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Forecast and Severe Outlook: Sunday, May 8th

After yesterday’s tornadoes in Colorado, Severe weather is forecast to continue on the Plains today.  A few tornadoes, very large hail and damaging winds will be the primary threats.

The current Surface Analysis

Surface map us

Today’s National Forecast

Weather Forecast map

A broad upper low currently centered over the Great Basin and southwestern U.S. is expected to slowly lift northeastward this period. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast to continue today from the Sierra eastward to the central and southern Rockies, with precipitation expected to end by early Monday across California and much of the Great Basin as the aforementioned low reaches the central Great Plains.

Further to the east, southerly winds are expected to draw moist, unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico northward increasing the threat for strong to severe thunderstorms across portions of the southern and central Great Plains. On Monday, the threat is forecast to shift further east, extending into portions of the lower and mid Mississippi valley.

The greatest potential for heavy rainfall accumulations is expected center across the lower Missouri and mid Mississippi valleys. Moisture advecting from the south is forecast to focus along a slow moving frontal boundary, supporting heavy rains across the region.

Across the Northeast, a strong low moving across southeastern Canada is expected to usher in cooler temperatures and another chance for showers and thunderstorms early Sunday. Further to the south, scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast to focus near a frontal boundary dropping into the region. Meanwhile, high pressure and dry conditions are likely to prevail across the Southeast.

Current Severe Weather Outlook

Fire Weather Update

Fire Weather

Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
Critical 50,750 896,717 Las Cruces, NM…Roswell, NM…Clovis, NM…Carlsbad, NM…Portales, NM…

A Critical Fire Weather area has been issued for portions of Eastern New Mexico and Far West Texas.

Severe Weather Analysis


Severe Outlook

Day 1 Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
ENHANCED 51,455 1,370,679 Wichita, KS…Enid, OK…Salina, KS…Hutchinson, KS…Dodge City, KS…
SLIGHT 163,105 8,307,061 Oklahoma City, OK…Kansas City, MO…Omaha, NE…Tulsa, OK…Lincoln, NE…
MARGINAL 109,930 5,511,073 Fort Worth, TX…Arlington, TX…Des Moines, IA…Grand Prairie, TX…Denton, TX…

Severe thunderstorms are forecast across much of the Central and Southern Plains Sunday afternoon into evening. Very large hail and a few tornadoes are anticipated with the primary threat area from Central Kansas into Northwestern Oklahoma beginning in the late afternoon.

Tornado Risk

tornado risk

Day 1 Tornado Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SIG SEVERE 38,306 907,149 Wichita, KS…Enid, OK…Hutchinson, KS…Dodge City, KS…Hays, KS…
10 % 37,880 807,808 Wichita, KS…Enid, OK…Hutchinson, KS…Dodge City, KS…Hays, KS…
5 % 57,931 1,772,470 Edmond, OK…Salina, KS…Manhattan, KS…Stillwater, OK…Kearney, NE…
2 % 35,823 1,715,349 Oklahoma City, OK…Lincoln, NE…Topeka, KS…Norman, OK…Lawton, OK…

Hail Risk

hail risk

Day 1 Hail Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SIG SEVERE 50,943 1,364,854 Wichita, KS…Enid, OK…Salina, KS…Hutchinson, KS…Dodge City, KS…
30 % 51,776 1,381,121 Wichita, KS…Enid, OK…Salina, KS…Hutchinson, KS…Dodge City, KS…
15 % 163,586 8,317,521 Oklahoma City, OK…Kansas City, MO…Omaha, NE…Tulsa, OK…Lincoln, NE…
5 % 112,522 5,439,040 Fort Worth, TX…Arlington, TX…Killeen, TX…Denton, TX…Lewisville, TX…


Low pressure will quickly deepen across Southwest Kansas today as strong moisture advection takes place across the Southern Plains. A well-developed Dryline should be in place by this afternoon from Southwest Kansas into Western Oklahoma and Northwest Texas with Dewpoints at the surface getting into the 60s.  Widely spaced thunderstorms are expected to develop along and east of the Dryline during the mid to late afternoon.

The model forecast soundings for the day are impressive with high levels of CAPE and shear. These conditions are very favorable to supercell development.  Tornadoes, very large hail and wind damage are likely with any cell that develops east of the Dryline.  The Storm Prediction Center has removed the moderate risk they issued yesterday for this region due to some uncertainty in the levels of moisture available to the storms, but a wider area of enhanced risk has been created overnight and I will not be surprised if an area of moderate risk is reintroduced as observations create more certainty for moisture levels.

Further south along the Dryline, from Northwest Texas down to the Rio Grande, moderate instability will form when daytime heating combines with a retreating Dryline and the arrival of moisture advection this afternoon. Widely spaced thunderstorms should form along the Dryline.  This activity will move eastward into an area of increasing low level flow.  Supercells with large hail and damaging wind will be likely.

This Week’s Flood Risk

Flood Risk

Yesterday’s Storm Reports

storm reports 2

Robert Millette

Staff Meteorologist

Firsthand Weather