TWISTEX Field Operations for May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011 – 5:46 am

Currently in Leavenworth, Kansas

Yesterday:

Intercepted tornado producing supercell that crossed over Topeka last night.  Watched in disbelief as the strong rotation crossed right over downtown Topeka.  Fortunately, it did not produce any tornadoes until the storm moved northeast of Topeka.  Partially blocked by trees, team members witnessed the tornado as it crossed Perry Lake.  Deployed the EWR radar several times and was able to watch the velocity couplet on radar as the storm moved northeast.  Limited visibility and trying to cross the Kansas river prevented us from getting close enough for deployment.

Today:

An active day is ahead for several areas of the country today.  The best 500 flow seems to be over Iowa and Illinois by late afternoon, but it appears that the best combination of CAPE and Helicity is over the Oklahoma area.  EHI values over 12 are suggested by the RUC just east of the Oklahoma City area.  500 winds are only 40 knots, but jet stream flow (200 mb) will be pushing 100+ knots.  Huge moisture pool across Oklahoma with southerly winds should provide a good combination for supercells and tornadoes today.  Our initial target is Oklahoma City.

Tomorrow:

The active pattern continues tomorrow for western Oklahoma as the next wave slowly ejects out into the southern plains.  0z models suggest that the wave is slow to eject out, but enough shear should be in place for supercells across western Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas.  The dryline will retreat west overnight tonight as a new surface cyclone develops over the Texas panhandle by tomorrow afternoon.  At the moment, we’re targeting the area around the Gage to the Woodward area.

Future:

Tuesday looks like a very active day for tornadoes across Oklahoma.  Too far out to nail anything specific right now.

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