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May Cold Front-Storm Chances-Hurricane Forecast

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Seems VERY strange that here it is the last few days of May and we have a decent for May cold front on the back door, but here we are trying to figure out whether or not the front will be able to create enough instability to bust through one of the strongest caps we’ll see for the entire spring season that is on top of us as of this writing.

Here is the latest weather map showing where the front is as of 11AM this morning.

One thing you’ll notice is that the air behind the front is certainly cooler…we’re talking 50s/60s in Nebraska now…which is pretty impressive for the late part of May.

The front will be on top of the metro in the next few hours and will move SE of the metro later this afternoon. Ahead of the front temperatures will reach the 80s and the instability in the lower part of the atmosphere will certainly be there. The problem with this set up is as the air starts to rise it’s going to run into a horizontal “brick wall” in the form of the CAP which is VERY strong right now in the region. Here are the temperatures @ 10K feet in °C.

That’s +14-+15 air at that level is about as strong a CAP as you will get in a severe weather season. Now take a look farther west through Central and Western KS…and notice how the dashed red lines drop off substantially. That is where the CAP disappears, the problem is that the CAP will weaken here well after the front comes through. So while some weird t/showers can’t be ruled out this afternoon, the better chances may lie towards the SE of the metro closer to the Lakes region. the area most prone to an outbreak of severe weather is across the upper Midwest region. The SPC has highlighted that region with a Moderate Risk of severe weather.

That boundary will then stall and start retreating northwards tomorrow. As it does so, additional storms are possible but will be scattered in the region.

There are no changes needed to my weekend weather blog from yesterday.

Today NOAA came out with their 2012 Hurricane Season forecast. Here is a snippet from the release issued.

“Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, NOAA announced today from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.

For the entire six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

“NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.” Andrew, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.

Favoring storm development in 2012: the continuation of the overall conditions associated with the Atlantic high-activity era that began in 1995, in addition to near-average sea surface temperatures across much of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, known as the Main Development Region. Two factors now in place that can limit storm development, if they persist, are: strong wind shear, which is hostile to hurricane formation in the Main Development Region, and cooler sea surface temperatures in the far eastern Atlantic.”

I’ll keep an eye on things for you.

Joe

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