Archive for April 14, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas — (DMN) – A storm system may move into the Houston area as early as Sunday afternoon, forecasters say. A line of strong thunderstorms associated with a cold front should reach areas to the northeast of Houston around noon, and move eastward throughout the afternoon and evening. Forecasters with the Houston/Galveston office of the National Weather Service say the line of storms should reach downtown Houston around 6 p.m. Along with the rain, the line of showers could bring strong winds, hail and a slight chance of isolated tornadoes.
What’s not entirely clear is whether the front will stall along the coast late Sunday or Monday, or continue moving slowly eastward. As of Saturday evening, forecasters believe the former scenario will happen, bringing an average of 1 to 3 inches of rain across the Houston area, with isolated totals of 3 to 5 inches. This probably would not require a flash flood watch but would make Monday morning’s commute a soggy one. In this scenario, rains would be heaviest to the north and west of U.S. 59 on Sunday, and heavier along the coast on Monday. A chance of rain would linger into midweek. However some forecast models suggest that the cold front will not stall, in which case the area will receive considerably less rainfall, and cooler conditions during the rest of the week.
Multiple tornadoes have been indicated on the ground by radar most of this evening.
OMAHA, Nebraska — (DMN) – The Storm Prediction Center reports 59 tornadoes on the ground at some point today. Earlier, DMNEWSI’s Storm Predator Radar picked up four areas of rotation south of Des Moines, Iowa. A possible tornado struck a hospital Saturday evening in Creston, Iowa, according to a dispatcher with the Union County Sheriff’s Department. A search-and-rescue operation was under way. “We have been hit. We are triaging and moving patients,” a spokeswoman at Greater Regional Medical Center in the south-central Iowa city confirmed.
The development came as a series of tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms churned Saturday evening toward larger cities in the southern and central Plains. Storm chasers broadcast images of funnel clouds roaring through rural landscapes. Residents in some areas received new warnings intended to grab their attention and prompt them to find safe shelter. In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback issued this advisory: “If you’re on the road, get off as soon as you can and find some shelter.” The region had 48 preliminary tornado reports by 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday, according to CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. Most were in rural areas and damage was reported to be relatively minor, including downed trees and power lines and minor flooding.
The tornado outbreak had been predicted by forecasters, who said there was a “high risk” of severe thunderstorms into Sunday in portions of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma. More than 5 million people live in those risk areas. A tornado touchdown was reported near Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and a large tornado advanced on Salina, Kansas, just before sundown. The National Weather Service’s Wichita, Kansas, office, taking part in an experimental warning system, used graphic terms to warn residents of potential harm. The warnings are used by media outlets.
Residents near Brookville, Kansas, for example, were told “major house and building damage was likely and complete destruction was possible.” At least four apparent tornadoes were reported near Dodge City, in southwestern Kansas, officials said. Two were reported in Rush County. “It’s been an interesting day,” said meteorologist Mike Scott, adding severe storms arrived earlier than expected. Forecasters said a “dry line” colliding with moist Gulf air was making for dangerous conditions. A dry line is a boundary that separates warm, moist air from dry desert air. “Everything west of that line is very dry and is associated with downsloping winds,” Scott said.
Four active tornado warnings and four tornado watches were in effect Saturday evening in the region. Two of the watches that extend from Iowa and Nebraska south into Kansas and Oklahoma are “Particularly Dangerous Situation” watches, meaning there is a significant chance of long-track, damaging tornadoes. The tornado threat may increase late Saturday as storms move through more populated areas such as Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Wichita; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Tennis-ball-sized hail and winds of up to 60 miles per hour were reported in Nebraska’s Antelope and Boone counties, said Mike Moritz of the National Weather Service office in Hastings, Nebraska. Tornado reports came in from Hardy and Deshler, Nebraska, and Tipton, Kansas. None was a long-track tornado. Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist in the agency’s Norman, Oklahoma, office, said a line of supercell thunderstorms stretched Saturday afternoon from northwestern Oklahoma to the Texas Panhandle. A tornado formed in Woodward, Oklahoma, Smith told CNN. A brief touchdown was reported. “This is just the beginning of what could be a long afternoon and night, and people should pay attention to warnings,” Smith said.
