Current Set-up: Friday, 4/21

I’ll put a new post up so you won’t have to scroll down through dozens of comments…a large risk area today, including Kevin’s home country.  Any observations, put ’em up!   -Dave

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34 responses to “Current Set-up: Friday, 4/21

  1. Just got off the phone with my mother, who lives in the NE corner of Arkansas and called me about the storm potential. Storms are starting to fire in NE Tx/NW La/SW Ark, where winds are backed quite a bit. Growing up, when storms started going in the “Arklatex” region, it was cause for concern because they often move NE right up I-30 through Little Rock to my part of the state — many deadly outbreaks have followed that corridor from SW to NE across the state. So I’ll be paying close attention today for personal reasons even beyond the chase. In the meantime, after looking at some parameters, including minimal CAPE and -250 CIN over NE Arkansas, I told my mother she had a few hours to get out and do some things before severe weather could become a problem … but to keep an eye on the skies.

  2. hokiestormchaser

    …further north toward KS/NE/MO/IA…while in the overall SPC outlook, will have to fight ongoing clouds/rain/storms in order to destabilize this afternoon for any svr wx threat. -Dave

  3. Had we been in the field, we may have faced a choice today, each with its challenges. The storm potential over TX/LA/AR is higher, but much of it is not very good chase terrain with trees and hills, until you get east of Little Rock. That can become VERY dangerous in a situation with violent tornadoes, that could literally be within a few hundred yards without being seen! The region to the north will have strong dynamics but instability is a question mark. The chase terrain is infinitely better, though, than western Arkansas. So this could have been a hard choice. I would still prefer the northern area, because I think there will be a few tornadoes in storms that develop behind the rain shield (rain in the morning can bump dew points and provide surface boundaries for spin, if there is afternoon destabilization) and it would be a much more chaseable situation overall.

  4. hokiestormchaser

    …if we had been in eastern CO/western KS yesterday, the northern area would be our only play. If we had been in the Panhandle yesterday…with some late-night driving AR east of Little Rock could be in play. It will be interesting to see just how much destabilization occurs further north today. -Dave

  5. i agree with both of you on all fronts. could really be interesting, and like you said if we were out there depending on where we ended up late last night would determine where we went today! the tornado watch has been up for a while now with storms initiating in southern AR with the first severe thunderstorm warning just went up.

    kevin, i hope things don’t get too bad in NE arkansas where your mom lives

  6. hokiestormchaser

    …an MD was issued for NE…strongly-backed winds there all morning. SPC thinks sufficient destabilization could occur there for supercells/tornadoes. May be seeing a watch up there this afternoon. -Dave

  7. vis satellite shows clearing in KS…maybe that will help juice it up a bit. eastern KS may be a sleeper area?

  8. hokiestormchaser

    …watching the vis sat would be crucial today…looking for Cu’s to develop… -Dave

  9. Central Nebraska now has a tornado watch … and my mother is on the northern edge of the new tornado watch in central/eastern Arkansas.

    Maybe we’d be headed to Bosselman’s Travel Center at Grand Island to wait for stuff in NE to fire.

  10. hokiestormchaser

    Yup. Bosselman’s. Should’ve parked my rear-end there last June instead of changing my mind on the fly…should have taken a nap there and leisurely driven (or walked) to the Aurora tornado. That one still hurts. -Dave

  11. i take a 45 min nap and all these watches go up? i know, know…there’s NO NAPPING in storm chasing right? 😛

    anywayyy…i see the watch in NE! one storm up there already has a little couplet, but has no warnings as of yet

    the winds are substantially backed (like you said dave) once the storms move further into SE NE/NE KS they will encounter higher CAPE and shear values…wondering if they will in fact blow up

  12. well, guess i should check storm motion before i open my big mouth…the storms in NE are moving the the north and west…..oops haha

  13. Kathryn: An afternoon wait for storms to fire is actually a good time to get a short nap. It may be more sleep than you’ll get at night if we’re in an active pattern with daily travel to target areas, plus being amped about the chases themselves.

    Keep an eye on the severe-warned storms to the west and southwest of Little Rock. There is an apparent local orographic effect in that region of Arkansas where the flat lands meet the Ozark/Ouachita plateau … storms capture a little moisture convergence and/or low-level spin there and can become tornadic rapidly. They keep following just east of the uplands all the way to southeast Missouri. Seen it happen too many times not to believe it!

    Some of the Nebraska stuff could end up over the Sand Hills, which are mostly treeless but definitely not flat. Never ever ever let anyone tell you Nebraska is table-top flat from border to border — far from it.

