Severe Weather Discussion – 1:00pm Saturday, May 10, 2008

Things are still shaping up for a likely severe weather outbreak later today across the Mid-South. As of 12:30pm, morning clouds are breaking up over the area and temperatures are starting to climb. With enough sunshine, we’ll likely reach near 80 degrees this afternoon. In addition, a strong upper-level disturbance is moving through the Plains towards the region and scattered thunderstorms are firing in response to the increased winds and dynamics over western AR and MO and eastern KS and OK (see current regional radar). As the afternoon goes on, these scattered storms will become stronger as they move east. To our south, a warm front is positioned and will begin to surge north this afternoon across the area (see forecast surface maps). As it does so, our wind will turn to a more southerly direction and moisture will increase further. It is near this warm front that storms will have the best chance of becoming super-cellular and capable of producing tornadoes. In addition, any storms that form could contain large hail (1″ or larger) and high wind in excess of 60 mph.

During the evening hours, the metro area will be positioned in the warm sector – behind the northbound warm front and ahead of a strong cold front moving in from the Southern Plains. Within the warm sector, storms will continue to be scattered, but very capable of becoming severe. As the cold front moves closer, the likely scenario is that a squall line will form along or just ahead of the front and race across the region overnight. Within the line, the primary threat would be very high wind (75 mph+ possible) and large hail, but isolated tornadoes will continue to also be a threat. The timing of all of this appears to be that the warm front will move through around 5-6pm, so the severe weather threat increases around that time, and the squall line would move through between 11pm and 2am. Thus, severe weather is a distinct possibility from about 5pm until 2am.

Be sure that you take time to review your severe weather safety plan of action. That plan should include staying abreast of changing weather conditions with MemphisWeather.Net, as well as local or cable TV or radio, and preferably a NOAA All-Hazards Alert Radio. You can also sign up to receive email alerts of weather watches and warnings for the Memphis metro area by clicking on “Notification” from the Severe Weather menu on MemphisWeather.Net.

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