Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday cold front and the chance of severe weather in the metro

A strong mid-October cold front of Pacific origin will move through the Mid-South Sunday, but will it bring severe weather?  The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has offered it's opinion, now here's ours in a quick "Saturday Evening Post."

Thank you!
First, let me begin by offering a sincere thank you to MWN interns Patrick and Hunter for manning the MWN social media ship and keeping you all informed while I got some much-needed R&R with my family this week in Perdido Key, FL. It was a great few days away, but I'm ready to jump back on ship!  Also, a huge thanks to former intern and friend Kevin Terry for bringing his forecast expertise back to MWN so that our complete set of services was available during my absence.  I love #TeamMWN!

Back to the business at hand... below is the Day 2 (Sunday) severe weather outlook graphic from SPC.  It highlights the metro area in a Slight Risk of severe weather tomorrow.  There are actually two different times to keep an eye on, and to be honest, neither looks particularly potent at this hour.

Severe weather threat #1
Overnight, a large area of thunderstorms currently (7:30 pm CDT) moving across the Plains into western MO and AR will move east towards the region.  While sufficient wind shear will be in place when the storms would arrive early Sunday morning (wind at 2,000' will be blowing at 50-60 mph), instability (frequently brought about by heating from the sun) will be at a minima.  I fully expect this evening's storms to be in a weakening or weakened state when they arrive in the metro between 5-9am Sunday.  Showers and some embedded thunder will be a decent bet, but severe weather seems unlikely.  Any storm that is strong would have high wind as it's main threat.  This area of rain/storms will be well ahead of the cold front.

Severe weather threat #2
During the day, a fair amount of sunshine is possible, which should help bring the instability levels back up as temperatures warm to at least 80 given enough sunshine.  Gusty surface wind and low-level moisture will also be in place.  However, I'm not convinced that there will be sufficient severe weather ingredients in place as the front moves through (late afternoon/early evening timeframe) to bring about severe storms.  In fact, I'm not convinced that there will even be much in the way of precipitation along the front, even though it is fairly strong.  Computer models seem to say the same thing.  So, for the evening (say from 4-8 pm), there is a chance of some showers or storms along the front, but it is not likely.  Any strong storms that form would bring a high wind and large hail threat.  The precipitation chances drop to near zero after 9pm Sunday.

The bottom line:  A chance of storms, a few of which could be severe with damaging wind or large hail, will occur between 5-9am and again from 4-8pm Sunday.  Overall, the day will be warm, muggy, and windy with highs from 79-82.

Behind the front, pleasant fall weather is expected for the first half of the work week before another front arrives mid-week.  Get all the details in the MWN Forecast.

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