Significant Tornado Outbeak Misses Texoma, Hits Midwest/South

Severe weather season begins in March and generally goes through June.  And, many years there is a minor severe weather season across Texoma in October/November.  But this year the season has been very very quiet.  And up until last week the numbers of tornadoes that had been confirmed across the nation was very low and no one had been killed.  That has changed.

About mid-week last week computer models were pointing to the possibility that Texoma and most of central Oklahoma would be the center of activity for a significant tornado outbreak on Saturday.  Behind the scenes alarms sounded and plans were put in place to cover the impending event.  But with all weather, hours and eventually days can drastically change the forecast as weather elements come together differently.  This was the case in last weeks forecast.

By Friday morning word came down from both the Storm Prediction Center and the Norman National Weather Service Office that the ingredients were not coming together for a significant tornado outbreak in the area...this was welcome and good news.  But there was still the risk of general severe weather on the day including large hail and damaging thunderstorm wind gusts and of course the opportunity (not threat) of heavy rain.  But as the day, Saturday, went by hour by hour new information was indicating that the atmosphere was not primed to produce severe weather, let alone heavy rain.

In the end, Saturday night saw just a few random strong to severe thunderstorms in far west Texoma producing borderline severe hail.  And, there was a second round of strong to severe thunderstorms around sunrise Sunday.

Lucky for Texoma the ingredients for any significant severe weather would not come together that day but it would the next, on Sunday.

Sundays thunderstorms were forecast to be on the high end severe and tornadic.  The target area was Arkansas and surrounding states.  And, that is exactly what happened. 

As of the time of writing this, the total number of tornado reports on Sunday is 23 with over a dozen confirmed dead.  The total number of severe weather reports are in the hundreds.

The ingredients that created this tornado outbreak included the following:
  • Dry line moving across Missouri, Arkansas and Texas
  • Warm front across the Ohio River Valley
  • Surface and upper level low pressure over the Nebraska and Iowa
  • Surface cold front moving across Kansas

Although this tornado outbreak and severe event is significant it isn't a record breaker or comparable to some of the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in years past.

I encourage you to look through the selection of attached pictures.  A majority of the pictures are from Twitter during the day on Sunday.  There is also attached a map of the Midwest, Great Plains and Deep South with severe weather and tornado reports.  And, of course watch the video for a more detailed explanation of the event and why it didn't effect Texoma.

KFDX Meteorologist Bryan Rupp

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