Tornado Chances for Friday

Really don’t know why I’m making a post right now because I have been unable to do any real forecasting since the models updated. COD has been slow the last few days and tonight it is literally unusable. Bit of a problem for me since that is where I do virtually all of my forecasting. I am not a fan of pivotal weather and twister wx because there are no zoomed in views. It’s just killing me. I know there are some other sites that you can pull regional views from, but I’m not going digging right now for new forecasting sites just because COD’s server is shitting the bed. Last night it started working better a little later at night. I don’t know if the problem is when the data is being updated or if it’s simply heavy traffic around the time the updated runs are coming out. Something is wrong though.

Anyway, I am interested in Nebraska for Friday evening. I had been focusing on North and South Dakota, but that is a hell of a drive and more recent runs have gotten me a lot more interested in dryline storms over southern or central Nebraska. Higher quality moisture has been forecast to push into that area Friday afternoon and it may be enough to break the cap and get a few discrete/semi discrete storms coming off the dryline. Parameters really ramp up for tornadoes there after 00Z, but at the same time CINH starts to set in. I really need COD working to look into this since it’s a matter of pulling forecast soundings and looking at the finer details to see if the good tornado potential late in the day can be realized. Convective evolution should be at least mildly favorable for either discrete storms or a solid tail end storm late in the day during the window where low level shear ramps up, so the potential looks like it could be there fora. solid tornadic storm. The devil is in the details with tornadoes though and forecasting them is a finicky little deal with these types of setups. As far as Nebraska goes it looks like it’s going to be a tightly timed deal where things need to come together just right. In central Nebraska at 00Z the LCL heights will be a little high and 0-1km SRH will be marginal at best. The NAM has the upper 60 dewpoints advecting into that area late in the day and we really need that moisture to hit the tail end storms by that 7pm window where low level shear ramps up dramatically. If that can happen, LCL heights will lower and low level shear will ramp up dramatically around 7pm. There should be a discrete or tail end storm that will be capable of tornadoes in that area, so then it’s just a matter of whether or not those parameters come together early enough for storms to go tornadic before CINH starts to cause problems. I am really interested to see what SPC has to say and to look at the finer details with the Nebraska setup once COD gets its shit together and starts working properly. It’s not short drive for me. I could be looking at as much as a 6 and a half hour drive to my target area, but if it looks like there is a chance for some solid tornadoes I am going to have to pull the trigger. I pray to god storms can go up in the southern half of Nebraska because the Sandhills are kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve chased them several times before, but it’s definitely not one of my favorite areas. It’s desolate and the road networks suck bad. I feel like I deserve some decent roads after dealing with the area between Buffalo OK, Protection KS and Alva OK last night. That area is a shit show too with the Cimmaron river and horrible back road options. Bit of a kick in the nuts on that deal yesterday. We got on the storm that tracked right down the OFB. It certainly appeared to have the best tornado potential and the vast majority of chasers in the field yesterday were on that storm, but then a storm by Dodge City, not even in the watch area, plants a couple tubes. LOL fucking kidding me. I can’t even be mad at myself for not getting the right storm on that one. Our storm got close to producing a few times before the bird fart by Wanoka. It was kind of weird when it crossed back into Oklahoma. There was this big tail cloud like ghost train style updraft base, but the core of the updraft base was real raggedy like it was struggling a bit. At the same time the lowering was building down on the north edge of the meso and there was rapid vertical motion, obvious vorticity being ingested as the tail feeding in was corkscrewing big time, but the base of the lowering/tail cloud feeing into remained too horizontal. It was like the bouyancy in the downdraft/updraft interface right there wasn’t right to tilt the vorticity that was being ingest vertical enough for you to get a tornado. That or the RFD was undercutting it just a bit. One way or another it couldn’t quite get it done, but it was real close. You had that rapid downward motion on the RFD side of the wall cloud and rapid inflow with rotation on the inflow side. All the cloud motions looked right for that thing to plant a tube, but it just wasn’t quite vertical enough to do it. Hopefully I can rebound from it Friday in Nebraska.

I haven’t looked at Saturday’s setup yet since COD is shit and I’m focused on Friday, but I’ll take a look at it tomorrow. I’d like to chase Friday and then go out Saturday, but if the tornado chances look good I will probably chase right through the weekend.

