Monday, February 17, 2014
Severe Weather Chances Thursday
Yep. You read that right. Severe weather is possible later this week. I know you're probably shaking your head right now thinking "This shouldn't surprise me. After all, this is Arkansas." I remember something similar happened a few years ago and I'm not sure if it was 2010 or 2011. We had several inches of snow early in the month, then just a couple weeks later severe weather hit. Because of the severely cold winter, many may not be in severe weather mode, but we need to start now since our primary severe weather season is getting ready to kick off.
A few weeks ago I talked about sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. All of the arctic air that has blasted through the state has also cooled those waters significantly. Similar to last winter and spring, this could delay any significant "outbreaks" of severe weather until those Gulf waters warm. That doesn't mean we can't have some severe weather. Look at last year. Outside of the Botkinburg tornado in April, we didn't have an "outbreak" until May 30th! That's very, very late for Arkansas severe weather standards. At this time, there isn't a standard definition of "outbreak".
With all that said, I do think few strong to severe thunderstorms WILL be possible Thursday afternoon and early evening. The data over the past couple of days really gets this cranked up across eastern Arkansas and points east. There will be some instability and dewpoint temperatures will be high enough to support that threat as a pacific cold front scoots through the state. I'll have a couple maps below to look at.
One more thing. I still think we will go back into a cold weather pattern next week. This zonal west to east flow will begin to amplify once again with a western Canada/Alaskan ridge. This will send a downstream trough over the central and eastern United States sending arctic air south again. As far as moisture is concerned, it's wayyyyyyy too early to speculate about that. So enjoy the "February Thaw" while it lasts. All signs are pointing towards below average temperatures next week.
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