Plains severe weather setupApril 12th, 2012 at 5:13 pm by Nicholas Ferreri 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.
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.