05/28/05 FCST: Central Plains

Dan Robinson

I hate to be the one to start this thread, but there appears to be at least a marginal setup for Saturday in Kansas. SPC concurs with a slight risk over all of Kansas, western OK and the northern Texas panhandle. Of course, this is the day of the Wakita event - so it appears that chasers will be torn between trying for another long-shot chase or attending the picnic, which in some respects seems more worthwhile than chasing a setup like Saturday's.

At best, it looks like this day could result in storms affecting Wakita itself later that evening or night, so chasers could compromise by doing the picnic, then shooting some lightning when the storms arrive later.
As few and far between as the options have been and look to continue to be I would hope a chaser in the region would opt to chase this one. Nice nw flow over a boundary in this region has yielded some fun in the past(May 27, 2001 Derecho for one). Maybe not dealing with the same low level flow or instability being shown yet. It is KS, it is May, there is flow aloft and a boundary at the sfc, I guess that just makes me eager to chase it in such a lean year like this. At the same time the party is a sure bet and probably some fun. I guess the more that attend the party the more I feel like something will happen to make them regret it. Though I don't think this fits into reality when one looks at the past. Seems like the regrets have been in not going to the parties. A few things seems certain with this setup. Moisture shouldn't be plentiful and low level winds should end up being weak. So it has a couple big negatives against it that seem like they won't be changing. Will probably end up being a tough call for some. I for one will likely have my chasing hat on Saturday. Salina KS for an early target. Upslope flow does not excite me when it is due east and there are nw winds above it. Hopefully something can get going in nc KS and drop south into whatever sfc winds we are given(southerly would be nice).

Disclaimer: I do not think this is a dream setup.
I will be traveling to OK tomorrow, with the intention of being in Wakita Saturday. Since I have to be nw MO on Sunday, I was planning on leaving Wakita Saturday evening and getting as far as Emporia, KS before driving the rest of the way Sunday morning. IF a chaseable setup develops in KS Saturday afternoon, I will leave earlier to chase. Does anybody know if there is wifi in Wakita? May need to stay close to some of the Wx worx folks.
Hilarious that this would happen on the Wakita day. Should be interesting. I'm going to keep it on the radar as a chaser who has been on the sidelines since the 19th, but at the moment I plan to attend the party. My reasons are that I think the pattern is about to change, and this to me looks like the last hurrah of the old regime. That said, things can certainly change for the better in May and often do.

Weak, weak low level wind fields beneath northwest flow aloft and over-aggressive ETA moisture return given lack of fetch. ETA moisture performance this season has been abyssmal--the worst I've ever seen. But even crazy-ETA shows poor moisture depth anywhere north of the Red River.

Oklahoma actually has 15 knots at 850 out of the south at 0z; nearer the front there's little or nothing. Northern Oklahoma has some directional shear, but above weak surface flow and too far from the lift, which is a swiftly moving cold front progged to stall around the Red River by Sunday.

I'll be in Wakita barring a significant improvement in low level wind fields for this setup.
Something tells me to leave this one alone. It looks to be a hail/high winds producer at best. Instability factors arent looking that great either (speaking for my neck of the woods Eastern KS/Western MO). Maybe something drastic will happen in the next few days with the forecast, but I seriously doubt it. The only positive factor I see with this setup is an opportunity to get some lightning photos, but that's about it.
I'm not quite sure why everyone's hating on Saturday so much. I agree that the moisture could be a limiting factor, but I also agree with Mike H., seeing decent shear over a boundary in Kansas in May. In my opinion, this setup doesn't look much more or less marginal than any other we've all been driving hundreds of miles to chase in the post May 12 environment. Not saying I'll be out there, but I'm also not saying I'm shrugging it off just yet.
I have just glanced at the 12z NAM for tomorrow in C KS/NC KS/S NE (i'll take a better look when I get home). I would not discount C KS for tomorrow afternoon-- especially if moisture return is near what the NAM is forecasting ..(yeah yeah I know) which is around 60-62 by early afternoon. T/TD spreads will be high, however forecast shear is more than supportive of elevated supercells, forecast low-level shear is also much stronger (30-35 kts at 850) than previous runs. If moisture can verify, 1000-1500 J/KG SBCAPE and fairly directional shear profiles make this a go, if for nothing more than some elevated sups. Cap may be an issue, SPC mentions this as well. NAM has been consistent in precip development though near 00z C KS near 00z last several runs, we will see.

All in all.. my confidence in going out tomorrow (with decent moisture return) is growing.
It looks like I've changed my mind about today's setup. The way things are looking now, it may be a somewhat favorable day for chasing. It appears that moisture return wont be a problem, and several disturbances are forecast to move through Kansas and Nebraska later this afternoon, which would provide a chance for some hail and wind events over Southern NE and Northern KS. It doesnt appear that the tornado threat will be that high, but SPC still thinks a few isolated tornadic events may occur. They have a 25% hatched area over KS/NE for hail. The cap shouldnt be much of a factor today because of the mid-level dynamics that will be setting up. I may head out to Concordia later in the afternoon depending on what happens with this.
Chase target for today, May 28

40 mi NW of Garden City, KS

Storm initiation 5 PM CDT

A disturbance embedded in NWRLY upper flow coupled with SERLY upslope surface flow will provide the focus for strong to severe storms by late afternoon. 12Z SFC analysis shows a slot of mid-50's dewpoints in SWRN KS. 00Z (12 hr FCST) NAM have initialized a few degrees too high, while the GFS initialized well with surface dewpoints, while both models initialized well on temperatures. Both models agree to initialize convection in SERN CO and SWRN KS by 22Z. 30 kt deep layer shear, along with 0-3km SRH's of around 150m^2/s^2 and marginal MLCAPEs of around 1000J/kG will support good storm organization with supercells and a small tornado threat.

- bill
Didn’t this thread start as “TALK†as evidenced by the first 7 post? Anyway I guess it is now “FCSTâ€, or maybe I’m just senile. Here we go; A surface low develops invof the tri-state area of CO, KS, and NE. Best area of surface convergence is ene of this low, in south central / sw NE. Surface temp should be in the upper 80’s with Td’s upper 50’s. ML cape should be around 1500 and MU could exceed 2000. 18z surface CIN of -50 to -100 should erode by 21z and allow surface base convection to develop. With surface winds out of the south and upper lvl from the nw there should be enough rotation to allow the development of a few high based sups with wind and hail main threat. If I were still at home I would target the Holdrege, NE area. But BBQ in Wakita is sounding better today.

EDIT: sat observation shows a nw to se boundary through this area.