Spring semester ends on Monday, giving me a week off. I’ve been watching long-range models for quite some time now for the possibility of chasing during this break. The GFS has been rather consistent with a southern plains trough in the Wed/Thur April 23/24 time range. The ECMWF has been in relative agreement as well.
Right now I’m keeping an eye on Wed the 23rd as the better of the two days. However, it all depends on the amount of Gulf moisture return. Yesterday’s model runs depicted significantly less moisture, which would limit the severe potential. The 00z and 06z GFS have brought some moisture back, with dewpoints reaching the low 60s in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The dilemma I may end up with is where along this dryline to target, but specifics will have to be worked out as the day becomes closer. I typically like to stay near the surface low, as this is where there is better forcing for ascent, and quite often greater helicity. In this case, looking at 500mb winds would definitely point to the northern target as the better area.
This is showing 50-55 kts in Kansas, versus closer to 40 kts along the OK/TX panhandle border. These are the two main charts I look at in the long-range, as I want to know if moisture will be available, and if mid to upper level support will be present. The moisture plot also shows me the location of the surface low, but that usually changes somewhat over the last few days before the event. By Sunday morning, this will be in range of the NAM, which usually gives a better idea of the details.
Thursday looks less enticing, as the main trough shoots northeast, causing the dryline to slant from SW to NE. This would result in a more linear storm mode, as the storm motion will be about parallel to the boundary. However, at least on the GFS, there is still a N-S boundary down in N. TX, and a secondary surface low with some decent mid-level winds. Tornado chances will likely be low, but perhaps this could be a fun hail and storm structure chase.
If things end up like that, I’ll be doing a lot of driving over this break! My plan is to stay just west of Nashville Monday night, drive to Tulsa, OK for Tuesday night to visit my buddy Anthony, and then up to central Kansas on Wednesday, north Texas Thursday, and finally make my way home to Indy on Friday. Hopefully I’ll have a few more tornadoes and supercells to show for it! Stay tuned!