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Chase Day Outlook: Sun, May 19th, 2024

Today is a great day to document some significant severe thunderstorms on the Central Plains with a relatively low risk of tornadoes. Pick the stormy scene you're after, and go get it.

An upper-level disturbance will overspread an increasingly unstable air mass across portions of Kansas and Oklahoma this afternoon and evening. Forecast soundings show inverted-V thermal profiles indicative of steep-lapse rates, but rather marginal moisture in the lower levels ahead of the dryline bulge in southwest Kansas.

I expect severe storms to rapidly initiate in this corner of far southwest Kansas, likely near the Ulysses, KS vicinity perhaps with a couple of initial supercells that should quickly become prolific downburst producers. An evolution into one or more bowing segments is expected as storms race northeast into central Kansas. I would probably just plop myself somewhere downstream like Dodge City or Great Bend where I can time one of the bowing segments with better evening light and enjoy getting blown away.

Drought conditions have been quite severe in this area with little in the way of recent rains - could a haboob or at least isolated blowing dust be an issue today?

ABOVE: Inverted-V soundings with steep lapse rates but poor moisture across western Kansas on Sunday afternoon.

For the risk taker who doesn't mind a lower floor on their storm observation day, there is a lower risk of a sustained supercell with at least some tornado risk across northern Oklahoma during the evening. Here, moisture is still quite meager if you're looking for a more robust, significant tornado risk, but you could be treated to a photogenic supercellular show at evening with a high-based supercell displaying pretty structure as capping sets in pre-sunset. If I'm targeting this play, I probably just sit somewhere along Hwy 64 in northwest Oklahoma and wait.

ABOVE: Forecast soundings in northwest Oklahoma show moisture that is still rather sparse, and a layer of warm air at 700 mb that further complicates the tornado potential.

Plenty of ways to enjoy severe storms today, even with a reduced tornado potential across Kansas and Oklahoma.

HONORABLE MENTION: There will certainly be a few storms initiating across Nebraska and perhaps portions of the Dakotas this afternoon and evening, but the overall risk is much lower than further south across Kansas and Oklahoma.


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