Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Severe Weather Season DEFINITELY Here Now

Large, damaging hail is possible in parts
of the Plains in South much of this week, but
I don't think the hailstones will get as big
as the ones this guy is holding in
Dante, South Dakota on August 21, 2007
Photo by Megan Cimpl.  
It was a long time coming, but severe weather season is here in earnest for the United States.

We had that opening salvo back on March 25, which, tragically, led to at least one tornado-related death, a number of injuries and a lot of wrecked houses and businesses.

For the next four days in a row, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has a slight risk for severe storms covering pretty big areas in the Plains and South.

This won't be a huge, huge severe storm outbreak, and it's looking like there won't be all that many tornadoes, which is a good thing. The primary threat seems to be hail and high winds.

Hail seems to be the big deal today, especially in southern Oklahoma and much of Arkansas. Strong thunderstorm winds could extend this evening into parts of Mississippi and Alabama.

Tomorrow, the severe threat shifts into eastern Nebraska, northern and central Kansas, western Iowa and northwestern Missouri.

There might be a tornado or two as supercells first develop tomorrow, but again, Wednesday's severe weather seems like it will mostly take the form of big hailstones and strong, damaging thunderstorm winds.

On the bright side, rains from these thunderstorms look like they might clip some areas of the Plains that have gotten pretty dry so far this spring.

However, the rains look like they'll miss much of the central and western Plains from Oklahoma to North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. All of this area has been hit by record high temperatures, very low humidity, little precipitation and wildfires. They could use a good soaking, but I don't see it in the cards.

By Thursday, the severe threat shifts back into Oklahoma and Arkansas. Again, while there might be a tornado or two then, the largest threat from Thursday's storms will be high winds and big hailstones.

The northern Gulf Coast states could see some scattered severe storms Friday.

As the storm responsible for the rough weather heads into the Northeast Thursday and Friday. it will briefly warm up winter-socked New England and drop some rain. With a lot of snow on the ground in much of New England, this could trigger scattered areas of flooding.

Cold air returns to the Northeast Friday night and Saturday, and a secondary storm could drop several inches of wet snow on places like interior New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

That's still highly uncertain, but stay tuned on that one.

Back in the Plains, after a lull, there's the possibility of more severe storms during the middle of next week, too.

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