Violent thunderstorms are developing over the south central Plains this evening, which may spawn “significant tornadoes” according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
Tornado watches have already been posted for eastern Kansas and Oklahoma, and are likely to be extended into northern Texas. Cities that may be impacted by severe storms include Dallas, Tulsa, and Topeka.
In eastern Oklahoma, SPC is calling this a “particularly dangerous situation”, cautioning that tornadoes may be “destructive.” The rotating, supercell storms may also contain hail to four inches in diameter (i.e. baseball size). The first tornado warning was issued for Osage County, OK (until 4:45 p.m. CT) around 4:10 p.m. CT. Additional warnings have since been (and continue to be) issued. At least one tornado has touched down.
The explosive thunderstorms are being fueled by the convergence of dry, cold air aloft (powered by a strong jet stream) and warm, very humid air (originating from the Gulf of Mexico) at the surface.
The Twitter feeds of severe weather experts and storm chasers are lighting up as the storms start to blossom. Here are some examples:
@reedtimmerTVN: this is going to be a MAJOR tornado outbreak for OK. biggest in a long time. this is a very dangerous situation
@tornadoquest: Setups like this are unusually volatile w/ strong/violent tornadoes possible. Haven’t seen a setup like this in E. OK 4 some time.
@PV_Anomaly: I am currently blown away by what I am seeing unfold down south.
The storm risk will shift east later tonight, potentially affecting western Arkansas, southwest Missouri, and northern Louisiana. Tomorrow, severe storms are likely to impact the Deep South and Tennesse Valley. By this storm system reaches the East Coast Saturday, the severe storm potential may lessen, but SPC indicates there is a slight risk from eastern Georgia through central Virginia.
You can follow/track the action on our Weather Wall at postweather.com. Click on the Storms tab, and interact with the various controls and overlays that can be turned on and off.