5/10/05 TALK: So. High Plains

Billy Griffin

I wanted to start just a "talk" for the southern High Plains... TX/OK panhandles into western Oklahoma. Looks like we have an interesting setup unfolding rather quickly for some dryline action in the TX & OK panhandles ~ perhaps into far western Oklahoma. SPC has now put this area in their slight, and even the "T" word is mentioned. CAPE values ~ 4000! :shock: Winds are not the greatest, but the extreme instability can sure make for some interesting play, especially if those storms could propogate off of the dryline and on east into western OK where the moisture is more than sufficient to maintain those cells!!

And hey, who can complain with, FINALLY, this true gulf moisture. My vehicle sensor said this morning: 67 degree dewpoints !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :wink: OK mesonet is indicating high 60s dewpoints throughout central OK and mid 60s as far west as the state line. Gotta love that!

Could this be a last-minute "sneak" chase day? Perhaps I could sneak out of here around 3 and book it on west towards Shamrock/Wheeler.

Any thoughts?
Here we go again......the system of the phamtom moisture holes continues.....

The 12hr RUC moves a mositure hole about as big as Tejas into the Panhandles and the western half of Oklahoma by 00Z - with Tds ranging from 20oF to 55oF just east of OUN.

Currently, in REAL-LIFE, dewpoints in the western tier of counties in Oklahoma are in the 66oF - 56oF range from south-north.

It will be interesting to just *see* how this prog of the RUC does come 4pm or so. I have no clue what it's doing - perhaps progging subsidence or mixing??


One thng's for sure - if there's a risk of convection/lightning or anything more impressive - we will be out there.

You bet! You know, I can remember a time when it used to storm here in Oklahoma! :lol: I sound like an "old geezer", oops, is that politically correct? :oops: , anyway... I can recall when it was fun taking lightning photos, etc., even if there were no tornadoes.

Now, it seems like it's difficult enough to just get a storm here within 200 miles of Norman.

The only thing none of us can argue on today is that this is the HIGHEST we've seen the "surface" moisture all year !!!!! Now how shallow that moisture is, mmm... we'll have to wait and see how the mixing takes shape, but it's definitely worth watching at this point.

If I can get hold of my chase partners, who are either 1.) avoiding me due to too many "busts" lately :lol: , or 2.) sleeping in because they can't wake themselves up.; then I'll know whether or not I can head out west. The two things I like about today... it's chaseable country, good roads without all the hills, trees, etc. and... if this moisture holds together and we get our temperatures ~ 90 degrees as they're currently forecast, CAPE "could" approach 5000... best all year, by far!

G A M E O N !!!!!!!!!!! :wink:
Today definately holds some potential for this area. How much potential is the question. Instability will be very high in the Tx panhandle. But the upper level support will be weak. Sfc winds veering in this region kill low level helicity. Possibly could see some CAPEnados, but thats about it. The only hope is for a bulge in the dryline. This would back the sfc winds a bit and in turn, increase low level helicity.
You're correct Justin. However, even without the upper-level, large-scale dynamics in place, with CAPE potentially ~ 5000, explosive storms could erupt on the dryline and create their own storm-scale enhanced environment where we could see a tornado or two. It wouldn't surprise me anyway.

The other thing I like is that perhaps these cells will stay discrete for a while, and there may be only one, two or three cells go up, if at all. Thus, chasing may be a little easier today then on Sunday, where you have "crapfest" all bunched together.

The one thing we'd all better look out for today are the "hailers." Baseball-size hail and my truck just don't seem to get along very well.

As many have mentioned numerous times throughout this year... we have incredible instability, and the upper-level support sucks. It'll be interesting to see how today pans out, but I still think there could be a big cell or two over between Clarendon, Shamrock, Pampa, Perryton areas.

Note: stay away, far away, from the Borger area !! The terrain over there is horrid for chasing, the roads are terrible in that you only have one bridge to get over the little "trickle" of water we call the Canadian River, and it's just like driving through the Ozarks over there (but without the trees).

It seems like almost every chase I did last year took me through Borger, and I hated it !!! That section of the TX panhandle that is the Canadian River valley is just horrible to find good roads. :x
Dryline set-up: With intense adiabatic heating across the southern Plains this afternoon, very shallow low-level moisture in place currently will mix out. The dryline is already oriented very bow-like extending down from the surface low, east of DDC, into northeast OK and arcing back in TX near CDS and PAD. The bow-orientation of the dryline is creating veered sfc flow across western OK and northern TX. This is not encouraging considering the awful upper-level flow ~ 20 kts in this region. Moisture convergence bullseye is near CDS currently, if the CAP can break, I'd expect another hail monster in southwest OK, much like was seen northwest of Austin yesterday.
Well, at least I was correct in my initial discussion for this area today. SPC has just put up a SVR T-STM Watch for the area of western Oklahoma and the eastern TX panhandle. Areas include Childress, Wheeler, Shamrock, Perryton, TX as well as Clinton, Elk City, etc. OK.

I still have a feeling that perhaps one of these storms could tornado in the next hour or two, if they can maintain their structural integrity and tap into the more moist air to the east of the dryline.

Good luck for those chasing our that way. Looks like I'll be watching this one on the computer from home.