Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Bismarck, ND

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FXUS63 KBIS 190535

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Bismarck ND
1235 AM CDT Wed Jul 19 2017

.SHORT TERM...(Today and tonight)
Issued at 1230 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 1230 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 06Z TAFS through 06Z Wednesday night)
Issued at 1108 PM CDT Tue Jul 18 2017

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




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