I’ll try to update tomorrow. I’d wait for the NAM to start working right on COD and do it tonight, but I need to watch the office on Netflix and get to bed early, so it’s not happening. Check back tomorrow though for an update.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today

Heading out chasing right now. Almost to Pratt as I type this. Heading for the area south of Greensberg right now. There is an area of convergence down there that keeps putting off towers. Sooner or later it will go. I just hope it holds a little longer until we’re there. The tornado chances are low end, but we may get one or two weak tornadoes this afternoon. I believe the best tornado potential is along an ouflow boundary from this morning’s storms. The boundary is tough to pin down exactly at the surface, but it should be damn close to lying right along the KS OK border. Dewpoints are higher by about 7 degrees south of the boundary and winds are due easterly right along it. That’s where I want to be. It’s easy to track in Oklahoma with the mesonet, but once it gets into Kansas our horrible surface station network makes tracking boundaries difficult to say the least. We got it pinned down good enough though. Storms should track off to the east and fill in through the afternoon as they do. Any tornadoes will be with more discrete or tail end convection. That or I could see an inflow notch or two along a bowing segment getting warned later, especially as storms approach the area west of 135. You can see where a pocket of better moisture has worked in west of Wichita where overnight storms haven’t compromised it. If a bowing segment reaches that later, I’d imagine it would get a little kick as it moves into better air. It’s about game on for me so no more posts on here. I’ll post pics on twitter if I’m on anything worth while. I also think I’m going to chase the northern plains Friday, so check back tomorrow because I’ll start getting into the tornado chances for up there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Update

Well the outlook isn’t good my friends. I tell you it’s not good at all lol. Seriously though it does look like shit, but you can’t really trust the GFS that far out. I’ll get into that here in a second. First I was going to briefly address the shit show on Saturday. That initial cluster of storms in Oklahoma went up farther south than expected and I think they screwed things up for the tornado potential down there. We knew going into it that convective evolution was a concern and I don’t think it played out favorably. By the time one storm in that massive cluster became dominant it looked like an HP nightmare given the road networks and chase terrain. We were setup by the OK/KS border, so there was no chance for us to make that storm unless we fully committed and hauled south. We opted to stay put and ended up getting on a storm in Oklahoma later. It looked like it worked into some less buoyant air in the wake of that lead cluster. It shit the bed just like virtually every other storm during the afternoon and there were cells trying to develop everywhere. Basically it was a mess. Still it’s the only place that produced a tornado. I think there was one tornado report in Oklahoma up close to the KS border.  It was pretty obvious there wasn’t going to be any tornadoes by around 5pm so we called it a day. Ended up just tagging along with a couple severe storms so pretty worthless chase.

Looking forward, there’s not much hope lol. The models were hinting at a couple troughs breaking down the ridge and getting into the central plains by around June 1st, but the GFS has trended away from that. Now it’s showing lower amplitude waves that stay farther north. That’s not what you want to see. I’m down to head up to the Dakotas, but I need.a decent setup for that level of commitment (at least if it’s during the week). If you take GFS literally, which you should not, then there really isn’t any real good looking tornado days. The 18Z provides one interesting day in like a week and a half, but you can’t pay any attention to something that shows up in just one model run. The broader picture is definitely a bleak one at this point. Still a lot of time left though and June is still prime time for tornadoes. I’ll keep watching the models and update every couple days.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today

We are going with the OFB target today. I am trying to get out the door so not much time now, but I think the overnight convection disrupted low level winds more than the NAM is showing. 850’s really haven’t recovered at all yet north of the OFB. I think there are two distinct corridors for tornadoes. One where spc just put the latest mess for the OFB and the other kind of along I70 and the turnpike from Junction City/Emporia up towards KC. That triangle area along with the OFB are the most likely places to see tornadoes today IMO. With the disrupted low level winds and that warm front being more of a crashing cold front, I’m afraid of that screwing up anything going closer to Concordia right by the low, which was my target a couple days ago. I think anything along 70 is a little riskier and I’m not sure how convective evolution will go up there and whether the cold front will interfere. The ofb may have convective evolution problems too, but the air is less contaminated and all we need is one or two discrete cells to get the job done, which very well may happen. I’m going to err east and setup near 135 with a good east bound option, probably at the highway that runs to Ark City. I think a lead storm or a dominant cell moving into south central KS could get it done. I’ll update more from the road.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Update

