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2013-03-09 FCST: NE/KS/OK/TX

I'm only looking at the OK play today since I don't find the risk-reward balance great enough to make the drive to northern KS or far southern NE today.

The 12z NAM does hold back the dryline back to nearly US 183 (nearly from Snyder, OK, to E of Clinton to near Alva) at 0z. Current vis satellite indicates that solar heating should occur in at least southcentral OK (there’s currently quite a bit of insolation in western north Texas), and nearby morning soundings all show decent, deep moisture in the lower troposphere. There is a minor inversion or isothermal layer on MAF, DFW, and OUN soundings, but those locations are on the warm side of the mid- and upper-tropospheric jet. AMA’s sounding has a well-mixed, dry adiabatic layer between 800 mb and 550 mb.

Last night’s high-res WRF runs both forecast widespread convection in central Oklahoma now, which obviously isn’t occurring. As a result of the forecast precip that isn’t actually occurring, the rest of the forecast from those two runs seems less-than-useful. If we can get temperatures into the upper 60s and keep the upper 50 dewpoints, I think we could see surface-based convection in Oklahoma. Considering the vertical shear profiles, supercells seem possible, and the amount of low-level shear may support a tornado threat. The hodographs are not particularly nice (e.g., there remains some S shape provided by a minor veer-back-veer vertical profile) , but they seem “sufficient” for supercells given the proximity of the environment to Norman. The 13z RAP and 12z NAM both show potential for some clearing W of I35 by late afternoon, and the 13z RAP has a dryline bulge pointing towards SDS, putting south-central OK in a favorable position from a mesoscale pattern recognition standpoint. How much junky precipitation will be around by mid-afternoon (models suggest a non-trivial amount), however? The models continue to suggest that the answer is "quite a bit", which would really put a lid on the convective potential given the stabilizing influences these (clouds and precip) would bring.
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Its looking like the pacific cold front might catch the dryline before it gets into the sweet spot for today. My biggest worry right now is the veering 850s plus backing with height might end up ruining this setup before it gets out of the gates. There's at least some good clearing going on from about Abilene to Lawton which hopefully will make those MLCAPE values the RAP was spitting out last night (1500+ j/kg), get realized here before the first round fires mid-late afternoon. Those showers out west along the dryline/front don't look like they'll cover enough to significantly hamper the thermodynamic environment heading into the afternoon thankfully.