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                   Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 4:36PM CST

Possible Plains opportunities late next week

By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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It appears we may have some legit Great Plains trips in the making for late next week, though it is too early to start looking at specific targets. A shortwave (smaller in amplitude) trough is shown by the GFS and Euro models as traversing the USA's midsection from Friday through Sunday. This will overspread southwesterly flow of at least 30 knots overtop of a dryline with good low-level moisture, yielding CAPE values in the 3000 j/kg range. Wind profiles veer with height, starting with southeasterly surface winds near and along the dryline in Kansas and Nebraska (the most likely target areas if current model runs verify). Capping could be a concern with 700mb temps approaching 12°C, though precip has been indicated breaking out in the best areas.

Translating those setups to potential SPC outlook levels, Friday and Saturday appear to be high-end slight risks with 5%-10% tornado probabilities. A moderate risk would not surprise me if moisture and instability values can be realized.

Because this system could bring at minimum two consecutive storm observation days, it's on my radar as far as triggering Plains trip #2 for the year. However, since shortwave troughs are often handled poorly by models, especially more than a few days out, I will hesitate in giving this system more than 50% chase probabilities. That value will increase in the coming days if models hold on to what is currently shown. Since I can make a same-day western Kansas arrival easily with a morning departure from St. Louis, a go/no go decision could come as late as sunrise Friday morning.

The following table charts the probability of a Great Plains weather expedition for the indicated date ranges:

2013 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of May 11
May 12-151%
May 16-2050%

Good grief.. it's mid-May already. Way overdue for a good set-up.
- Posted by JM from Canada
Yep - definitely been a slow start. Hopefully things will really begin taking off later this month into June.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

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