Featured Image Credit: McLean TX Cone tornado, 2017. Jason Weingart, in the article here.
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After a cap bust across almost all of the SPC-highlighted areas of Kansas and Oklahoma yesterday, We’re watching something closer to home for today.
SPC Discussion Highlight
Latest thinking is convection will redevelop in the wake of the early-day complex along/near the wind shift. This activity will develop within a modestly sheared environment with strong buoyancy. While mid-level flow is not forecast to be that strong, adequate deep-layer bulk shear should support organized thunderstorm clusters and perhaps a few weak supercells. Locally damaging winds, hail and perhaps a few tornadoes can be expected with this mixed storm-mode activity.
It looks to me like the most interesting time frame will be 4-7pm in or close to Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Douglas, Franklin, Osage, and Lyon counties. Maybe we’ll track SE into Coffey or Anderson county.
NWS Topeka Discussion Highlight
By 21Z (4pm) the frontal boundary looks to reside very near I-35/335. Along and ahead of the front, sufficient surface heating should allow for a very unstable environment to develop with steep midlevel lapse rates atop a moist boundary layer, resulting in nearly 4000 J/kg of MLCAPE. Forecast hodographs depict tremendous low-level veering but weak midlevel winds mitigate the magnitude of bulk shear to 30-35 kt. A subtle midlevel speed maximum is progged to traverse the area by mid to late afternoon and should further contribute to thunderstorm development. Initial updrafts will likely be supercells with large hail, damaging winds, and possibly tornadoes. As the evening progress, I expect thunderstorm activity to transition to multicell clusters/embedded supercells, transitioning hazards to predominately damaging wind and heavy rainfall.
The challenge to tornado development will be mid-level winds. However, hodographs for the locations mentioned above are supportive of a tornado risk, along with hail and very heavy rain which will cause some flash flooding. It’s Matt’s birthday, maybe we can get him a tornado in open Flint Hills grassland as a present!
For those of you who may not have been able to see the full featured photo, here it is in all its glory!