Enhanced Risk of Severe Weather Today 1/21/2016

Enhanced Risk
SPC issued an Enhanced Risk of Severe Weather Today

Our own Scott Peake is chasing today in Louisiana -stay tuned for pictures & video!

As of writing this, there is already a tornado-warned storm near Farrsville, TX, and storms by Lake Charles, LA are already showing signs of rotation.

GR LEVEL2 Radar shows the tornado warning near Farrsville, TX.
GR LEVEL2 Radar shows the tornado warning near Farrsville, TX.
SPC has issued a 10% tornado outlook for today. A 10% means that any given point in that outlined area has a 10% chance of getting hit by a tornado- in this perspective, 10% is actually a relatively likely probability.
SPC has issued a 10% tornado outlook for today. A 10% means that any given point in that outlined area has a 10% chance of getting hit by a tornado- in this perspective, 10% is actually a relatively likely probability.

Severe weather setups are actually quite common in the Southeastern United States during the winter months. Currently, there is a low centered over the Texas/Louisiana border with storms ongoing in its center. There is a warm front in southern Louisiana, and high dew points (mid to upper 60 degree dews) in the warm sector of this low.

Surface observations from http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/ show the high dew points in the warm sector.
Surface observations from http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/ show the high dew points in the warm sector.

Typically in the Southeast, we get severe weather in ‘high shear, low CAPE’ environments. Today however, there is also high CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) or instability. Current surface-based CAPE analysis is showing values of 2500J/KG of CAPE in southern Louisiana and extreme SE Texas.

SPC Mesoanalysis showing surface-based CAPE
SPC Mesoanalysis showing surface-based CAPE

These higher CAPE values increase the likelihood for large hail. The 2500 J/KG CAPE combined with high shear and good storm relative helicity are key ingredients for severe weather. Strong to severe supercells are already on-going and tornadoes are likely.

shear & helicity
0-6km shear and 0-3km helicity from current SPC Mesoanalyis

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SPC RADAR & Tornado Watch
SPC Mesoanalysis Radar showing storms underway in the Tornado Watch

Currently there is a Tornado Watch until 7:00pm CDT – in this Tornado Watch

“A FEW TORNADOES LIKELY
SCATTERED LARGE HAIL AND ISOLATED VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
SCATTERED DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE”

If you live in the the risk of severe weather today, please stay tuned to local TV/News and NOAA Weather Radio / phone alerts for tornado warnings & seek shelter if you happen to be in one!

– Lauren Forney
WAS*IS (Weather and Society Integrated Studies) & VORTEX 2
Follow Lauren on Twitter! @LaurenHForney

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