It’s mid-May. The persistent cold, dry air typical of spring so far is long gone from the Plains. A multi-day severe weather outbreak begins Saturday in the Plains states from the Dakotas to northwest Texas, and continues Sunday into Monday.
The setup this weekend has three of the main ingredients that we look for in a potential severe thunderstorm outbreak:
1) A jet stream dip, or trough, advancing east into the Plains from the Rockies.
2) Well-defined frontal system (warm front, dry line, cold front) with an intensifying area of low pressure.
3) Plenty of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.
Below is a look at the threat areas each day:
- Saturday – northwest Oklahoma to South Dakota and southeast North Dakota. Large hail greater than two inches in diameter, damaging winds and tornadoes are all possible. Peak tornado threat: western Kansas, southwest Nebraska, northwest Oklahoma. Threat begins late afternoon and continues into the evening.
- Sunday – extreme north Texas into central/eastern Oklahoma, central/eastern Kansas, western Missouri, eastern Nebraska, western/central Iowa, southeast South Dakota and central/southern Minnesota. Tornadoes, large hailstones greater than two inches in diameter and damaging winds are all possible. Peak tornado threat: eastern Kansas, north-central and northeast Oklahoma, north & western Missouri, western/central Iowa. A few tornadoes could be strong!
- Monday – north Texas and Oklahoma northeastward through northwest Arkansas, southeast Kansas and Missouri into parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes.
- Tuesday into Wednesday – Additional severe thunderstorms are possible as the system advances slowly to the East. Details at this time are uncertain.