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Active Severe Pattern Resuming Next Week?

A seemingly unending stretch of severe weather and storm chasing opportunities across the Plains and Midwest beginning in mid-April and continuing into early May is taking a brief pause as we enter the middle of May. However, as storm chasers clear their memory cards and recharge their camera and internal batteries the pattern appears to be reloading for an active finish to the month.

A week or so ago, medium range guidance suggested a longer pause with ridging over the western United States and persistent low pressure in the Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. and a resulting pattern that would be much cooler and drier across the Central U.S.

Over the past 5-7 days there has been a marked shift in the outlook for the last 10 days or so of May, with a period of fast-jet stream flow over the Central U.S. being driven by upper level low pressure over the western U.S. toward the Canadian border and higher atmospheric pressure over the Gulf of Mexico.

One or more high-impact storm systems is expected to develop over the Central Plains and then track into the Midwest. Early signs point toward a moisture rich environment along and south of this storm track, perhaps setting the stage for several days of organized thunderstorm activity.

Of course at this range this is all speculative at best. Details surrounding particular days or regions of enhanced severe weather potential won't emerge for several days still, but a favored corridor is starting to stand out to me. I would expect traditional corners of Tornado Alley to come alive with a few dryline setups along I-35 in KS, OK, and TX initially, with the risk expanding into the Midwest later in the period.

I'm not circling any dates on the calendar this morning, but I may start banking sleep this week as it may be coming at a premium again as we get to the other side of the coming weekend.


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