May 242010

Thursday, 27 May 2010

This is a short post, but I wanted to make a quick update.  Saturday, May 29 looks like a decent tornado setup for northeast Colorado/western Nebraska.  The setup has it’s fault’s, but it should produce at least one good tornadic supercell, if not one or two others that end up producing a tornado at some point.

I’m gaining interest in more setups to come in mid June.  With the MJO is expected to move back into the Indian Ocean down the road, and the trend towards La Nina, another period of active severe weather setups should unfold around mid June.  In the meantime, good luck to those taking advantage of the holiday weekend to chase the high plains on Saturday!

- Jim


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I would say today is a marginal chase day, but tornadoes have already been reported in Colorado and New Mexico.  Tomorrow is another marginal setup over the high plains.  Then, things get more interesting across eastern Montana Thursday and Friday, as an intense shortwave moves in from the West.  CAPE, shear and moisture will support tornadic supercells, but the CAP could be an issue, along with the horrible road network up there.

Then the shortwave begins ejecting into the high plains of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas on Saturday.  This could be a huge day across western Nebraska if the GFS is correct. I’m worried the shortwave will track further north, bringing with it important upper dynamics and wind shear.  We’ll see.  Sunday would be another potential setup over Iowa and Minnesota, pending how far north and east the shortwave ejects.

So, this could end up being a pretty nice Memorial Day weekend chase trip for some.  Especially for those who start out in Montana on Thursday or Friday! Good luck to all chasers out there.

Thoughts on Recent Events
On another note, I wanted to touch briefly on all the drama I’ve read about the recent mass chase convergences and associated irresponsible behavior that  has occurred over the past couple weeks.  I don’t have much to say since everyone has a right to get in their car and follow a storm.  But it’s become such a problem that a well known storm chaser has recently decided to stop chasing, basically so that he/she won’t be part of the problem.  I guess I never imagined a passionate chaser would actually come to that decision, but then I think about just how cluttered it gets out there while chasing a tornado.

Chasing really has changed a lot over the last ten years.  It just makes me stop and think (really?) when someone decides to stop chasing because of what chasing has become these days.  Part of me feels a little sad, and the other part of me feels like you have to evolve as the hobby changes with technology.  Good or bad, that’s where we stand these days.

But then again, I think chasing needs to de-evolve in some ways.  You have paper maps, a weather radio, and you watch the towers develop.  At what point did chasing become such a competition between other chasers?  Storm chasing should be about YOUR experience, not worrying about what someone else got that day, or what you could have seen.  I think a lot of chasers forget that and get caught up in all the crap that’s outs there these days.

- Jim


Monday, 24 May 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Since my last post, I drove across the country again, but this time it was back to Connecticut from the Great Plains. A lot has happened in the chasing world since then, including numerous big tornado days. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to chase on those days. But, the tornado days are far from over this season.

Today is a good example, with another moderate risk for tornadoes in the Dakotas. I don’t feel so bad missing out on this day, considering storms will be racing north-northeast at 65 mph. I already chased a day similar to this, with storm racing northeast at 60 mph. That day was May 10, and I saw some nice tornadoes. Next time, it will be nice to chase slower moving storms! But, good luck to those out there today. At least one of those storms will likely produce a nice tornado at some point, but it will be tough staying on the storms for sure.

Looking ahead, the next tornado setup appears to be Saturday, May 29 from northwestern Kansas into the Dakotas. Depending on the speed and timing of the associated upper air trough, there could also be a chase setup on that Sunday or Monday (Memorial Day).

Stay tuned, Memorial Day weekend could be interesting…

- Jim

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