Mar 022011

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The other day I was curious if there were any more videos of the tornado and supercell from late February along the Oklahoma/Kansas border. The curiosity existed mostly because, at least in my experience, not that many people go chasing in February. What I found has been a little surprising, with about two dozen chaser reports from tornado photos and videos, to accounts of seeing the supercell in the distance. In some of the videos the roads were congested in way that was almost to the point of looking like a standard chase day in May than February.

But this really shouldn’t be surprising to me anymore. Even though that day (Feb 27) was a slight risk with conditional probabilities for a tornado occurring due to a strong CAP, tons of chasers were out there. I guess I just felt like bringing up the topic before the chase season really kicks into gear in a few weeks. But for the time being I’m sure we’ll have a few more marginal setups that will yield hoards of chasers, many whom wouldn’t have been out there five years ago (much less ten years ago). And it’s not my intention to insult any chasers that were out there. If anything I say congrats to you for having the foresight to chase that day. What I am doing is commenting on the obvious here: Every year there are exponentially more and more chasers out there in the Plains, and the increase is becoming more obvious earlier and earlier in the season each year.

It’s worth nothing that a growing number of these chasers stream live, and that benefits me when I can’t be out there chasing! So let me be the first to admit how nice it is to watch a tornado live on my computer from Connecticut. This also helps meteorologists at local NWS offices in validating chaser tornado reports. I mean seriously, if you see the live video of the tornado with the same storm that is a ‘radar indicated tornado’, I think it’s time to upgrade to ‘confirmed tornado’. Again though, a few years ago people would have laughed at going out chasing in February.


- Jim

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