The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 26, 2014

Public schools advises prom parents about weather

NWS: Weekend forecast includes chance for tornadoes

EDMOND — Potentially widespread large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are in the weekend forecast for the Edmond area.

Saturday night, Memorial, Santa Fe and North students will attend their school’s prom at the University of Central Oklahoma, the Oklahoma History Center and The Carriage Hall at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, Edmond Public Schools spokeswoman Susan Parks-Schlepp said.

The district instructed each high school principal to send an email to parents about the potential for severe weather before, during and after the events and what the individual plans would be at each prom site, Parks-Schlepp said.

Memorial’s message stated in part:

“We have consulted with officials at the University of Central Oklahoma, the location of prom, and will follow the severe weather plan they have in place for the student center. Should our location be placed under a tornado warning during the prom, students will not be allowed to leave, unless a parent or guardian is present. The care and safety of your children is our primary concern, and we want to assure you that we are doing everything possible protect children from the dangers of severe weather.”

The National Weather Service forecast for the area stated severe thunderstorms are expected Saturday through at least late Sunday morning. Citizens planning or participating in outdoor activities during the weekend need to pay close attention to weather forecasts, according to the NWS.

Individual storms initially will develop across parts of western north Texas and western Oklahoma during the late afternoon and early evening hours Saturday. The storms will then move northeast and east across parts of central Oklahoma Saturday night.

The threat of severe weather will shift eastward during the day Sunday to east of Interstate 35.

Large hail up to at least 2 inches in diameter and damaging winds of more than 70 mph will be the main threats through late Saturday night. However, the initial storms that continue may have the potential to produce tornadoes. Hail sizes should decrease to about half dollars by Sunday morning.

As a dryline passes overhead, fire danger will increase. On Sunday, relative humidities will fall into the teens and winds will average 20-30 mph across much of central and western Oklahoma.

A dryline marks the boundary between desert air to the west and moist Gulf of Mexico air to the east. A supercell thunderstorm is a long-lived, intense storm that often develops rotation and has an elevated risk of producing tornadoes, damaging winds gusts, frequent lightning strikes and very large hail.

AccuWeather is describing the coming days as a dangerous multiple-day severe weather outbreak that will include the potential for nighttime tornadoes in parts of Oklahoma.

“Supercell thunderstorms will develop along the dry line from west-central Kansas to the Oklahoma Panhandle and northwestern Texas late Saturday afternoon with large hail and tornadoes a good bet,” AccuWeather enterprise solutions storm warning meteorologist Scott Breit said in an article posted on the organization’s website.

As of Thursday afternoon, The Weather Channel had the western half of Oklahoma including Oklahoma City in a zone where EF2 or higher tornadoes could develop.

A “tornado watch” is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Their size can vary depending on the weather situation; they usually last four to eight hours.

A “tornado warning” is issued when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. They can be issued without a “tornado watch” being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes.

FOR MORE information and the latest updates, visit http://www.spc.noaa.gov/ and http://weather.gov./ Check out tips to prepare for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes at http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

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