Oklahoma: The perfect setup for storms - | WBTV Charlotte

Oklahoma: The perfect setup for storms


Friday afternoon, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a Tornado Watch for much of central Oklahoma; the same area that was battered by another tornado outbreak less than two weeks ago. That system included an EF-5 tornado that moved through Moore, OK.

Once again forecasters were particularly concerned. The atmosphere was a perfect breeding ground for intense and possibly deadly storms.

One of the most important tools forecasters use in determining the probability and type of severe weather is what's known as the forecast sounding. When forecasters looked at the sounding from Friday afternoon, they found what's known as a loaded gun.

That means that there is plenty of energy in the atmosphere to propel air parcels upward, a must for thunderstorm development.

There's also an inversion, which keeps a lid on convection until daytime heating hits its peak, further strengthening storms that manage to break through.

There was also directional wind shear, which means winds are coming from different directions as you head upward in the atmosphere. A setup like this indicates a strong likelihood of severe weather, and possibly large, damaging tornadoes.

Knowing this, forecasters used the words "particularly dangerous situation," also referred to as a PDS. These words are rarely used. The last time a PDS was included in a watch was back in April of 2012.

As this front makes its way toward the Carolinas, very different results will occur. Thunderstorms are possible, but severe weather is unlikely. The front will be less pronounced and upper level dynamics seen in the Midwest simply aren't there. However, with the slow progression of this line, localized flooding will be possible.

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