Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Bismarck, ND

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FXUS63 KBIS 191417

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Bismarck ND
917 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Issued at 842 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Two primary areas of robust convection continue with the first one
stretching mainly over southwest into south central North Dakota,
with a secondary area over far north central North Dakota near the
Peace Garden area, with shear/instability remaining ample for
severe weather. High-res models have been pushing most of the
precipitation off to the east by this afternoon, though latest
runs have been hinting at the possibility of some stronger re-
development over central locations later today, though is having
trouble pin-pointing the exact location. Some clearing trying to
develop over portions of far south central North Dakota, but an
area of low stratus is now trying to spread into there from the
far southwest part of the state. Will keep an eye on that as if it
clears out it may set the stage for some stronger re-development
later today.

UPDATE Issued at 559 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Convective intensity continues to increase through 11 UTC across
southwest North Dakota with the first mid level wave, with a
second wave across northeast Montana. The environment is strongly
sheared with effective deep layer shear around 60kts in
association with a strong 500 mb jet. MUCAPE between 1500-2000
j/kg is also in place with continued moisture transport via the
low level jet and steep mid level lapse rates. This supports an
environment favorable to supercells with the potential for very
large hail and damaging winds to 70 mph. However, across the
southwest, shear vectors oriented parallel to the 850mb baroclinic
zone has resulted in greater clustering of storms. CAMS through
the 10 UTC HRRR favor a continued increase in convective intensity
through the morning southwest and south central. With the arrival
of the second wave, convective coverage will increase north this
morning, however, intensity may be slightly weaker compared to
further south.

UPDATE Issued at 359 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Only minor changes were made with this update based on recent
radar trends. Elevated convection fed by a 30 kt low-level jet
sampled by the KBIS WSR-88D VAD wind profile is ongoing in two
distinct zones as of 0855 UTC; one in southwest ND and another
east and northeast of Minot. Recent CAMs display a bit greater
run-to-run disparity in the exact evolution of convection this
morning, and in particular whether it will grow upscale in an
organized fashion or not, which does render the forecast a bit
more uncertain. Having said that, the stronger mid-level wave
that we`ve been tracking across central MT will be moving into
southwest ND by 11 UTC and based on a destabilizing and very
strongly sheared air mass, we still expect the probability of
severe weather to rapidly increase the next several hours. It`s
mainly the exact convective evolution that is a bit uncertain.


.SHORT TERM...(Today and tonight)
Issued at 1235 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Severe thunderstorms are likely today, developing first across
southwest and north central ND around daybreak before expanding
and shifting east and southeast during the day.

Convection-allowing models (CAMs) through the 00 UTC NCEP-run
WRF-ARW and WRF-NMM, 3 km NAMNest, and the 03 and 02 UTC HRRR and
ESRL-HRRR unanimously agree that elevated convection will develop
over western and north central ND between 09 and 12 UTC. The CAMs
then suggest the convection will grow upscale into an MCS as it
moves eastward across central ND during the morning. The 00 UTC
global model suite agrees in this scenario, especially the NAM.
Observational data early this morning supports this scenario too,
as the 05 UTC surface analysis reveals seasonably rich moisture
with surface dewpoints in the lower 60s F advancing into southern
ND to the north of a quasi-stationary frontal zone. Moreover, IR
imagery from GOES-16 suggests the presence of weak elevated
convection in the form of altocumulus in southwest and north
central ND, and an area of more robust convection in central MT
that is likely tied to one or more mid-level shortwave troughs.
Extrapolation of those waves suggests arrival into ND by daybreak.

Diagnostically, forecast soundings from southwest into central ND
this morning show steep mid-level lapse rates around 8 C/km in the
700 to 500 mb layer, MUCAPE up to 2000 J/kg, and very strong west
winds aloft with effective-layer shear values around 50 kt. This
all strongly supports potentially-severe storms. While convection
will likely be elevated, at least through mid morning, we believe
both hail and damaging winds will be a threat, the latter being
supported by forecast DCAPE around 1000 J/kg and the likelihood of
upscale growth and potential bowing complexes as supported by many
CAM reflectivity forecasts. Moreover, forecast downshear/forward
propagation (Corfidi) vectors are downright scary, suggesting the
leading edge of the MCS could travel eastward at 80+ kt. Thus,
there is a very distinct possibility of higher-end wind damage
occurring depending on when and where upscale growth into an
organized bow echo takes place, and how likely the inflow parcels
are to being surface- or nearly-surface based. Areas southeast of
Bismarck would be most likely to have a pre-convective boundary
layer which is uncapped and able to sustain pure surface-based
inflow parcels in support of greater wind potential. Maximum
updraft helicity values from many of the CAMs peak between 150 and
250 m2/s2, also indicative of a potentially-significant severe

The primary uncertainty with this event is timing, with the HRRR
runs through its 04 UTC cycle much slower with initial development
and intensification than the ESRL-HRRR and WRF-ARW and WRF-NMM. It
is also possible that upscale growth into a more organized bowing
structure could be delayed until convection exits our area, into
eastern ND or northeast SD. Later mesoscale and radar trends thus
may dictate changes to our messaging given those subtleties. That
being said, the screaming message is that everyone should prepare
for and expect potential severe weather at a much earlier hour
than typically experienced with most events.

A lingering cold pool in the wake of the MCS should keep thermal
fields cool today, with forecast highs potentially too optimistic
in some areas. This will also likely discourage afternoon
redevelopment in many areas, save perhaps in northwest ND where
the influence of the early-day convection will be least.

.LONG TERM...(Thursday through Tuesday)
Issued at 1235 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

An active and seasonably warm pattern will continue through much
of the long term on the northern edge of the large, but flattened
subtropical ridge. Two primary opportunities for thunderstorms may
be Thursday afternoon into Thursday night in western ND, and
across central ND from Thursday night into Friday. Initially, it
appears that elevated instability may favor convective sustenance
out of eastern MT Thursday night, fed by a modest, 30 kt low-level
jet. A greater opportunity for more robust, surface-based storms
with an attendant greater probability of severe weather may
develop Friday afternoon and evening across central ND ahead of a
cold front. The 00 UTC GFS and NAM both suggest pre-convective
MLCAPE of 2000-3500 J/kg is possible amid 40 kt of deep-layer
shear, though there are questions about frontal timing and the
potential for capping to limit convective coverage.

Otherwise, a drier and cooler post-frontal air mass may invade the
region for the weekend before a warming trend returns next week.


.AVIATION...(For the 12Z TAFS through 12Z Thursday morning)
Issued at 559 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

Numerous thunderstorms are expected across western and central
North Dakota this morning. Severe thunderstorms are possible with
very large hail and damaging winds. LIFR/IFR conditions in
thunderstorms are likely. A second round of thunderstorms are
possible this afternoon south central and into the James River




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