Big Tornado Day Possible Today (June 7, 2009) in Kansas

I will be streaming live today at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/ before I go into chase mode. Once I am on a target storm I will be streaming at http://www.chasertv.com/. Live streaming will begin at roughly 3pm and end at 10pm CDT.

Today has the potential to be a big tornado day across central and northeast KS, generally along the I-70 corridor from near or just east of Salina to the Kansas City area.

Like yesterday, the cap will again be stout, but an upper disturbance combined with much better quality and depth of surface moisture will make this cap breakable today before sunset along and north of I-70. There will also be an outflow boundary(s) in that area that will serve to provide a zone of low level helicity that would enhance the chance for tornadoes and even provide a potential environment favorable to breed a wedge tornado. Meanwhile, south of I-70 along the dryline the cap may also break before sunset with a persistent convective signal on some of the models near the Wichita area after 6pm. This storm, if it develops, would likely be fairly high based given the surface temps in the mid 90s and dews in the upper 60s. If it were not for this fact I’d probably hang out around Wichita today, but the lowers LCLs farther north and east should lead to a better environment for significant tornado development up that was as opposed to the south-central KS area. Still, for anyone chasing near Wichita this storm, IF it develops before sunset, could provide gorilla hail and a tornado or landspout cannot be ruled out.

My overall target is bounded by Concordia, KS to Anthony, KS to Winfield, KS to Ottawa, KS to St. Joseph, MO to Hebron, NE to Concordia, KS

My pin-point target for primary storm initiation is the Abilene, KS area around 5pm. I’d expect significant cumulus congestus development as early as 3 or 4pm near or west and southwest of Salina, KS, but any cap break through probably won’t occur until the 5 to 6pm time frame. Once the storm breaks the cap its development will be explosive, and tornado development could occur within an hour of the cell first appearing on radar. The storm will move northeast and then east at between 25 and 30 mph, affecting areas along and north of I-70 through sunset. This supercell would be classic to HP and cyclic with occlusions and the the potential to produce several high-visibility tornadoes, especially during the first three hours of its life.

My pin-point forecast for secondary storm initiation is between Kingman and Anthony, KS at 7pm. Significant cumulus congestus development as early as 5pm between Pratt and Medicine Lodge, KS.
Like the storms farther north, development with this cell will be explosive with hail to the size of baseballs or larger possible within and hour of the first significant echo on radar. Isolated tornado or landspout development would be most likely within the first 90 minutes of the life cycle. This storm, IF it develops, would pose a significant damaging hail and isolated tornado threat to possibly the Wichita area between 8 and 10 pm.

Now, having said all this I must CAUTION that the cap may end up winning, just as it did yesterday. I truly feel the cap can be overcome given the disturbance and better moisture, but the fact remains that it is very strong and if the day goes the other direction and end up being yet another bust, I would not at all be surprised. Ah, the many joys of severe weather forecasting never end.

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