Sorry I didn’t get a post up after I hit the road yesterday. I was flying solo and I never had much time or much to say while I was driving out to western Kansas and getting into position. I thought yesterday was shit for tornadoes, and it turned out that way lol. I played the warm front up along I70 since that was the only place I thought the thermodynamics and low level shear may be good enough for a tornado. I got a severe storm NW of Scott City. It right turned and actually started building down a wall cloud, but right about the time it was getting organized and cluster of storms that were on a more northern track ran right into it and ruined the show. The drive home on I70 was a nightmare. I think I had to core punch four different severe storms and it rained all the way from Oakley to Wichita. At points you couldn’t even see the road due to hail fog and blinding rain/hail. People were stopped all over I70. It took me about five and a half hours to make a drive that should have taken no more than 3 and a half. Sucked big time lol.

Today does not look nearly as good as it did in previous model runs. Overnight storms turning over the target area has made the surface pattern much messier and rather than have a tight surface low with a warm style front running east of it, you have more of a disorganized trough with a cold front dropping south. I am very short on time and I think picking a target will be a lot easier here in an hour or so, so for now I’m not going to say much. I need to shower and get ready because I have people coming over to chase. I think there is two targets. One would be about straight north of Wichita near I70. This is east of the surface low and hopefully surface winds will back through there. Storms developing in that area and tracking along the turnpike and that Topeka to KC corridor may be able to get a tornado out. The other interesting area is along the KS/OK border area where outflow from overnight storms should set up. I’m watching that on satellite now. Short range models show low level winds not being that strong up north, I’m sure due to the massive blob of crapvection wiping that area out. Low level shear may be stronger along the OFB down south in addition to preexisting voriticy being available along that boundary. I’m leaning south for my target, but I could go either way. I’m going to shower and get the car cleaned up real quick and then I’ll take a closer look and make the call. I am not driving today, so I should be able to forecast and make posts on the road. Check back here in an hour or two for another targeting and tornado potential update.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Update

Just glanced at data and no changes to the going forecast (see previous post and map). I think the NAM had a good handle on moisture with last night’s run and we are staring down the barrel of upper 50 dewpoints in SW Kansas this afternoon. That ain’t good. We may eek out a few low 60’s, but it’s just not going to be enough to get it done I’m afraid. There is a small chance we’ll get a weak tornado or two, but I’m not banking on it. I don’t believe in this setup and I don’t want to chase, but I’m going to lol. I absolutely hate missing out on tornadoes, especially when they’re in Kansas and the KWCH viewing area. That’s the sole reason I’m chasing today. If this were across the border in Oklahoma and outside of the KWCH viewing area, I’m getting drunk downtown tonight instead lol. It’s a sense of obligation and fear of missing out that’s getting me in the field today.

I glanced at tomorrow’s setup very briefly. I still feel good about it. My fear for tomorrow is that unfavorable convective evolution may create a brief window for tornadoes. I’m not sure how long storms will stay discrete. I think they’ll tornado fairly quickly with explosive development given the extremely volatile environment along the warm front, but if they fill in and it gets sloppy fast then that won’t leave a very long window for tornadoes. I think the density of the tornado cluster we see along that warm front is going to be largely proportional to how long those storms stay discrete. I’ll get into that more later today or tomorrow morning.

That’s it for now. I’m heading out around lunch time today. Probably heading towards the Syracuse area for starters. I may tweak that a bit, but I’ll be some place in that general area and plan on chasing east/NE from there. I’ll try to get an update posted either right before I leave town or when I’m on the road.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 18th and 19th Tornado Forecast

Good news and bad news with the 00Z NAM. Bad news is that tomorrow still does not look good for tornadoes. Good news is Saturday looks a whole lot better for tornadoes. I’m dragging ass and need to get to bed soon so I’m not going to get too in depth, but I wanted to get a post up. Above is my map showing where I think the best tornado potential is each day. Keep in mind I only highlight the area where I think the best chance is, not the entire area where it’s possible. I’m not SPC lol. I’m a storm chaser. I’m focused on where the best tornadic storm will occur and not much else.

