A moderate risk for severe weather exists across parts of the Plains and Midwest today, extending through many of the population centers in Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. All modes of severe weather are possible, including strong tornadoes, very large hail, and wind gusts in excess of 80 MPH.
Strong wind shear and an intense low-level jet (unusually strong winds around 5,000 feet above ground level), along with ample instability, will create an environment ripe for a significant severe weather outbreak across the red-shaded areas on the above map. The setup is conducive to large supercell thunderstorms that are typical of the region for the middle of spring.
The outbreak could be similar in strength to the one that occurred yesterday; it resulted in almost 200 reports of hail, 57 reports of wind damage, and 12 tornado reports.
As of their forecast at 2AM CDT, the Storm Prediction Center outlined the following areas as at-risk for severe weather.
The largest risk for tornadoes lies in the yellow-shaded, black-hatched regions from Kansas to Iowa. Essentially, the 10% means that there is a 10% chance of tornadoes within 25 miles of any point within the shaded area. It seems low but those are pretty decent chances, as 2% usually warrants concern.
The black hatching indicates that there is a risk for some violent, long-track tornadoes.
Here's the hail risk for today. 15% usually warrants concern, so the 45% area indicates a significant risk for hail larger than golf balls.
This kind of weather is nothing abnormal for this part of the country for this time of the year. Folks in the central United states are used to it. You know the drill — be prepared for severe weather and keep up-to-date on warnings from the National Weather Service and severe weather watches/forecasts from the Storm Prediction Center. Stay safe.
[Images via SPC]