Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Strong to violent tornadoes tonight
from central Kansas to Nebraska
-NOAA Storm Prediction Center 


"There has been Wedge tornadoes and tennis-ball sized hail"
-Forecaster Kristen Menz in central Kansas


Follow regional overviews and storm impact reports 
in our Severe Storm Center on Facebook 


7:00 PM CDT 4/14/12 (Forecaster DanielThis event is still going strong and will likely continue into the late evening/early morning hours.
  • There are reports of tornadoes on the ground near Salina, KS, and more thunderstorms popping up along the dryline in Western Kansas. 
  • The SPC's latest Mesoscale Discussion highlights Southeastern Nebraska, Southern Iowa, and Northern Missouri for further severe weather.

For folks in these areas, be wary of going to events like concerts, even though you've already paid for them. The Miranda Lambert concert in Wichita is still a go, but is now at the Hyatt Regency instead of on the plaza.

6:25 PM CDT 4/14/12  (Forecasters Foot and Joey K.) Over 35 tornado reports have been recorded by the Storm Prediction Center as a Great Plains outbreak continues into the night. Two college student forecasters from our team are currently tracking storms in the region. Several tornado watches designated as Particularly Dangerous Situations in the region, as shown above remain in effect across half a dozen states, and with night approaching, the risk to life and property becomes much higher.

Conditions remain favorable for large and long-tracked tornadoes, including hail ranging from egg- to baseball size. Our team has already reported seeing Wedge tornadoes and has been sending updates about the event as noted below.

If you or anyone you know are in the affected areas, remain alert to changing conditions and stay close to the latest official statements from your nearest National Weather Service forecast office.  
  • Forecaster Kristen Menz from our KC Metro page has been in Russell County, KS. A report earlier today included observations of a "large rain-wrapped tornado near Bunker Hill, KS." You can follow her latest Twitter reports via http://www.twitter.com/Menz_Wx. She is also traveling in a convoy of university researchers tracking the storm. The area under this Tornado warning can be found at this link to the Witchia, KS National Weather Service
  • Forecaster Nic Roberson and his storm chase team from North Carolina are moving from Wichita, KS to intercept several systems traveling east and expected to develop in the eastern part of the state. You can follow their latest updates in StormSquad.net on Facebook and their Chase page.

9:30 AM CDT 4/14/12 (Forecaster Kelton H. and the Severe Weather Team) With possibly large several tornadoes already having been reported across the Southern Plains, it is plain to see why there is such concern and anxiety over the latest Severe Weather outlooks posted by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. The imagery linked above shows hundreds if not thousands of square miles of the Central Plains under extremely high probabilities for high impact tornadic activity on Saturday.

1) Is the Storm Prediction Center overdoing it?
Based on current model guidance, as well as what happened on Friday in Oklahoma, Saturday is likely to be just as bad for severe weather outbreaks The SPC seems very confident in this, so it should not be taken lightly.

2) Verification of Past "Day 2" High Risk Statements
This has only happened one other time in history - April 7, 2006. It was also issued by the same SPC forecaster, Mr. Broyles. The risk verified, as seen in the storm reports from that date. If Forecaster Broyles is right again, then multiple states as noted in the current outlooks are likely to experience a very significant outbreak of tornadoes.

3) Impacts will be life-threatening 
Impacts which are widely expected on Saturday throughout the Central and Southern Plains include large, long track, deadly tornadoes; this will also be accompanied by 60mph+ winds and egg-sized and larger hail.

4) Plans for large outdoor venues and activities
If readers have plans in a large venue tomorrow, we highly discourage their attendance. Large venues have poor severe weather safety procedures and it would be VERY hazardous to be stuck if a tornado hit.

5) Severe Weather awareness
Damage can look like a tornado, but actually be due to straight-line winds. Straight-line winds can do as much damage as a small tornado - heed the severe warnings equally to the tornado warnings!

Lastly, even if you are not in an area denoted under a "high risk"  like NWS employees say, "storms do not know where the map lines are located!" Therefore, residents outside of the high and moderate risk areas need to remain alert to changing conditions, and seek shelter immediately if sensing that severe weather is on approach.

(Statement by the Severe Weather Team, 11:00 PM EDT 4/13/12)

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