No injuries had been reported in Oklahoma by mid-evening Saturday. According to CNN meteorologist Sean Morris, “high risk” areas could possibly endure EF3 to EF5 tornadoes, packing winds of 136 mph or stronger. CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said the Interstate 35 corridor — from Oklahoma City to Wichita — was among the most threatened areas. An elevated severe thunderstorm “moderate” threat extended from northern Nebraska, southward into the tip of northern Texas. This includes Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Kansas City, Missouri. A “slight” risk area extended all the way from Texas to southwestern Wisconsin.
A severe thunderstorm is defined by the National Weather Service as a thunderstorm that produces at least one or more of the following: winds of at least 58 mph, hail 1 inch in diameter and tornadoes. The predicted severe storms come as five National Weather Service offices in Missouri and Kansas are conducting an experiment on how to better convey risks from tornadoes and severe storms. The “impact based” warning test, which began earlier this month, comes on the heels of the May 22-27 Midwest/Southeast tornado outbreak, including a tornado that killed 158 people in Joplin, Missouri.
The National Weather Service is ratcheting up its efforts to combat complacency, with the help of graphic terms to ensure people find safe shelter. A tornado is confirmed, on average, only once for every four formal warnings. Forecasters in the test area will continue issuing traditional tornado warnings, but for “significant” and “catastrophic” scenarios, they can add information at the bottom of the warnings issued to media outlets. When a storm has the potential to cause “significant” damage, meteorologists may include terms such as “major house and building damage likely,” “complete destruction possible” or “major power outages in path of tornado highly likely.” In a “catastrophic” outlook, descriptions may include “This is a life-threatening situation,” “You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter,” or “complete destruction of entire neighborhoods likely.”
Severe weather is impacting Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa this afternoon. Large areas of the midwest are under storm advisories.
OMAHA, Nebraska — (DMN) – Baseball-sized hail was breaking windows and tearing siding off homes in northeast Nebraska, while tornadoes were spotted in Kansas and Oklahoma on Saturday as forecasters warned residents across the nation’s midsection to brace for “life threatening” weather. Tornado sirens sounded across Oklahoma City before dawn, and at least three possible tornadoes were reported west and north of the city, said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management official Michelann Ooten. Some homes were damaged, though no injuries were immediately reported in any of the states. But the most dangerous weather was expected later in the day, and National Weather Service officials issued a stern warning for residents to prepare for overnight storms that could spawn fast-moving tornadoes. Officials said a large area could be at risk for dangerous storms.
A tornado watch is in effect for parts of Iowa until 9:00 p.m. CT; for parts of Nebraska until 8:00 p.m. CT; and in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma until 6:00 pm CT. The weather service called today’s weather system “a particularly dangerous situation.
“The threat isn’t over with tonight, unfortunately. Severe weather is possible again tomorrow from east Texas and Arkansas and up to into the Great Lakes,” said Bill Bunting, chief of operations at the Storm Prediction Center, which is part of the National Weather Service. “This could go into certainly to overnight situations, which is always of immense concerns to us,” Ooten said. In Nebraska, Boone County Sheriff David Spiegel said the large hail also damaged vehicles and shattered windows in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha. Two possible tornadoes were reported father south in Nebraska near the Kansas border, according to the National Weather Service, which confirmed that at least one rain-wrapped tornado touched down in southwest Kansas and another in Oklahoma.
One of the suspected tornadoes in Oklahoma hit near the small town of Piedmont, taking a similar path as a tornado last May that killed several people, Mayor Valerie Thomerson said. “Because of last year, we’ve had a lot of new people put storm centers into place,” the mayor said, adding that no major damage had been reported. “We’re all very anxious about this afternoon.” The Storm Prediction Center, which is part of the National Weather Service, gave the sobering warning that the outbreak could be a “high-end, life-threatening event.”
