KSStorm.Info Briefing: May 2, 2022

Part of Kansas is under the gun for severe weather this afternoon, although SPC outlooks have pulled some of the higher risk into Oklahoma. I’ll be the first to admin there is a bit of “my house is under the gun again” aspect to my thinking, but I’m working to keep that fact from driving me to overstating the risks.

Here’s today’s SPC outlook:

ks swody2In the yellow and particularly orange areas, some strong, potentially-long track tornadoes are possible. As I detailed yesterday, the setup is actually more volatile than Friday’s. Better low-level moisture, a better wind profile at about 10-14,00 feet up, and an upper wave arriving right at peak heating are the main factors in that increased volatility.

A bit of good news at this point, it appears SPC forecasters are thinking the warm front and center of the low pressure system may stay a few miles south of where originally forecast. But today will be a day where some tens of miles in positioning of those two features will mean a drastic difference in threat levels. Here is the best thinking from the Wichita NWS office:

screenshot 20220502 065402As it stands now, we will be departing west Wichita around 3pm, headed toward Anthony on K-42. Currently I would expect to have storm activity by the time we arrive southwest of Anthony, but we’ll be ready to jump south if the front has not come as far north.

What to hope for: that the morning showers persist through mid-day and leave several hours of clouds behind. The longer we can stay cloudy, the lower the risk for high-end severe weather. At this moment, models are depicting the US-160 corridor from east of Medicine Lodge through west of Winfield as the peak threat for tornadoes from 3pm in the west to 8pm or so in the east.

I do expect a small MODERATE risk area to be issued by SPC either on the update here in a bit or on the mid-day update.  Not sure whether the Wichita metro will be included, but I think it will come close.

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