Multi-day severe weather outbreak for Central, Southern U.S. - KMSP-TV

Multi-day severe weather outbreak for Central, Southern U.S.

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This year has been a dismal year for severe weather with its quietest start in history, but it looks like things are about to take a turn for the worse as a multi-day severe weather outbreak is expected across parts of the country Sunday through Tuesday.  Very large hail, 100 mph winds, and violent long track tornadoes are all possible during this outbreak.  Warm and moist air is surging northward across the central U.S. helping to destabilize the atmosphere out ahead of our vigorous low that continues its very slow trek across the country.  Check out how the moisture surges northward and why we call this feature a moisture tongue…

Sounds inappropriate, but the reality is, the phrase fits.  Notice how the higher dewpoints (level of moisture in the atmosphere) surge northward and arc in a northwest direction making this feature resemble a tongue.  Combine this added moisture with some warm air AND plenty of spin, thanks to the giant low pressure nearby, and you have a recipe for every type of severe weather imaginable.  Here is Sunday’s severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center.

Slight and moderate risk for almost 30 million people.  To break it down even further, we can look at the probabilities for each severe weather type; wind, hail, and tornadoes.  The Storm Prediction Center highlights each one and shows the probability of one of these getting reported within 50 miles of a point.  Here is the tornado probability for Sunday and Sunday night.

There is clearly a lot happening on this map.  So the colors across the area indicate the probability of getting a tornado within 50 miles of one point.  So let’s say for example that we live in Columbia Missouri, which for argument sake is right smack dab in the middle of the state.  That puts them in the 15% category.  So that means, that there is a 15% chance of a tornado occurring within 50 miles of Columbia.  But then there are dashes through much of the state of Missouri and Arkansas.  We call these hash marks.  So Columbia is in the 15% hatched area for tornadoes.  The hatches mean there is a good probability for significant severe weather.  In the case for tornadoes, those would include the violent and often long track kind of EF3-EF5.  For other types of severe weather, significant would include hail larger than golf balls, and winds in excess of 70 mph.  So, here are the probabilities for hail and wind.

You can see that the possibility for hail is far greater than the possibility for strong winds.  This is one of the many ways local meteorologists can determine the primary threats for severe weather.  More of the same can be expected further East Monday and Tuesday.  Here are the severe weather outlooks for both days bearing in mind that these will change a bit as we get closer.

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