October 9, 2021

Tornadoes Possible Sunday As Severe Weather Threat Targets The Southern Plains

A potent risk for severe weather will cover parts of the southern Plains on Sunday as a low-pressure system develops and moves across the area. It's been a relatively quiet year across the region as far as tornadoes go, but Sunday's threat could change that in a hurry. Make sure you're prepared for severe weather and have a way to receive warnings if you're in the area this weekend.

A low-pressure system will develop over western Texas during the day on Sunday and push across Oklahoma through the evening hours. Warm, humid air will provide plenty of fuel for thunderstorms to bubble up, while ample wind shear will give those storms the kick they need to turn severe.

The Storm Prediction Center issued an enhanced risk for severe weather for a large portion of Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas. Sunday's severe risk also extends outward to include Dallas-Fort Worth to the south and Joplin to the north.

Any of Sunday's severe thunderstorms could produce tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds. The greatest threat for tornadoes and large hail will occur in and around the enhanced risk area during the afternoon hours as the storms first develop. This initial batch of discrete thunderstorms will be able to maximize their interaction with instability and wind shear.

As the evening progresses, we'll likely see thunderstorms evolve into squall lines and bow echoes. The damaging wind threat will take over as the main risk when that happens, along with a threat for spin-up tornadoes along the leading edge of any of the lines.

The threat for severe thunderstorms will continue after dark for many areas at risk on Sunday. Given that we tend to tune out after sunset, it's more important than ever to get severe weather warnings the moment they're issued. 

If you live in the region (or if you're visiting for the weekend), take a look at your phone's settings and ensure that wireless emergency alerts are activated for tornado warnings and flash flood warnings. 

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.