I went chasing yesterday with some friends, hoping to see some storms. Or rather we drove to Enid, near the dryline, to wait to see if things fired. We were met with blue sky everywhere all around us. Needless to say, we were very disappointed that nothing, not even a single cloud, formed. It’s frustrating to be excited about a possible chase and then have nothing happen time after time. That seems to be the case in Oklahoma this year. This “chase” was definitely the worst though–every other time there’s at least been a storm to take pictures of and a good lightning show to enjoy.
There were a few things that might have impacted why there was no storm activity yesterday in Oklahoma, despite the soundings looking favorable and severe weather indices indicating good conditions. CAPE (convective available potential energy, the amount of energy available to a storm in the atmosphere) was 3472 J/kg. On the CAPE scale, over 2500 J/kg indicates an extremely unstable atmosphere. The SWET and K indices showed favorable numbers for isolated tornadoes. The wind profile looked good too, with veering wind and warm air advection from the surface up.
The only thing that didn’t happen was an initiation event to start a storm. This could have been due to an extremely large inversion near the surface (called the “cap”) that was difficult to break. Inversions are parts of the atmosphere that are extremely stable, and the steeper the inversion is the harder it is for clouds to break through to the unstable atmosphere above. Rick thinks the bust was also due to a lack of convergence on the dryline and subsidence (sinking) air behind it. Drylines are good places to look for storms because of the sharp difference between moisture in the air. The density differences cause the warm moist air to wedge under the dry desert air like a cold front and can help cause convergence.If nothing converges on the dryline, nothing is able to form. This, apparently, is what happened yesterday. Storm season in the Southern Plains is still active through the middle of May, so we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned to KOCO for all your weather needs! Have a great weekend!