The weather setup is pointing to a classic severe weather scenario for a part of the United States known as Tornado Alley later this week, with storms that could produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
Although most people think of spring as the time for severe weather, fall is the country’s second severe weather season.
“This is the second peak of their season for tornadoes,” said FOX Weather meteorologist Steve Bender.
Bender said fall severe weather can be more dangerous because shorter days make tornadoes more likely in the dark.
NIGHT TORNADOS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE DEAD THAN DAY TORNADOS
Look west to get an idea of what’s to come. The jet stream, a flow of fast-moving air that we can think of as the division between cooler and warmer air, will dip south earlier this week, making for a wet west coast, according to the FOX Forecast Center. The energy generated by this trough or jet stream dip has already dropped 4 to 6 inches of rain over the Washington state mountains.
SKIERS REJOICE AS CALIFORNIA’S SIERRA NEVADA RECEIVES THE FIRST BIG SNOW OF THE SEASON; MORE SNOW IS COMING OVER THE WEST
The extreme pattern will bring the first big snow of the season to the mountains of California’s Sierra Nevada. However, the dip cuts into what is known as a cut-off low. This means that the energy that would normally be driven east by the jet stream will remain over the Four Corners region for a few days.
238 MPH JET STREAM TAKES OFF AN HOUR OF OVERCOUNTRY FLIGHTS TO THE EAST COAST
Before the depression, the atmosphere supplies the area with storm fuel – warm and humid air.
“You get all the moisture from the Gulf pumped through the Lone Star State in Oklahoma and Kansas,” Bender said. “Then the collision course happens, and you’re going to see this wind shear that’s really increasing in West Texas and the Permian Basin.”
Wind shear is one of the ingredients that causes thunderstorms and tornadoes. As the cutoff low slowly moves east, the energy will act on the warm, humid air, keeping the severe weather threat in the forecast for several days.
“So now you have the winds that are picking up, but that’s dry, cooler air that’s dipping underneath the warm, humid air, creating that potential for these thunderstorms and severe weather in west and central Texas all the way to Oklahoma, Kansas and parts of the… Southern Nebraska,” Bender said.
The FOX Forecast Center has put Hays and Dodge City in Kansas, Guymon and Woodward in Oklahoma, and Amarillo and Lubbock in Texas in the red Thursday, meaning severe storms are likely.
IT’S NO LONGER YOUR GRANDPARENTS’ TORNADO ALLEY
Friday and early Saturday
Severe storms are slowly pushing east and south on Friday. Storms are likely from Oklahoma City to Del Rio, Texas. FOX Weather’s Future Track charts dangerous late-night and late-night storms in Oklahoma City through Saturday morning. Abilene, San Angelo and Midland in Texas could also be woken up early thanks to storms.
“It goes on until Saturday morning,” said Bender. “The I-35 corridor, Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, San Antonio and Austin are all being hammered with it. All the way to Oklahoma City before marching into the ArkLaTex on Saturday afternoon and evening, down toward the Gulf Coast.”
“Some areas like Oklahoma City could face this severe weather threat two days in a row,” he added.
Flash floods possible
With the storms comes the possibility of heavy rains that could cause flash flooding in some parts of the Southern Plains. The FOX Forecast Center is calling for up to 5 inches of rain in a swath stretching across parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. Up to 3 inches of rain is possible across much of Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas.
Sign up for severe weather alerts and alerts in the FOX Weather app to be notified when you need to take cover and find your safe spot. Watch FOX Weather online or on TV to follow the progress of storms throughout the week.