  14. really?! nebraska far from flat? you just destroyed my entire outlook on life kevin haha

    been watching those storms to the SW of little rock. as a geographer, i am VERY intrigued over what you said about the orographic influence from the ozarks. makes perfect sense if the uplift generates extra condensation and moisture it could amp up the storms

  15. hokiestormchaser

    …spectacular shot of clouds wrapping the low…check out a vis sat… -Dave

  16. wow, that is awesome!

    is it just me or does the wind field seem a bit un-organzed in AR?

  17. One cell west of Little Rock is now tornado warned — but it’s in a cluster, kind of a messy situation rather anything discrete. It will also soon be crossing the Arkansas River Valley/I-40 corridor, which tornado historic researcher Tom Grazulis identified as a tornado maximum area. Also a tornado warning near Greenville, Mississippi – if you’re going to catch a storm in Mississippi that’s the place to tag it, on the flat cleared agri terrain near the river.

    The storm just west of Burwell looks to be the best in Nebraska right now.

  18. Here’s a little bugaboo from the SPC’s mesoscale discussion on Neb/Kan:

    SPECIAL 20Z OBSERVED RAOBS FROM OMAHA/TOPEKA IMPLY A CAP AROUND 700-750 MB MAY BE INHIBITING TSTM DEVELOPMENT IN AN OTHERWISE INCREASINGLY MOIST/UNSTABLE BOUNDARY LAYER

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0352.html

  19. On radar (5:35 p.m.), one piece of the Arkansas cluster has become a small bowing segment near Batesville (I lived there 1997-99) in Northeast Arkansas. Could be some high winds with that, and also may be right turning a bit. Worth keeping an eye on the south flank of that for a possible spinup. That area has stiff SE winds and temperatures near 80 degrees, so instability may be greater.

  20. oh man! i had my eye on the border region of NE and KS…oh well.

    i should clarify that earlier when i mentioned the wind field looked disorganized in AR, i meant disorganized for discrete cells.

    so far not many tornadoes, but according the SPC the threat looks to increase later with the inception of a strong jet

  21. You’re right, Kathryn, it has definitely been a disorganized mess in Arkansas. But the last few radar scans show the right-turning bow-segment (headed right for my mother now — just called her!) and cells becoming a bit more discrete farther south in east-central Arkansas. All of this is in fair to good chase country — open flat terrain with scattered trees. NE Arkansas cooked more today than the rest of the state, and we may be seeing some results of that.

  22. That cell is freshly tornado warned (7:15 p.m.) just northwest of Jonesboro where my mom lives.

  23. i’m watching that cell now on GR3…glad to hear you called your mom to warn her!

    yea northeast AR had less clouds above for sure.

    storms initiating in TX and already increasing in severity as they enter some decent CAPE (3000-3500)…2 tornado warned cells already!

  24. Based on last couple of scans … I think it is going to scrape by to her north by the narrowest of margins.

    If my mother is safe, my other instinct kicks in: MAN, this would have been an easily chased storm if I was making a visit home right now!

  25. Spotter report of a tornado touching down only about 20 miles west of my mom. Wow.

  26. Been watching it go over on some local skycams … nothing definitively tornadic on the images but lots of dark clouds. Confirmed 67 mph wind gust near apex of the bow. Reports of wind damage and power outages very near where the tornado is reported to have touched down … possibly related. It did indeed scrape by just to the north of my mother. Gonna call her soon.

  27. decent looking cell approaching lewisville, ar…winds becoming more organized there now too. there a couple of storms in this general area, in the highest cape and LI’s–that are tornado warned

  28. Now we’re left with a string of storms, some tornado-warned, from SW Arkansas through eastern TX, crossing pine-forested hilly terrain after dark. The NE Arkansas storm would have been our best bet for a significant catch today … possibly even a tornado if we had located on the south end of the bow once it made its right turn. But NE/KS, where I said this morning I would have gone, was a TOTAL BUST, capped. I hope collectively we would have have better judgment today than I did … even though the day’s best storm passed within 10 miles of my childhood home!

  29. kevin, this morning i picked the NE/KS area too! i e-mailed dave immediately with my pic this morning haha….so you’re not alone!!

  30. hokiestormchaser

    …back from baseball…the Blacksburg Cubs take it 12 to 1 over the Radford Orioles. If only the major league Cubbies could do so well. I have been totally out of the loop today with work & baseball. Just pulled up Gr3 and it looks like a congealed mess in the Miss. Valley! Was there anything discrete/significant earlier? -Dave

  31. Just the right-turning bow segment that broke away from the cluster in NE Arkansas and likely spawned a tornado west of Jonesboro. And some supercells in the East Texas pine thicket.

  32. dave, kevin and i noticed the wind field was fairly disorganized in ar today keeping the chance of discrete cells to a min. they seem more discrete now (such as the storms in TX) than they have been all day!

  33. hokiestormchaser

    …early initiation and lots of cloud cover may have held down instability over some areas…the LLJ may increase overnight in response to the low pulling eastbound… -Dave

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