Weather Blog: Potential Storms Today and Tomorrow

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Some big weather changes to talk about coming up over the next 48 hours.

The big items worth mention include thunder/severe potential tonight into Saturday morning, as well as strong wind and fire weather potential Saturday afternoon.

Some isolated showers and storms are already developing over the region as a result of mid level warm advection/isentropic lift.

Model data is hitting the ozarks of northwest Arkansas and far northeast Oklahoma for more numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms later this morning in association with this forcing.

Shower activity may also increase this afternoon over southeast Oklahoma due to increasing warm advection there as well.

Now to tonight into Saturday morning. A powerful shortwave trough will eject northeast over the central
Plains over the next 48 hours. Due to the low-level mass response from the approaching system, the front near the coast, which separates much cooler continental air from the true warm sector gulf air, will lift north into the ArkLaTex while low-level moisture increases over our area.

Forcing for ascent will increase late Friday night into Saturday, with showers and storms increasing in coverage by early Saturday morning ahead of the Pacific front.

The ECMWF shows a decent pocket of instability developing over southeast Oklahoma into west central Arkansas by noon Saturday, with the GFS showing a similar idea, though not as aggressive.

Model soundings from the NAM/GFS at Hugo and Fort Smith both show a stable surface layer beneath a destabilizing profile above, which isn`t surprising with the true warm front expected to stay to our south.

Thus, with any storms that develop Friday night into Saturday morning over our area, they are likely to be elevated and will pose a large hail threat. This activity will exit to the east fairly quickly, probably by 9 a.m. Saturday.

Skies will clear behind the Pacific front and a strong surface low pressure will slide by to our north over Kansas during the day Saturday.

In addition, the mid-level will slide overhead. This will set the stage for a classic big wind gust setup due to momentum transfer, most likely across northeast Oklahoma and far northwest Arkansas. There is, however, big disagreement in the low to mid-level kinematic fields between the NAM and GFS. If the GFS is right, our houses would blow away.

The NAM is not near as aggressive, but still shows a solid wind advisory event across our area. For now, we will lean with the latter solution. A wind advisory is almost a certainty for Saturday afternoon.

High temps will climb well above average on saturday in the downslope flow regime. As dewpoints and humidity drop with the strong winds, there will obviously be a fire weather concern.

However, the recent cold and wet weather have left fuels in an unfavorable position to support a big fire day.  Thus, while there is potential for a fire or two to get out of hand with the strong winds, a big fire day is not expected.

A polar front will slide quickly across the region late Saturday into Saturday evening. Some strong wind gusts are likely to continue into the evening across the Ozarks. A cooler, much less windy and sunny day is in store to close out the weekend.

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