It was just the second time in U.S. history that the center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance. The first was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the southeastern U.S., killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee. It’s possible to issue earlier warnings because improvements in storm modeling and technology are letting forecasters predict storms earlier and with greater confidence, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service. In the past, people often have had only minutes of warning when a siren went off. “We’re quite sure (Saturday) will be a very busy and dangerous day in terms of large tornadoes in parts of the central and southern plains,” Vaccaro said Friday. “The ingredients are coming together.”
The city of Norman, Okla., home to the University of Oklahoma campus, got a preview of the potential destruction on Friday when a twister whizzed by the nation’s tornado forecasting headquarters but caused little damage. Norman Regional Hospital and an affiliate treated 19 people for mainly “bumps and bruises,” hospital spokeswoman Kelly Wells said.
I know a little something about the protection of dignitaries. Decades ago I was an Air Force Security Policeman on board the National Emergency Airborne Command Post. Part of my job was the security of the National Command Authority to include the President of The United States. I am not going to divulge particulars of the mission but suffice to say we did our job day in and day out. How do you know this? You probably never heard of the National Emergency Airborne Command Post until now and if you have heard of it, you have never heard of mistakes being made regarding security of the aircraft or it’s occupants.
The same can be said for the United States Secret Service. 365 days a year, these dedicated agents put their lives on the line to protect the President of The United States. Think about that for a minute. Everywhere the President goes…everywhere…the Secret Service is there providing protection that is, arguably, the best in the world. A group of Secret Service agents and officers sent to Colombia ahead of President Barack Obama were relieved of duty and returned home amid allegations of misconduct that involved prostitution, according to two U.S. government sources familiar the investigation.
Roughly a dozen Secret Service members are being investigated over early findings that they allegedly brought back several prostitutes to a hotel in Cartagena, the sources told CNN Saturday. None of the agents or officers were part of the president’s personal protective detail. The incident overshadowed the start of the sixth Summit of the Americas, where the president was to focus on trade, energy and regional security. There was a dispute between at least one Secret Service member and a woman brought back to his hotel over a request to be paid, the U.S. government sources said. At least one of the women brought back to the hotel complained to police, and complaints were filed with the U.S. Embassy, the sources said.
A spokesman for Colombia’s National Police declined to comment, referring questions to the Secret Service. Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovon said that the matter was being turned over to the agency’s internal affairs unit, but declined to provide details about the accusations or the number of agents involved. Before the president’s arrival, he said, a group of Secret Service agents in Cartagena were relieved of duty and replaced after “allegations of misconduct,” he said. “Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other Secret Service personnel. The Secret Service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously,” he said.
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter who has written a book about the Secret Service, said the incident was “clearly the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.” The Washington Post, which was the first to report the story, said it was alerted to the investigation by Kessler. Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, cautioned against characterizing the “isolated incident” as a scandal. “That’s just sort of an overdramatic interpretation of an isolated incident,” he said. “We have to trust the process of the internal review.”
While soliciting prostitution is legal in Colombia, it is considered a breach of the agency’s conduct code, the government sources said. High-level officials in the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security were outraged over the incident, the sources said, noting that the investigation indicated the prostitutes were brought back to a hotel that had been secured for Obama’s visit. The U.S. government sources stressed that there was no threat to Obama. Because the trip already had a large security detail, only some of the recalled agents and officers were replaced, the sources said.
The president arrived in the Colombian coastal resort city Friday, a visit that will mark the most time a U.S. president has spent in that country, where security concerns had limited previous presidential trips. Amid the reports that Secret Service agents were being replaced, two small blasts occurred nearly back-to-back in Cartagena. The explosions, one near a bus station and another near a shopping mall, occurred well away from where the world leaders were gathering for the start of the summit, said Alberto Cantihho Toncell, a spokesman for the Colombia National Police. There were no casualties, and only minor damage was reported, Toncell said.
The explosions came on the heels of a similar one earlier in the day near the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Bogota, authorities said. The blasts were a reminder of the violence that has gripped Colombia as it battled powerful cocaine drug cartels. Violence has significantly fallen off in recent years as the Bogota government, aided by U.S. extradition efforts, has successfully picked apart the cartels. More than 7,600 police officers and thousands more troops have been deployed in the walled colonial city of Cartagena as part of stepped up security for the summit. Submarines are patrolling in the coastal waters near the city, armed helicopters are hovering at the ready and snipers in strategic locations are watching for suspicious activity, officials said before the summit’s start. Anti-explosive robots and radiation detectors are also part of the security detail.