Starting with tomorrow, moisture continues to look like the big problem. I ran through the NAM quite a few times looking at moisture advection from now through tomorrow afternoon and then meshed that up with current observations. It looks like dewpoints are going to be in upper 50’s and at best maybe a few low 60;s along the dryline and surface low by 7pm. That’s pretty weak for mid May and with surface temps getting into the 90’s along much of the dryline, I just can’t imagine that temperature-dewpoint spread is going to be manageable for tornadoes. So with too high of a temperature-dewpoint spread that kind of rules out the area south of far SW Kansas where surface temperatures are too high, which brings are focus farther north to where surface temperatures are lower off the northeast side of the surface low. This is where the bulge in the dryline/moisture wrap around the low curves back into Colorado. This bulge in the moisture gradient should be somewhere around Syracuse, KS. That’s the target I’ve been looking at. This area over the northern portion of the dryline and moisture wrap around are one area for storms and the other area is with storms coming off the foothills of the Rockies in central and north central Colorado. I didn’t look much at the foothills, so I’m going to skip over talking about that environment. From the quick glance I took I’d say it’s on par or maybe a hair lower with tornado potential when compared to the area just northeast of the surface low. So for now my focus in on the Syracuse, KS area and the areas adjacent to it along the moisture wrap around. Dewpoints are only forecast to be in the upper 50’s. That’s the biggest limiting factor for tornadoes right now. As I discussed at the beginning of this paragraph, I did take a fairly close look at moisture advection from now through tomorrow afternoon and for some reason the NAM is putting out a big blob of drier air over Oklahoma, that then advects up into that moisture wrap around corridor in SW Kansas and east central Colorado tomorrow. By 00Z the NAM shows slightly better moisture working into SW Kansas, but it looks like too little too late. The NAM does seem to have a good handle on current precipitation over Texas/Oklahoma, which seems to be the source of the drier air (and when I say drier I’m talking about ultimately a few degrees difference in dewpoints, but that can be a big difference as far as tornadoes are concerned). Current surface obs in the wake of those storms didn’t look terrible, but the NAM didn’t really show much drier air at the surface until 06Z either, so I’ll see how that unfolds. Long story short, as things look now I think we’re going to be a little short on moisture quality for a credible tornado threat tomorrow unless dewpoints are low with the NAM (which would be unusual) and we manage to get into the low 60’s tomorrow afternoon. I expect storms to develop in the foothills of Colorado and near the surface low and around the bulge of the moisture wrap around. For the bulge near Syracuse, I think that storms should come off discrete since storm motions are largely normal to the boundary in that area, but I think the’ll trend more outflow dominant with the weak low level winds and marginal moisture (less bouyant outflow). The NAM doesn’t show convection coming off the moisture wrap around area near Syracuse, it only has storms farther south along the dryline. I’m not buying that. The high resolution NAM has storms coming off the bulge/moisture wrap around area, but it also shows unfavorable convective evolution where storms seem to go outflow dominant and get clustered pretty quickly. That seems logical as far as convective evolution goes. That or the other scenario I could see is even if storms form later in the day and stay discrete into that 7-8pm window where LCL’s lower and low level shear picks up, I think CINH is going to beat those improvements out and still largely mitigate the tornado threat. So I guess pick your poison. Either scenario is bad for tornado potential and I think one or both are likely to happen. IF we do manage to get a tornado tomorrow in that area, it should be weak and most likely later in the day. I want to see what SPC says and look at current obs and CAM guidance before I make the call. My car is mostly packed and I’ll throw the rest of my stuff in there in the morning. I’ll be ready to go if I need to, but I’m 60/40 not going as things look now.

That was long a ramble on a shitty setup where I didn’t discuss a whole lot more than moisture and convective evolution lol. Sorry. I wing most of these blog posts and don’t even proofread when I’m done.

