With a storm system affecting the Midwest the latter half of this week and weekend, many chasers will converge on the Great Plains to our south. As for us, the risk of severe weather exists for southern portions of the state on Friday.
But whether or not to activate a chase is a little sketchy. The threat for severe weather on Friday lies just north of a warm front expected to push north into Iowa. Normally, this type of setup presents a threat of large hail and sometimes strong winds and heavy rain. It certainly does not indicate a threat of tornadoes.
Taking a look at the specific risks associated with the Storm Prediction Center Day 3 outlook, we can see the focal point of severe weather remains well to the south of Iowa. However the best risk for tornadoes might lie in Oklahoma and Texas, wherever the storm center positions itself.
So what about Saturday? That remains to be seen. The models are having a hard time tracking the low pressure center of this storm. Where that ultimately winds up could have drastic effects on our severe weather chances Saturday.
Another limiting factor is the rain this storm system produces. If late night thunderstorms develop on Friday, and the rain and clouds do not move out early enough on Saturday, the risk of strong storms greatly decreases as well.
If we get south of the warm front and destabilize the atmosphere, it’s possible we could see a decent round of severe weather as the rest of the storm system pushes through. But at this time there’s little indication that will happen. The reason I bring that option up is that models are beginning to trend slightly more north with the track of this storm.
During the “prime time” of severe weather on Saturday, the low is expected to track just southeast of the state. A shift in that location into Iowa could drastically change the threat for severe weather.
Looking further ahead it appears storm chasers will remain weekend warriors. Long range models indicate another potent system pushing through the Midwest either Friday and Saturday of next week. This is a tremendous distance to look out so virtually everything about that forecast could change multiple times between now and then.
For now we’ll monitor the potential for severe weather in Iowa on Friday into Saturday.