Calling this the “biggest scandal” in the history of the Service is ludicrous. The biggest scandals are the service’s failures which a few and far between. I am not saying this does not warrant a full investigation and that those involved should not be penalized and perhaps fired but its important to remember that this agency performs it’s duties without blemish all of the time and again we are talking about questionable behavior not a breach of security.
ISTANBUL, Turkey — (DMN/Aljazeera) – The latest round of talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program have been described as “completely different” from previous meetings, with no pre-conditions set by the Iranian delegation. A diplomat, who spoke on Saturday about the first meeting between Tehran, Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in more than 24 months, said Saeed Jalili, the Iran delegation leader, steered clear of the preconditions he had set at the last meeting in early 2011. “He [Jalili] seems to have come with an objective to get into a process which is a serious process, which is about what we want to talk about,” said the envoy, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I would say it has been a useful morning’s work.”
He added: “Not only are the atmospherics and the atmosphere completely different from what they were previously but more importantly he [Jalili] is not coming with the same preconditions and what we would consider obstacles that we saw previously.” Another diplomat, who also requested anonymity, described the atmosphere as “positive”. “I would say there was a very constructive atmosphere compared to last time … generally a positive vibe,” he said. “The principle seems to be there for future negotiations.” The talks in Istanbul brought together the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. Along with Germany, the five UN Security Council members are collectively known as the P5+1.
The diplomat said the meeting could pave the way for a second round of talks, but cautioned against early optimism, saying: “We could go backwards this afternoon.” Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from Istanbul, said the sources he had spoken to told him that “although there were no major breakthroughs, no major breakthroughs had been expected”. “I spoke to a source inside the building [where the talks are being held] and he said, ‘They have not resumed since lunch,’” he said. “And that’s a gap of four hours. It’s very difficult - with us being kept out of the talks - to characterize that as good or bad. But I think it is difficult to put a positive spin on a four-hour gap in talks which were supposed to last for only one day.”
Earlier, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief representing the P5+1, said that talks had begun in a “positive atmosphere” with a “desire for substantive progress”, while sources in the Iranian delegation, led by Saeed Jalili, said its negotiators would be “worthy of the Iranian people”. The last round of talks in January 2011 collapsed without agreement on any issues. Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister who is hosting the meeting, said after meeting Jalili on Friday that he anticipated good news by the end of the meeting. Ashton said on Saturday that ”much depends on what Iran is putting on the table today”.
Both sides have said they are ready to work towards resolving the deepening dispute over a nuclear program that Iran insists is for purely peaceful purposes and the US and its allies say is aimed at developing nuclear weapon capabilities. “For their own reasons, each side wants to give diplomacy a chance at this point, to start a process rather than to force a quick fix,” said analyst Michael Adler at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
One Western diplomat said Saturday’s discussions were unlikely to go into detailed issues, saying the immediate objective was finding enough common ground and signs of willingness to co-operate. “My tip is to set your sights low,” the diplomat said. “It is not part of our game plan for tomorrow to lay out a long list of specific demands and conditions. They know what we think about all these things.” Iran said prior to the meeting that it would propose “new initiatives” in Istanbul, but it was unclear whether that meant it was prepared to discuss curbs to its controversial uranium enrichment program. Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University, told Al Jazeera that many in Iran wanted to see if Western nations were sincere about accepting the country’s right to develop peaceful nuclear power, and that Iranian negotiators were ready to be flexible. “If [the West] is truly sincere, the Iranians are planning to take the steps to deal with any concerns that they may have,” said Marandi.
In a sign of what is at stake in the attempt to restart diplomacy, the fate of a new package of sanctions on Iran proposed by US legislators may hinge on whether progress is made at the Istanbul talks. Western officials have made clear their immediate priority is to convince Tehran to cease the higher-grade uranium enrichment it began in 2010. It has since expanded that work, which some analysts say could be a move towards developing nuclear weapons. Iran has signaled some flexibility over halting its enrichment to a fissile purity of 20 per cent, compared with the five percent level required for nuclear power plants, but also suggests it is not ready to do so yet.