Alright, onto Saturday’s setup and better tornado potential. The NAM shows a much more volatile setup with the 00Z run. Despite this being a fairly major change from the last couple runs, I’m giving it a fair deal of credit because it is somewhat in line with the stronger setups with the models a couple days ago. So really this run is not that out of line if you look back over a few day stretch. The location has shifted relative to those earlier runs. A couple days ago it was showing the warm front and surface low (or at least the northern portion of the surface trough where winds back) was up near Omaha and across central Iowa. Now the surface low and warm front is down in north central Kansas and southeast Nebraska, but the same volatile environment is back along the warm front with high quality moisture pooling along the wind shift. Dewpoints are in the low 70’s with the 00Z, which would be great. The image below from COD shows the moisture pooling along this windshift/warm front running southeast from the surface low.

The thermodynamic side of the environment from the surface low southeast along the warm front looks great with deep moisture, low LCL/LFC heights, and strong instability. In addition to that, shear profiles look pretty damn good considering the strong instability we’ll have. Surface winds will be backing strongly along the warm front/E of the surface low, 850 winds will be fairly strong out of the SE around 25-30kts with 500mb out of the SW at around 40kts. That is strong directional shear with almost 90 degrees of turning between 850-500. Bulk shear is approaching 50kts. That kind of deep layer shear along with strong instability is a pretty volatile environment for supercells. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before. Assuming those parameters verify, that environment is quite favorable for tornadic supercells and storms should be explosive when they fire. This is not the type of setup you play downstream on. You get right up on the towers as they form because it probably won’t take long after one breaks the cap before it goes severe. When I say I feel like I’ve seen this movie before I’m thinking of the classic warm front demon supercell setups. Although deep layer shear is okay, SR upper level winds aren’t all that strong and being that these are warm front storms in a very moist environment along that wind shift corridor, I would expect them to trend HP pretty steadily through their life. That’s how these types of setups usually play out at least. They can be beautiful striated supercells early, plant a couple tubes and then go full demon mode as they transitions to HP. In my experience, you get on those storms early because they may only get down one or two easily visible tornadoes before it goes into HP beast mode. When that happens, you are going to get shit whipped by an expanding wind field at the surface if you try to go in the bears cage and hang out by the occlusion. I hate being in warm front demons when they transition. It’s violent lol. You can’t see shit without risking getting pounded by gorilla hail and it can be a bastard to drive if you stray a hair north or south (into the core or RFD). I’ll go in the occlusion on them, but it’s not a great time and it’s nerve racking as shit if you don’t want to beat the hell out of your car. If the storms do unfold that way and go HP, then they usually don’t produce much in the way of tornadoes once that HP mode really takes hold. They’ll have a beastly velocity signature, but the circulation will be broad and the gate to gate is always a little soft. As the wind field/circulation expands during that transition to HP it seems like a lot of people get duped into thinking it may be producing a massive tornado, but it’s not. It’s just a broad violent circulation that is unpleasant to be caught in, especially on muddy roads where you can get pushed into a ditch by the wind.

Alright, enough speculation and rambling for one night. You can see the areas I think have the best tornado potential each day on my map at the top. I am reaching pretty far here for Saturday’s setup considering how it hasn’t been exactly rock solid with the models, so take it with a grain of salt. I’m anxious to see how the 12Z run looks. I’ll probably post at least a brief update in the morning, so check back then if you’re interested.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forecast Update

Just a quick map I threw together at work this morning. Since I am working, I literally only glanced at the NAM so don’t put much stock in this. that’s especially the case because this goes against the  SPC map from the first day 2 outlook (and day 3 outlook). Despite the SPC map, if I had to pick one small area where I think they may eek out a tornado or two tomorrow, that would be it. I’m still up in the air on chasing, but I’m leaning towards not chasing tomorrow. I just don’t think the moisture quality is going to be good enough for tornadic storms, plus shear profiles are somewhat weak until late in the day. If there is a tornado, I would expect it later in the day as conditions become more favorable. Probably around that 7pm window. I’ll take a closer look later tonight and update again. I am probably chasing Saturday. I still think that Saturday may have better tornado potential, again despite what SPC is saying (didn’t even mention tornadoes in their day 3 outlook).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forecast Update

