Daytime Kansas and Oklahoma Storm Chase Target and Forecast for Saturday, March 7, 2009

Man, that is some scant moisture out there in KS and OK today.  Dewpoints in KS along and ahead of the dryline and surface low are generally between 52 and 55 F., and in Oklahoma things aren’t a whole lot better with dews in the 55 to 58 range.  So, even with the mid and upper 50 dewpoints advecting northward into KS through the afternoon, mixing will work to cap off the dewpoint rises, and we are probably stuck with the dewpoints we have as of noon for the rest of the day.  Not good.

Also, the cap remains strong as forecasted by the NAM and RUC, although a little weaker than earlier forecasts.  Still, with such meager and shallow low level moisture the cap will remain an issue even with the strong disturbance and colder air aloft moving in.

Then you have the issue of cloudiness and lack of the robust surface heating you’ll need to really get the air rising enough to break the cap.  There are a lot of clouds in the sky, although a nice hole of sunshine is developing across northwest and north-central OK and into extreme south-central and eastern sections of southwest KS near the KS/OK border.  This area of sunshine jumps out at me as a target.

Also, the LCL will be rather high, leading to high based thunderstorms and limiting tornado potential.

So, my target for this afternoon for surface-based convection in the warm sector near the triple point and ahead of the dryline and surface low is as follows:  Wichita, KS to Stafford, KS to  Greensburg, KS to Woodward, OK to Kingfisher, OK to Wichita, KS.  Development possible as early as 3pm CST, but more likely in the post 5pm time frame.  Mode would be supercellualr and LP given the shear and low PW values.

Overall, I’m not too excited about daylight prospects for supercells with a tornado threat today, although if supercells should develop they will display good mid level rotation and we may get a few tornado warnings issued off of radar indications, and there is a very slight chance we could get a “surprise” weak tornado or landspout.  What I would shoot for today is a photogenic high-based LP supercell before or right around sunset, then shift into lightning mode, and consider anything more gravy.  The elevated storms that develop behind the front this evening and any surface-based storms ahead of it this evening should provide some nice cloud-to-ground lightning strikes.


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