With all of the warm weather we have experienced lately, it comes as no surprise that we are expecting a threat for severe storms across the region. A strong storm system moving out of the Plains states will drag a cold front into the area by Wednesday morning. Showers and storms will develop along this front and push into the region by Wednesday morning, exiting the area by later Wednesday afternoon. We are expecting two storm modes.
The first storm mode will be isolated mini-supercells that will track inland from the Gulf. These isolated storms ahead of the line will tap into an environment of strong wind shear, causing the storms to rotate and potentially produce weak tornadoes. The storms will be fast moving, traveling from 30-50 mph. Any tornadoes that may occur will be lower end intensity on the Enhanced Fujita scale, EF0 to EF1. The main limiting factor for strong to violent tornadoes is instability. The Christmas Day outbreak had higher instability, much colder air higher up in the atmosphere. Also the wind energy was stronger with the system. This particular situation does NOT appear to be anywhere close to that in magnitude.
The second storm mode will be a line of severe thunderstorms that will form on the cold front itself. These storms will be capable of damaging wind gusts, and brief weak tornadoes. Once this line clears your area, the severe weather threat will end from west to east during the morning and early afternoon Wednesday.
Even through this event does not have the volatility that the Christmas Day storm did, it still needs to be taken seriously. Stay informed through the night and during the day Wednesday by keeping it tuned to Local 15 and the Weather Authority Network for the latest information.
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley