Today marks the first chase day of the year with a chance of tornadoes in the southern plains.
As with most early season severe weather patterns they can tend to be pretty disorganized / messy. Lets take a look at what we are dealing with today. I will be discussing mainly the Oklahoma and Texas regions.
SPC current day 1 outlook graphic.
Since the over all pattern is not very organized there are several elements that complicates the forecast. 1. Extensive cloud cover over the region inhibiting a more substantial severe threat. 2. Lack of appreciable surface convergence along the DL and late arrival of main push. 3. Narrow instability axis. The dryline will set up from Central Texas into Western Oklahoma, surface dew points ahead of the DL will vary from lower to mid 60's and a strong 50kt low level jet ahead of the DL. The amount of instability is questionable due to cloud cover and misty conditions.
Morning Sounding from KFWD ( Fort Worth ) shows pretty impressive low level shear and SW flow already set in place at 500mb. Providing the turning with height needed for storm rotation. Instability is weak in this sounding and the sun will need to come out for the instability to rise for higher severe thunderstorm potential. Wind fields will strengthen throughout the day as a surface low over eastern Nebraska deepens and the powerful wave moves closer to the region.
This mornings model guidance is consistent with not developing storms on the dry line until well after dark. There has been decent consistency with storms developing in the open warm sector along the western fringe of the strong LLJ axis and eastern edge of the instability axis. The likely hood of this happening is high. This should take place between Highways 281 and I35 from just south of I20 north into Southern Oklahoma. These storms would need to tap into the boundary layer in order to have a more substantial severe weather and tornado threat. But again, this is conditional of the availability of cloud breaks for the needed surface heating. If the sun can come out and get the CAPE up and storms stay isolated there is plenty of shear for them to spin and the tornado potential will increase greatly for an isolated tornado or 2.
Here is the HRRR simulated radar model output for 0z ( 6pm) later today. I believe these storm will fire close to the I20 corridor between 3pm and 5pm.
Below is my target area as of right now. I plan on heading out this area up 281 and analyze trends and make adjustments as necessary. Right on the western fringe of the strongest LLJ max and eastern edge of greater instability, of course if the instability can get up there.
So with all that said, lets get out hands dirty and enjoy some time on the road! Not expecting much but sometimes mother nature can throw surprises!