Plains severe weather setup

April 12th, 2012 at 5:13 pm by under Weather

Severe weather in the U.S. during the month of April is certainly not uncommon.

Right now, across the Plains states, an area of low pressure and its associated cold and warm fronts sit gradually moving eastward.  In the days ahead, there’s an elevated potential that severe storms producing damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes will result.

Thursday Afternoon Surface Map

This setup is worthy of a mention here on our WANE weather blog because of the high confidence that exists that this weather system will be producing such intense weather a couple of days from now in areas to our west.

The Storm Prediction Center, or SPC, issues severe weather watches and generates forecasts for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the United States.  Multiple times each day, the SPC posts its Convective Outlooks that highlight areas across the country that are at risk of experiencing severe weather.

Severe storm potential is typically ranked by 3 categories: slight, moderate and high.  Don’t let the word “slight” fool you, though, it still indicates a significant chance of severe weather.

Here are the current outlooks as of this posting:

What’s notable is that in the Day 3 Outlook, issued for Saturday, a moderate risk category is highlighted.  Typically, the confidence required to issue a “risk” a couple of days ahead of time in the moderate category does not exist, due to the ever-changing nature of weather and the many variables that have to come together to create severe storms.

To give you an idea of how rare a “Day 3 Moderate Risk” is, you should know that since 2000…it’s only happened 11 times.

While searching for info for this post, I found the interesting statistic above on a blog post by Patrick Marsh, a Ph.D. student at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology.  If you’d like to read more about Day 3 Moderate Risks, you’ll find his site to be a good read.


3 Responses to “Plains severe weather setup”

  1. john says:

    The International Space Station flew over Fort Wayne at 9:01 pm tonight, was really awesome to see, too bad you were not able to alert viewers. Strange to see a bright dot, that doesnt blink like a plane, wizzing along at a pretty good clip, and no sound. Was really cool. Rare to get such a clear night to see such a thing.

    1. Jonathan Conder says:

      Thanks for the comment. The ISS is passing overhead on a regular basis. If I announced it’s passing every time, I would have less time to tell people when it is going to rain. I did cover the passing of the ISS when the last Shuttle was docked to it. Again, thanks for the comments, I am glad you were able to see it.

  2. [...] you compare the above image to the Day 3 (Saturday) Outlook  in my Thursday post, what should strike you is that there has been little change to the placement of the area that is [...]