After successfully chasing blue skies and cirrus clouds for the last 3 days it appears that we’re finally getting somewhere today. This morning’s weather balloon launch in Rapid City shows a classic elevated mixed layer and strong wind shear. It’s pretty dry, however, so at least initially the instability is meager.
The computer models all show quite a bit of moisture return through the day today with dew points surging from the low 50s into the 60s across southern South Dakota. It looks like the best low level moisture and instability will set up across the Nebraska/South Dakota border by later today.
Mixed layer CAPE of >3000 j/kg and 0-6km bulk shear over 50 knots will set the stage for supercells. High instability and strong wind shear is a setup for big storms. If I saw a setup like this in Connecticut I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep!!
Our plan right now is to drive through the Badlands this morning and then set up in Oelrichs, South Dakota for this afternoon’s storms. I expect storms to fire over the Black Hills (near the SD/WY line) around 4 p.m. MT and then scoot east from there. Unfortunately, in rural southwestern South Dakota, our road and cell service options are limited.
Will keep you posted on how the day looks… especially on Twitter! @ryanhanrahan and @chrisjvandy