09/30/04 FCST: Southern Plains

Looked at 0Z eta.... shear looks supportive of supercells, however, the main problem will be the lackluster moisture profiles. It bears a watching... especially considering I can't recall the last time I saw a thunderstorm let alone one of severe limits. I'll be checking the situation tomorrow and may head out to NW OK.

It would be so sweet to get rid of this frigid air for a few and let some moisture and warmth build back in across the plains. Tomorrow the slight moves further north across eastern OK and into MO. Today the remnant cloud cover across the SW may be a problem for surface heating. We really need a change to allow warm moist gulf air to flow north again. Beginning to wonder if we'll see any sort of fall season at all now -
Cloud cover limiting heating may cancel out the Lubbock area but from Planview to the northern Tx panhandle (read Amarillo bullseye) look like some fun today. I am gassed and loaded. Now just some short term targeting during the next few hours. I am sure being this area that David D. will also be out.
I was watching this system closely for a few days on the models and was impressed how much it improved each run, particulary the wind fields. Four days ago, for example, the GFS wasn't even picking up the wave out west. It had left it sitting as a weak closed low near Baja. Then the last three ETA's have shown approximately 35 knots of 0-3km shear, between 750 and 1000 j/kg of CAPE, and some flux convergence along a surface trough over the caprock. I hoped this was our October severe, but it was a little too dry for a 2300 mile round trip and three day committment.

A friend pointed out that all the hurricanes have pulled cool and dry air from the Upper Midwest into the plains and these backdoor fronts have dried things enough so that the vertical moisture profile, even in the panhandle where surface dewpoints aren't all that bad, is marginal at best. I know the caprock is a little like the front range in that classic values aren't always necessary, but I'm a long way away for a low-percentage chase. I still think storms will fire and they might be some fine-looking LPs. I look forward to the images.

Our October chances may not be finished though. GFS shows another trough approaching the southern plains, with better moisture as well as impressive baroclinicity with this coming front returning north as a warm front. Looked like the 180 hour range, so a little tenuous, but I've got my fingers crossed.