After the first two tornadoes of the year in Oklahoma on Monday March 8, more severere weather is possible across the state today.
A stronger storm system than the one that affected the state on Monday will move across Oklahoma during the afternoon and evening hours.
At the present time, a surface low was located over the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, with a cold front extending towards the Mexican border, a stationary front along the I-44 corridor in Oklahoma, and a dry line extending to the south from the stationary front, west of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for DFW as a line of severe storms developed ahead of the dry line.
Surface map and radar for the Southern Plains 9:18am CT 10 March 2010 (NWS)
Throughout the afternoon, the surface low will continue east towards Central Oklahoma, and the cold front will overtake the dry line. Ahead of this, the lowest levels of the atmosphere will continue to moisten under strong south and southeasterly winds. The increasing low level moisture coupled with high temperatures approaching the low-70s, will create a zone of instability ahead of the front, approaching 1000 – 1500 J/kg of CAPE, per forecasts from the NAM and RUC by late afternoon.
Instability forecasts for RUC (left) and NAM (right) for 00z 11 Mar 2010 (HOOT Project)
In addition to the instability forecast for the area, sufficient wind shear will be in place across the threat area, with south to southeasterly winds at the surface, and southwesterly winds in the middle of the atmosphere. This shear will be sufficient for rotating updrafts, and as such, severe hail, tornadoes, and damaging winds will be possible with any storms that develop this afternoon.
While the main threat zone for severe weather today is east of a line from Miami to Tulsa to McAlester to Idabel, it is important to note a secondary threat zone. This will be the potential for additional cold core severe weather, similar to Monday.
This afternoon, that cold core area will be in North Central Oklahoma, in an area bound by the cities of Enid, Medford, Ponca City, Cleveland, and Stillwater. This area may change depending on the exact path of the surface low, but it is important to remember that near and north of the surface low will have a chance of tornadoes and large hail.
As we did with the event on Monday, there will be a post event wrap up. Be weather aware today, stay tuned to your favorite weather outlet for possible watches and warnings.