Significant outbreak of severe thunderstorms, violent tornadoes, and heavy rain in the Plains, U.S.


A significant outbreak of severe thunderstorms, violent tornadoes, and heavy rain is expected across the U.S. Plains on Monday, May 20, 2019. 

A potent spring storm system is expected to produce an outbreak of severe weather in parts of the Plains today, NWS warns. Very large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, and large/violent tornadoes are possible. 

Image credit: NOAA/GOES-East. Acquired 14:50 UTC, May 20, 2019

AccuWeather meteorologists said they are concerned that this latest outbreak will be even more significant than the days of severe weather late last week and over the weekend.

Around midday Monday (LT), NWS SPC highlighted a small corridor from the northeastern part of the Texas Panhandle to central Oklahoma in a 45 percent probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes to occur within 15 km (25 miles) of a point.

This is the first time a 45 percent tornado area has been issued by the SPC since April 14, 2012, AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff noted.

"The greatest threat for large and devastating tornadoes will exist from southern Kansas through west-central Oklahoma and eastern parts of the Texas Panhandle. Residents in this area should be prepared to take cover in a basement or storm shelter at a moment's notice."

"It is likely that the storms will develop rapidly and begin producing tornadoes within 30-60 minutes after initiating," Duff said.

Forecast Discussion
   SPC AC 201626

   Day 1 Convective Outlook  
   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
   1126 AM CDT Mon May 20 2019

   Valid 201630Z - 211200Z



   An outbreak of tornadoes, some potentially long-track and violent,
   is expected today into this evening over portions of northwest Texas
   into western and central Oklahoma.  More isolated but still
   potentially dangerous severe weather, including tornadoes and
   destructive winds and hail, is possible in surrounding parts of
   Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.

   ...Southern Plains...
   A tornado outbreak is forecast to unfold this afternoon and evening
   across parts of northwest TX and western/central OK.  Moisture
   continues to stream northward across the region, with dewpoints in
   the 70s yielding very high afternoon MLCAPE values of 3000-5000
   J/kg.  Meanwhile, shear profiles are also rapidly increasing as a
   50-60 knot southerly low-level jet strenghens across the area.  This
   is leading to a rare combination of extreme instability and large
   hodographs as depicted on forecast soundings throughout the region.

   Given the weak capping inversion, strong low-level theta-e
   advection, and approaching large-scale forcing, all signs point to
   the development of numerous intense supercells this afternoon across
   the MDT and HIGH risk areas.  Any storm that persists in this
   environment will pose a risk of strong tornadoes, very large hail,
   and damaging winds.  The corridor of greatest concern, including a
   threat of long-track and potentially violent tornadoes, will extend
   from the southeast TX Panhandle into western and central Oklahoma.

   Multiple rounds of severe storms are expected to affect these areas,
   with new storms forming this evening over west TX and spreading
   across north TX and much of OK overnight.  These storms will
   maintain a risk of large hail, damaging winds, and isolated
   tornadoes through the night in some areas.

   ...Northeast States...
   Relatively strong heating is occurring over New England and eastern
   NY, where a moist and moderately unstable air mass is present. 
   Scattered afternoon thunderstorms are expected to form in this area,
   and spread eastward toward the New England coast during the late
   afternoon.  Steepening low level lapse rates and westerly flow aloft
   will promote a risk of gusty/damaging winds and some hail in the
   stronger cells.

   ..Hart/Karstens.. 05/20/2019

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-East. Acquired: 17:10 UTC, May 20, 2019

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