Tracking Thursday tornado threat

Be careful what you ask for?

Our milder spring weather is finally here this week. Warmer spring temperatures in Minnesota bring green shoots in our landscape, and also pretty colors on the weather maps and your local Doppler radar.

The next wave of low pressure, and a potent warm front moves into the Upper Midwest in the next 48 hours. It carries along  a couple waves of showers and thunderstorms, and the potential for some severe weather.

NOAA

T-Storms return

The next 48 hours look increasingly active for showers and some strong to severe storms across Minnesota. Coverage may be spotty overnight into Wednesday. Thursday should feature more widespread showers and storms, and severe parameters indicate an increasing potential fro severe weather Thursday across southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Here’s a close up look dialing in on temps and storm chances the next 48 hours.

Weatherspark

Breaking down the severe risk

The warm front riding north Wednesday is a potent one. Check out the impressive temperature contrast Wednesday afternoon…from 50s and 60s north of the front in Minnesota to 90s in Iowa and Kansas.

NOAA

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center paints a slight risk Wednesday for much of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Storm structure Wednesday favors large hail and damaging winds.

NOAA/SPC

Here’s the Wednesday Weather Geek verbiage from some of the best severe weather minds in the business at the Storm Prediction Center.

…NEB AND SERN SD THROUGH IA…MN AND WI…

AN E-W BAROCLINIC ZONE WILL PERSIST FROM NEB EWD THROUGH NRN IA INTO NRN IL/SRN WI. DRYLINE SOUTH OF THIS BOUNDARY IS EXPECTED TO MIX THROUGH ERN NEB…AND MODERATE SFC BASED CAPE WILL DEVELOP WITHIN MOIST AXIS EAST OF THE DRYLINE. HOWEVER…WARM AIR AT EML BASE WILL LIKELY SERVE TO CAP MOST OF WARM SECTOR…BUT AREAS NORTH OF THE E-W FRONT SHOULD REMAIN CONVECTIVE ACTIVE. SUFFICIENT SHEAR AND INSTABILITY WILL EXIST WITHIN THE ZONE OF ASCENT NORTH OF THE FRONT TO SUPPORT A THREAT FOR ISOLATED LARGE HAIL AND POSSIBLY DAMAGING WIND.

Thursday’s severe threat looks potentially more potent to me for Minnesota.

NOAA/SPC

Forecasting tornadoes is generally a more hour to hour process with a shorter lead time. Everything has to come together just right. I can’t say for sure we’ll see tornadoes in Minnesota Thursday…but the threat is definitely there.

Here’s  NOAA SPC on Thursday’s potential tornado threat.

GREATEST RISK FOR TORNADOES WOULD APPEAR TO EXIST INVOF THE MAIN SURFACE LOW IN THE MN VICINITY DURING THE AFTERNOON...AND POSSIBLY INTO EARLY EVENING ACROSS PARTS OF NRN OK/KS NEAR A POSSIBLE SECONDARY LOW. OTHERWISE…LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE THE PRIMARY SEVERE RISKS INTO THE EVENING HOURS.

I would say at this point there is a strong possibility of severe weather and tornado watches and or warnings Thursday. It will be a good idea to raise the level your “situational awareness” now…and carry it through Thursday. Keep an eye on forecasts, and be ready for watches and warnings in the next 48 hours.