Iranian leaders would probably expect to be rewarded with an easing of sanctions if they agreed to scale back their sensitive nuclear work, but Western officials say this is not an issue which is up for negotiation in Istanbul. “Stopping 20 per cent enrichment would be seen as a gesture to start negotiations, not to lift sanctions,” one diplomat at the talks said. Marandi told Al Jazeera that Iranian negotiators would speak “from a position of strength”, but said Western nations opposed to Tehran were using its nuclear programme to exert pressure on the country. “They are now enriching uranium at 20 per cent, of course, for peaceful purposes. They want to produce fuel for the Tehran nuclear reactor,” he said. “They [the West] are using the nuclear program as an excuse to put pressure on Iran. If it wasn’t the nuclear program it would be something else.”
Secret Service agents (seen here in dark sunglasses) provide security for the President of The United States. (FILE photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — (DMN) – A dozen Secret Service agents who are part of the elite presidential security detail were recalled to Washington amid allegations of prostitution in Colombia. The 12 had been among US security officials carrying out intensive preparations ahead of a summit visit by President Barack Obamato Cartagena, a coastal city popular with tourists.
The allegations broke in the Washington Post, which was alerted to the story by Ronald Kessler, a former Post reporter and author of a book on the secret service. Kessler said the secret service agents had been recalled after at least one had become involved with prostitution which is legal in some areas of the city. “One of the agents did not pay one of the prostitutes, and she complained to the police,” Kessler told CNN. “This is clearly the biggest scandal in secret service history,” Kessler added.
A statement issued by a spokesman for the secret service, Edwin Donovan, declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations but confirmed a redeployment of staff. “There have been allegations of misconduct made against the secret service in Cartagena, Colombia, prior to the president’s trip. “Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other secret service personnel. The secret service takes all allegations of misconduct seriously,” the statement said.
The scandal is a major blow to the secret service, which prides itself on discretion and professionalism and has a reputation for taking no chances with presidential security. The story is especially damaging as several bomb blasts rocked Cartagena on Friday during preparations for Obama’s arrival at the Summit of the Americas. Though they occurred far from the summit, it was a reminder of the gang and drug problems the country faces and the need for heavy security in the city.
A heavy Colombian army presence has also been deployed, including thousands of troops and police and even submarines off the coast. Before any presidential trip extensive security precautions are followed by the secret service, with a desire to remain in the background and far from the headlines. But the prostitution allegations are not the first scandal to rock top American security details in recent years. Late last year an agent attached to the state department’s bureau of diplomatic security was accused of shooting dead a man inside a McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. The agent had been on the islands preparing security for an economic summit to be attended by the Obamas.
Last summer a secret service agent was arrested for drink-driving in Iowa after Obama paid a visit to the state. The agent was off duty at the time. One of the biggest embarrassments to the secret service was the bizarre case of the so-called “White House party crashers” in 2010. Tareq and Micheale Salahi, cast members of a reality TV show about Washington socialites, managed to bluff their way into a state dinner at the White House, despite having no invitation. The pair casually breached massive security and ended up posing for pictures with the vice-president, Joe Biden, and mingling with other high-powered guests.
The Guardian contributed to this report.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — (DMN) – Tornado sirens sounded across Oklahoma City hours before dawn Saturday as the nation’s midsection braced for what forecasters cautioned could be a day of “life-threatening” storms, with the most dangerous weather expected to develop in the afternoon. While officials warned a large area spanning from Minnesota to Texas could be at risk during the weekend, emergency workers focused their attention overnight on central Oklahoma, where they said funnel clouds had been spotted though they couldn’t immediately confirm if any had touched down. The area includes the small town of Piedmont, where a twister last May killed several people, including two young boys, authorities said. “They’re probably feeling like they’re going through that all over again,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said Saturday.
