Active Pattern - Oklahoma Skies

April 16, 2016 11:41AM

It's been a long moment since I have done a blog, but welcome back to my(any that are left) faithful followers! I sort of took a hiatus last summer through winter but I feel my creative processes flowing again and I'm ready for my next adventure. I think I'm going to start actively blogging again but time is not always on my side so just throwing that out there. I work a graveyard shift and by the time I get home and get done with 'adulting' I'm just tired out and any motivation I had to start the day has long left me. But I digress. It's another spring season for the southern plains, and it definitely got an early start. I feel like we ultimately skipped any meaningful winter this year but I'm actually okay with that. I feel like the older I get, the less I can handle cold unless of course it comes with the white stuff. I will always have a special place in my heart for snow. I never tire of it. 

Just like my passion for extreme weather and storm chasing, I never tire. I've been on a few chases already with my most recent this past weekend down in rural southwest/southern Oklahoma. I saw a beautiful supercell near Walters, OK which I will be posting pictures of very soon(I'll provide the link when it's available). I also managed to stay out of hail and not become stranded in the middle of nowhere so I'll call it a success. Solo chasing is not easy! 

Bringing the focus back to current events, we have a very large cut off system meandering across the western conus and that is what has/is bringing the severe storms and eventual heavy rains/flooding to the area. Beautiful tornadoes were captured in Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandle yesterday evening. Unfortunately I had to sit the chase out since there was no way in my mind I could manage a chase clear out there after working so early in the morning and being mentally and physically exhausted. Congrats to the dedicated chasers who saw things though! The risk for severe weather will continue today just a little farther east from yesterday but still in the same relative area of the eastern TX/OK Panhandles, extreme western and southwestern OK, and west Texas. A dryline will re-sharpen roughly near the I-27 corridor in the Texas Panhandle and we should get enough destabilization to fire another round of storms this afternoon and evening. 

If I were chasing today(which most likely I'll be sitting today out too), I would place myself somewhere within the red highlighted area. The environment today is not 'quite as' impressive as yesterday with the flow becoming increasingly meridional and more cloud cover further inhibiting stronger surface heating and thus lesser instability. HOWEVER, there should be a narrow corridor immediately ahead of the dryline in the eastern TX Panhandle and vicinity where sufficient amount of SBCAPE should develop and storms that form here would likely be able to produce severe hail and perhaps a tornado or two with the nocturnal increase of the low level jet this evening. Much like yesterday. Storms will grow upscale and shift eastward into western Oklahoma later tonight with the severe threat waning and the threat for heavy rains and eventual flooding increasing. 

The 5 day rainfall forecast from the HPC is very impressive for this time of year. Unseasonably high precipital water values and given favorable parallel flow to the frontal boundary will promote repeated rounds of showers and thunderstorms and training of these storms over the same areas for the next several days. The upper level low will not budge much and models forecast it to slowly unravel through the middle part of next week. This means rain chances will stay in the forecast for the foreseeable future. Someone is going to end up with well over 6"+ of rain by the time this is all said and done. It's not all bad news though. We really could use the rain out here as it has been a very dry and windy spring. 

Long range models show another trough impacting the area by next weekend and severe weather would be a possibility with this system. It's still too far out to get too specific but it definitely appears that storm season has reared its head and we are about to get into the meat of our season. Chasers rejoice! I'll keep you guys posted in the coming days. In the meantime be on the lookout for those photos from last weekend! If you don't already you can keep up with me on my facebook and twitter pages. Just search 'Oklahoma Skies'. 

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