Significant Severe Weather Event Could Unfold This Weekend

Figure 1. SPC severe weather outlook for Saturday. Image: NOAA SPC

A deepening surface low associated with a strong upper-level storm system is going to exit the Plains and lift into the Ohio Valley late Saturday into Sunday.

High dew points, an influx of moisture from the Gulf, and overall unstable air mass ahead of this system will help foster the development of widespread convective (thunderstorm) activity.

Models continue to advertise a strong low-level jet. Moderate to high CAPE values are still being predicted as well.

Taking the above into account, it does appear that we could be looking at widespread strong/severe storms.  In fact, there is potential for a significant severe weather event to unfold from east Texas to the Southeast Saturday night and Sunday.

Figure 2. SPC severe weather outlook for Sunday. Image: NOAA SPC

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has expanded the 15% (slight) risk areas for Saturday and Sunday. They have also introduced a 30% risk area for Saturday (see figure 1), which is somewhat rare. Further refinements are likely.

Right now, it looks like this threat will manifest itself in the form of a well organized and expansive squall line. However, this event is 3 to 4 days away, meaning there is still considerable uncertainty. The magnitude, placement of the greatest threat, and primary hazards are not known.

Although, if we were to see a squall line, that would certainly increase the threat for damaging winds.

For now, the best thing to do is monitor the forecast over the next few days. We should know much more by Thursday and Friday. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to go ahead and review your severe weather plan