A trough and associated storm system will bring a risk for severe weather to parts of Kansas on Wednesday generally east of Interstate 135. With a moderate upper level jet combining with low level shear and spring-like dew point values the stage should be set for a severe weather event. Seeing as fall setups are fairly rare Paige and I will be heading north into eastern Kansas tomorrow for a storm chase. The latest model data suggests an initial target near Eldorado, Ks but that will almost certainly be adjusted tomorrow morning as new data and real-time observations arrive.
The setup is not overwhelming in regards to tornado potential for a couple reasons. The first reason is there should be a fairly widespread coverage of showers and thunderstorms during the morning hours across Kansas. That convection will keep cloud cover in parts of the threat area into the early afternoon hours. The second reason is that the low level jet is expected to slightly veer by the afternoon hours slightly reducing the low level wind shear. Finally there are a couple high-resolution weather models suggesting a fairly quick transition to a linear storm mode (squall line). While a squall line would continue to have a threat of damaging winds and hail it would reduce the tornado threat and ‘pretty’ factor of a discrete/semi-discrete supercell.
One important factor for the severe weather threat tomorrow will be outflow boundaries produced by the morning convection. Outflow boundaries play a critical role in mesoscale features in the atmosphere. They can provide a focal point for initial thunderstorm development and also enhance low level wind shear. If we end up with a dominant supercell moving or interacting with a outflow boundary the threat of a tornado would be enhanced. Regardless of any tornado potential the strongest initial supercells will likely be efficient hail and wind producers. Upscale growth into a squall line is expected by the evening hours and will likely bring a risk of damaging winds to eastern Kansas and possibly extreme western Missouri.
As I said in the first paragraph we will be out storm chasing tomorrow in Eastern Kansas. My hope and desire is that we do run a live stream on our website tomorrow afternoon during the chase. I haven’t run a live stream since the 2012 chase season for a couple reasons (it uses a lot of cell data and can be difficult to keep online when in poor coverage areas and in proximity to dozens of other chasers). Still running live streaming video on chases was one reason we became popular back in 2010 and 2011 so I’ll give it a shot once again. We’ll be using YouTube Live (streaming live video on YouTube). I’ll embed the video player to our live chase page at www.texasstormchasers.com/live which I still have to actually put together tonight. I’ll also be posting numerous chase updates on our Twitter account which you can find on the right sidebar (desktop site) or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/txstormchasers. Due to the way Facebook handels our page’s traffic I won’t be posting too many updates on our Facebook page but you can keep up with our chase by monitoring our website.