The worst conditions were projected for late Saturday afternoon between Oklahoma City and Salina, Kan., but other areas also could see severe storms with baseball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph, forecasters said. The warning issued Friday covers parts of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. On Friday, Norman, Okla., home to the University of Oklahoma campus, got a preview of the potential destruction when a twister whizzed by the nation’s tornado forecasting headquarters but caused little damage. Norman Regional Hospital and an affiliate treated 19 people for mainly “bumps and bruises,” and one patient remained hospitalized in fair condition late Friday, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Wells said.
The Storm Prediction Center, which is part of the National Weather Service, gave the sobering warning that the outbreak could be a “high-end, life-threatening event.” Director Russ Schneider said it was just the second time in U.S. history that the center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance. The first was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the southeastern U.S., killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee.
It’s possible to issue earlier warnings because improvements in storm modeling and technology are letting forecasters predict storms earlier and with greater confidence, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service. In the past, people often have had only minutes of warning when a siren went off. “We’re quite sure (Saturday) will be a very busy and dangerous day in terms of large tornadoes in parts of the central and southern plains,” Vaccaro said. “The ingredients are coming together.”
The strongly-worded message came after the National Weather Service announced last month that it would start using terms like “mass devastation,” “unsurvivable” and “catastrophic” in warnings in an effort to get more people to take heed. It said it would test the new warnings in Kansas and Missouri before deciding whether to expand them to other parts of the country. Friday’s warning, despite the dire language, was not part of that effort but just the most accurate way to describe what was expected, a weather service spokeswoman said.
In Norman, the Red Cross reported about 100 people at a shelter it had established at a recreation center, and most were planning to spend the night. Red Cross officials were planning to conduct damage assessments Saturday once the storms had cleared. Video from television helicopters showed several buildings damaged in the city of about 100,000 about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City. The Oklahoman newspaper reported that among the businesses damaged was a custom cake shop, which lost a roof, windows and thousands of dollars’ worth of wedding and birthday cakes.
Emergency management officials in Kansas and Oklahoma warned residents to stay updated on weather developments and create a plan for where they and their families would go if a tornado developed. “We know it’s a Saturday and that people are going to be out and about, so stay weather aware,” Cain said. “Have your cellphone on you, keep it charged and make sure you’re checking the weather throughout the day so you don’t get caught off guard.”
DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0745 AM CDT SAT APR 14 2012
VALID 141300Z - 151200Z
...THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF SVR TSTMS LATER THIS AFTERNOON INTO
TONIGHT FOR CENTRAL/ERN NEB...CENTRAL/ERN KS...AND CENTRAL/N CENTRAL
...THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS SURROUNDING THE HIGH RISK...FROM
SW OK TO FAR NE NEB AND WRN IA...
...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS SURROUNDING THE MDT RISK...FROM
NW TX TO WRN NEB...IA...AND MO...
...TORNADO OUTBREAK EXPECTED LATE THIS AFTERNOON INTO TONIGHT FROM
CENTRAL/ERN NEB SWD ACROSS KS TO CENTRAL OK...WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR
A CLOSED LOW OVER NW AZ THIS MORNING WILL PROGRESS EWD/ENEWD TO THE
HIGH PLAINS BY THIS EVENING WHILE EVOLVING INTO MORE OF AN OPEN
WAVE...AND THEN CONTINUE INTO THE CENTRAL PLAINS BY THE END OF THE
PERIOD. AN ASSOCIATED SURFACE CYCLONE WILL DEEPEN AND MOVE NEWD
FROM ERN CO THIS AFTERNOON TO NE NEB/SE SD BY 12Z SUNDAY. S OF THE
CYCLONE...A WELL-DEFINED DRYLINE IS EXPECTED TO RESIDE FROM CENTRAL
KS SWD INTO WRN OK AND NW TX BY THIS EVENING...WHILE A WARM FRONT
MOVES NWD FROM KS THIS MORNING TO CENTRAL/ERN NEB BY LATE AFTERNOON.
A MOIST AND UNSTABLE WARM SECTOR WILL COVER NEB/KS/OK/N TX TO THE E
OF THE DRYLINE AND S OF THE WARM FRONT. THE PRIMARY LOCATIONS FOR
SEVERE STORM DEVELOPMENT TODAY WILL BE NEAR THE SURFACE LOW MOVING
INTO NEB...AND THE DRYLINE TRAILING SWD INTO KS/OK.
