shows a lee-side low over central Colorado, with a slight pressure gradient from southeast to northwest into it. The RAP shows the low expanding and moving northeast.

The 12Z sounding from Dodge City, KS, shows over 1300 J/kg of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) but a strong capping inversion. The Lifted Condensation Level (LCL) is much more reasonable (~500 m), and the low-level shear is great (35 kts), though the deep-layer shear is lacking (17 kts).

The 500 mb NAM chart shows a tiny vorticity maxima in western Kansas.

The Nested NAM simulated reflectivity shows morning convection from the Texas Panhandle through western Kansas. However, after that passes, a few isolated cells fire in western Kansas, and perhaps one south of Amarillo.

High temperatures will rise into the upper 90s F in western Kansas and along the Panhandles.

The Nested NAM shows a tight dryline running through the High Plains. In Kansas, the wet side is only in the 50s F, but the dry side is in the 10s F.

The Nested NAM CAPE/CINH plot is showing CAPE is meager, only reaching into the 2000 J/kg range ahead of the dryline. It’s enough, but lower than the last few days.

The helicity is tolerable, with a local maxima near Liberal, KS.

The Nested NAM shows that the supercell parameter has a local maxima just outside of Liberal, KS.

The Nested NAM shows that the SigTor parameter will remain low throughout the event. I didn’t even include the chart.

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

1.  Liberal, KS
2.  Meade, KS
3.  Garden City, KS

Today is not the best setup at all. I am intrigued by the vorticity maxima and the sharper dryline/frontal boundary. However, the capping inversion is really strong and may not break. The CAPE is very modest, and so it will take a lot to break that cap.

Even so: LCLs are better, boundaries are sharper, and the rest is mediocre. With most of the focus on the Moderate Risk in WI, we will be the some of the few chasers in this area, and it may be a little underforecasted, which is why I am intrigued as well by the Nested NAM’s simulated radar.

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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