Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tornado Watch Issued as Multi-Day Threat of Severe Storms Kicks Off in Southern Plains; Large Hail, Damaging Winds and a Few Tornadoes Possible

March 26,2017
Several disturbances will ripple through an active jet stream this week, triggering multiple days of strong to severe storms, particularly in the southern tier of the country.
This week's first weather system will fire up a round of severe storms through Sunday night that will feature supercells in the southern Plains, which could bring very large hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes. This system will continue pushing east on Monday, sparking more severe weather in Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued the following severe weather watches:
  • A tornado watch valid until 11 p.m. CDT for parts of Oklahoma and north-central Texas. This watch area includes Oklahoma City and Dallas.
  • A severe thunderstorm watch valid until 11 p.m. CDT for portions of southern Kansas. This watch area includes Wichita, Kansas.
  • A severe thunderstorm watch valid until 11 p.m. CDT for a small part of central and north Texas. This watch area includes Stephenville, Texas.

Current Radar with Watches, Warnings
(MORE: View National Interactive Radar Map | Difference Between a Watch and a Warning)
Large hail up to tennis ball size (2.50 inches in diamater) was reported near Paoli, Oklahoma, Sunday evening, with several other reports of 1- to 2-inch diameter hail in Oklahoma and north-central Texas.
In addition, thunderstorm winds gusted as high as 65 mph in the southern Kansas town of Anthony on Sunday evening.
Two more jet stream disturbances will then sweep from the Rockies eastward into the nation's midsection through next weekend, triggering additional rounds of thunderstorms that could be severe at times.
Below, we step through the timing and impacts for the three separate rounds of stormy weather expected into next weekend.
(MORE: 7-Day Severe Weather Outlook)

Round 1: Sunday Night - Monday

Through Sunday Night

  • Moisture will surge northward ahead of an area of surface low pressure and its associated jet stream disturbance. 
  • The highest risk for severe thunderstorms will be from central Oklahoma into extreme north-central Texas and perhaps northward into southern Kansas.
  • Very large hail (2 inches or greater in diameter) and damaging winds are the greatest threats, but a few tornadoes will also be possible. The tornado threat is dependent on how much moisture surges into the area, which is uncertain.
  • Overnight into early Monday, the threat of severe storms will likely progress eastward toward the Ark-La-Tex region.
  • Cities: Oklahoma City | Tulsa, Oklahoma | Dallas

Sunday Night's Thunderstorm Forecast


  • The jet stream disturbance will push east bringing the possibility of severe storms to the middle/lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. This includes areas from southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana and western Kentucky southward to parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
  • Damaging wind gusts and large hail are the primary threats, though a couple of tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
  • Cities: Memphis | Little Rock | Paducah, Kentucky
(MORE: Tornadoes in the Southeast May Be Influenced by Mountainous Terrain)

Monday's Thunderstorm Forecast

Round 2: Tuesday-Thursday


  • Right behind the Sunday-Monday system, another round of severe weather will commence in the southern Plains on Tuesday ahead of a new jet stream disturbance.

  • Portions of west Texas and southwest Oklahoma will have the greatest chance of damaging thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

  • Large hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes are all possible threats.

  • Heavy rain could contribute to some flash flooding.
  • Cities: Amarillo, Texas | Abilene, Texas | Lubbock, Texas

Tuesday's Thunderstorm Forecast


  • Tuesday's weather system will continue pushing east on Wednesday with additional severe weather ahead of it in the south-central states.
  • Wednesday's greatest severe weather potential will be from east Texas and southeast Oklahoma to parts of Arkansas and Louisiana.
  • Damaging winds, large hail and a few tornadoes are possible on Wednesday.
  • The severe weather with this system could then flare up across parts of the Deep South on Thursday, but uncertainty remains in the details.

Wednesday's Thunderstorm Forecast

Round 3: Next Weekend?

  • Yet another round of stormy weather could fire up next weekend as a potent jet stream disturbance arrives.
  • It is too soon to go into details, but parts of the south-central states are the most likely area to see strong to severe storms.
  • Heavy rainfall could also be a concern.
(MAPS: 7-Day U.S. Precipitation Forecast Maps)

Drought-Helping Rainfall

The multiple waves of rain and thunderstorms through next weekend will also be beneficial to areas experiencing drought in the middle of the country.
Parts of north Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, eastern Colorado, southern Nebraska and Missouri all have abnormally dry or drought conditions, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday. An inch or more of rain is possible through Thursday in portions of those states.
That said, if too much rain falls in a short period of time in a given spot, we could also see localized flooding materialize.

Rainfall Forecast Through Thursday

Recap: Active Severe Weather Pattern Began Last Thursday

This active jet stream pattern we are currently in the midst of began last Thursday as an energetic disturbance pushed through the jet stream and sparked a low-pressure system east of the central Rockies.
That first system contributed to the development of a brief EF2 tornado that injured six people late Friday night in Cato, Arkansas. Localized areas of damaging wind gusts and hail were also seen in the Plains and South Thursday through Saturday.

MORE: Midwest Severe Weather Outbreak, Feb. 28-March 1

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