...CENTRAL PLAINS THROUGH TONIGHT...
THE FORECAST REASONING REMAINS LARGELY UNCHANGED FROM THE PAST FEW
DAYS. IN THE WAKE OF MORNING WAA STORMS ACROSS NE OK/SE KS/SW
MO...LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE WILL SURGE NWD ACROSS KS TO S CENTRAL/SE NEB
BY MID-LATE AFTERNOON. DAYTIME HEATING INVOF THE DRYLINE AND
BOUNDARY LAYER DEWPOINTS RANGING FROM THE LOW 60S IN NEB TO THE
MID-UPPER 60S IN CENTRAL OK WILL CONTRIBUTE TO AFTERNOON MLCAPE
VALUES OF 2000-3500 J/KG. MEANWHILE... DEEP-LAYER VERTICAL SHEAR
WILL BE QUITE SUPPORTIVE OF SUPERCELLS IN THE UNSTABLE WARM
SECTOR...WITH EFFECTIVE BULK SHEAR OF 50-70 KT ACROSS ALMOST THE
ENTIRE WARM SECTOR. THE DEGREE OF LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE AND AN
EXPECTED INCREASE IN LOW-LEVEL SHEAR LATER THIS AFTERNOON INTO EARLY
TONIGHT WILL RESULT IN AN ENVIRONMENT CLEARLY INTO THE PARAMETER
SPACE ASSOCIATED WITH PREVIOUS STRONG-VIOLENT AND LONG-TRACK TORNADO
THE PRIMARY QUESTION THIS OUTLOOK WILL BE STORM COVERAGE ALONG THE
DRYLINE THIS EVENING IN KS/OK. THE CONVECTIVE SCHEMES IN THE
OPERATIONAL MODELS VARY WITH STORM INITIATION SIGNALS...WHILE
SEVERAL OF THE CONVECTION-ALLOWING MODELS GENERATE WIDELY SCATTERED
DRYLINE SUPERCELLS IN THE 22-01Z TIME FRAME. FORECAST
SOUNDINGS...MODIFIED FOR EXPECTED AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES ALONG THE
DRYLINE...SHOW DEEP MIXED LAYER AND LITTLE OR NO CONVECTIVE
INHIBITION. PLUS...A WELL-DEFINED BAND OF LOW-LEVEL ASCENT IS
EXPECTED ALONG THE DRYLINE...WHICH SUGGESTS AT LEAST
WIDELY-SCATTERED THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE KS/OK PORTION
OF THE DRYLINE IS ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE. FARTHER N...POTENTIALLY MORE
CONCENTRATED STORM DEVELOPMENT IS EXPECTED NEAR THE SURFACE LOW AND
NW EDGE OF THE UNSTABLE WARM SECTOR IN NEB /WITHIN THE LEFT EXIT
REGION OF THE JET ALOFT/. ALL FACTORS FAVOR DISCRETE CONVECTIVE
MODES THROUGH EARLY TONIGHT...AND THOUGH STORMS COULD BE WIDELY
SPACED...THEY WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LONG PATHS OF VERY LARGE
HAIL AND DAMAGING TORNADOES THROUGH AT LEAST 06Z.
LATE TONIGHT...THE MIDLEVEL TROUGH WILL FULLY EMERGE OVER THE PLAINS
AND THE PACIFIC COLD FRONT WILL OVERTAKE THE DRYLINE...POTENTIALLY
SUPPORTING MORE EXTENSIVE SQUALL LINE DEVELOPMENT NEAR OR AFTER 06Z.
DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE MORE OF A THREAT WITH THE MORE LINEAR AND
WIDESPREAD CONVECTION LATE TONIGHT...GIVEN A CONTINUATION OF
SURFACE-BASED INSTABILITY AND 60-70 KT FLOW IN THE LOWEST FEW
THOUSAND FEET AGL.
CBS News and CNN contributed to this report.
Chicago, Illinois this morning.