Researchers are on their way to Huntsville AL for the first IOP.
Forecast models are still portraying the overall scenario of the last few days. A significant wave will pass through AL Saturday and Saturday night. It looks like there will probably be a QLCS on Saturday night, and shear and CAPE look sufficient for there to be tornado potential. Around here, CAPE > 0 is of concern; this system looks like it will have CAPE around 500 J/kg, possibly approach 1000 J/kg during the afternoon.
We are also watching for the risk of a few storms, perhaps with tornado potential, ahead of the QLCS. With the typical very weak cap in the low-levels, any lifting could get things going, and this is usually not forecast well by any of the current models.
This forecast process has been fairly consistent with what we experienced last year. The large waves that set up the conditions for tornadoes in the Southeast are reasonably well forecast in the global models. The forecasted position, timing, and intensity fluctuates from day-to-day, but we’ve had pretty good luck deciding when to convene an IOP. The details of when and where convection will form are very hard to pin down, and forecasting the likelihood of a tornado in time to let teams put instruments ahead of the storm is harder still.
It now looks like another wave will affect the region late Monday, with a return of conditions possibly supportive of tornadic storms. Thereafter, it seems that the parade of waves might continue a bit longer.
Tomorrow the NOAA P-3 aircraft will conduct a solo mission to try to obtain Doppler radar data on the storms that occur in AR and LA. On Saturday, they will fly again looking at the storms over our northern AL domain.
I will be busy with planning and operations tomorrow, and especially Saturday, so I may not be able to squeeze in blogging.