We need a bigger boat!
As I write this weather blog up the line of severe thunderstorms is moving east of Tulsa. It was an interesting day weather wise to say the least.
Looking back on the day it could have been much worse. I think everyone knows this. IMO the fact that the t'storms went up so early in the day in the Texas Panhandle saved us from having a huge tornado outbreak. Everyone talks about the "CAP" and how having a "CAP" on many days prevents us from having severe weather. The "CAP" refers to warm air in the mid levels of the atmosphere that prevents t'storms from forming. Well here's an instance where having little to no "CAP" saved us. The weather is always a delicate balance of wind and energy. You need a "CAP" for big severe weather days so that you build up the potential energy in the atmosphere and then release it all at once when the "CAP" breaks. The loaded gun scenario. We had no "CAP' today so storms go up early and limit instability. We still had tornadoes because the upper storm system and strong wind dynamics overcame the lack of instability and little "CAP".
Here are the preliminary tornado / severe reports that have "officially" come in so far.
There was at least one long track tornado in Oklahoma that I know of. Here's the preliminary track from the National Weather Service in OKC. NWS OKC tweeted that a tornado damage survey team will go out to investigate Sunday. It's the Elmer-Tipton tornado.
Here are a few pics of the tornado I stole from internet / social media sites. I'm not going to credit anyone since I'm not sure who to credit. Nobody claimed responsibility except for one and it's identified on the pic. Storm chase video of the tornado, yikes!
Obviously, this was a significant tornado and the radar presentation was equally impressive! I wish I saved a screen shot of this storm on radar. There were other well structured rotating storms with tornado warnings but I haven't seen any pics or video so far. The great news is that I haven't heard any reports of widespread damage or injuries as most of the tornadoes missed larger towns.
We were lucky in central Oklahoma in and around OKC that the storms developed into a solid line as they moved east toward OKC. Most times when t'storms form a solid line the tornado threat goes down and the straight line wind threat becomes dominate. That's exactly what happened as the t'storms approached OKC. However, eastern Oklahoma not as lucky, as several more isolated t'storms formed east of the line and east of OKC and did produce smaller tornadoes in eastern and northeastern Oklahoma.
Above the upper level weather pattern around midnight Saturday night. You can clearly see the negative tilt upper trough and strong jet streak over the central / southern plains responsible for the severe weather last 24 hours. It's called a short wave trough. But look out west, it's not over yet. That next short wave trough is already moving east because the LONG WAVE trough is still established to our west. As long as the LONG WAVE trough is established to our west we will continue to have short wave troughs rotate through the flow into Oklahoma and the result is more stormy weather. This pattern is literally a drought buster! More rain, thunder, severe weather and heavy rainfall next week. We need a bigger boat!