Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another Active Day On Tap In Plains & Midwest

Apparently found among the damage in Moore, OK, yesterday was a sign that read "The More Important Things In Life Aren't Things."  It's hard to fathom that in less than a few minutes, a sense of normalcy goes to crap as 200+ mile per hour winds barrel through your neighborhood, your child's school, your business.

For Moore, this is the third EF-4 or stronger tornado to rip through the community in the last 14 years, with the 1999 and 2003 tornadoes having passed through various sections of the suburban Oklahoma City community.  The '99 and '03 twisters passed a bit farther north than yesterday's twister did and that this twister may ultimately be deadlier than either of the two preceding storms to have hit the community.

The thought that this has been an inactive severe weather season (and it has been inactive compared to past years, despite the uptick the past week) pretty much gets tossed out the window with the fact that this much destruction can be produced from a single tornado.  May is the most active time of the year for severe weather in the country, with Oklahoma often in the cross-hairs for violent thunderstorms.  The damage is horrific and the loss of life tragic in this part of the world...and it puts in perspective how fragile our existence can be.  If Sandy or this tornado were unable to reinforce that lesson, I'm not sure what could.

Nationally, the Moore tornado was one of eighteen tornado reports that stretched from Missouri southwest through North Texas, with over 300 severe weather reports unofficially reported.

This continues today as two focal points for severe weather take shape -- the Great Lakes (Michigan), primarily from a wind standpoint, followed by Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas (wind, tornado, and hail).  The southern focus area for severe weather is under a moderate risk today and could be particularly violent to the south and east of Dallas later on this afternoon.

While more rain and thunder is likely in Moore -- and a slight risk for severe weather is in place for them again today -- odds favor the bulk of severe weather to their east and southeast later on.  However, any rain and storms over them today will not aid in recovery efforts.

The severe weather in this part of the world is courtesy of a broad scale trough in the Plains. This trough has been kicking out disturbances that have been rotating east and northeast along it as the main trough slowly rambles east. Various disturbances and surface lows have been developing downstream of the Rockies over Oklahoma or New Mexico, pushing east and leading to the severe weather episodes across the Plains.  Today will be no different as a disturbance that's pushing in Western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle this morning will lead to the Southern Plains severe storm setup later on today.