I wouldn’t even be making a post right now if I did say I was going to last night because I don’t know what to tell you lol. God damn models. Usually I’m a pretty big fan of the NAM and despite getting shit on constantly, I think it does a pretty solid job. If we are going to get tornadoes on Friday and Saturday, it will almost certainly be over isolated areas. The devil is in the details with tornadoes and with marginal setups like we are dealing with on Friday and Saturday, you have to have some sort of an idea on the precise details (like moisture quality and distribution, where surface winds are backing, etc.) and those finer scale details both at the surface and with stronger 500mb flow keep jumping around from run to run. Going off the 12Z run this morning it looked like the I70 corridor from western Kansas into Colorado would likely hold the greatest tornado potential late in the day on Friday as LCL heights lowered and deep layer shear picked up slightly. For Saturday the 12Z run showed a pretty solid target near Omaha for supercells just northeast of the surface low. I just got done glancing at the 00Z run and it’s shuffled shit up again. Moisture quality is looking like a serious problem for Friday. The latest NAM run throws in a new curve ball with storms firing along the dryline in the northern Texas panhandle with fairly strong mid level flow over that area associated with a small jet streak/short wave. LCL and LFC heights are really high down there though despite dewpoints near the low 60’s (which really is kind of shit for this time of year). With the questionable moisture we are dealing with on Friday, my gut says the best chance for a tornado will be with storms coming off the higher terrain in central Colorado into eastern Colorado. I’d think late in the day around 7pm or so is when a tail end or discrete storm may be able to get it done. I’m up in the air on whether or not I’m chasing Friday. I am not real pumped about the tornado prospects. I felt a lot better about it this morning, but the downward trend with decent quality moisture wrapping into western Kansas and Colorado is really putting a damper on things. I’ll look at the morning runs and hopefully that will make a decision easier. I plan on being packed and ready to go so really I can put the decision off until Friday morning if I need to.

I think Saturday is more likely a chase day for me simply because there will be stronger deep layer shear with the stronger mid/upper level winds coming in and moisture quality will hopefully be better. Overnight convection complicates the surface pattern a bit, with a big complex of storms forecast to track through Nebraska. Again this morning I thought I was zeroing in on a target near Omaha, but the 00Z run has shifted the stronger mid and upper level jets about half a state south (jet was nosing into NE Kansas Saturday at 00Z with the 12Z NAM, with the 00Z its nosing into SE Kansas and it’s a little weaker). The northeast quadrant of the surface low in Iowa actually looked pretty damn good (at least for this year) with strong directional shear and instability. The 00Z took a dump on that though and without getting into all the details as to why, it basically has a weaker version of the 12Z setup shifted farther SW with a sloppier surface pattern. The drop off in mid level winds is a real bummer. Now, all that being said, I don’t buy what the NAM is selling right now. It’s one run and I think the 12Z solution was more in line with previous runs than this latest run is, so I’ll sit tight on passing judgement until I see the 12Z tomorrow. For now I’m thinking the area for the best tornado potential on Saturday could be anywhere from Salina up to Omaha. I do think there is a slightly better chance for a tornadic storm or two on Saturday than there is on Friday, but really one or two storms could plant a couple tubes either day. It’s nothing special or anything to get excited about, but it’s what we have to work with. After this setup it looks like we may be done until June as a summer pattern takes hold in the plains (death ridge). Historically speaking, this almost always happens around mid to late May and it always seems like it’s about a two week break before you get another little second half of tornado season as the ridge breaks down and a few more troughs manage to dig into the central and northern plains. Even though this year has been anything but normal, I have no reason to doubt that will not be the case this year. The latest runs of the GFS hint at a stronger trough over the west coast as you get towards the end of May, which would be about right on schedule with that typical two week break. I can tell you this much, I can about guarantee you that I’ll see the Dakotas this season because if we do get a strong June trough up there then there is no way I’m passing on it. I am desperate for a strong tornado and there’s not a whole lot I wouldn’t do or places I wouldn’t go to see one.

Alright, enough bullshit for tonight. Sorry for the lack of clarity in the forecast, but so goes the model data so there isn’t much I can do about it. The picture should become more clear over the next 36 hours and I’ll stay on top of it, so check back for updates and a more worthwhile read.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Update

Finally got my first tornado of the season. The tornado wasn’t all that impressive. The funnel lasted for quite a while, but the tornado was probably only down for a couple minutes. I did stream it live on KWCH, which is always big when you can get a tornado live on air. I heard tonight that we were in continuous coverage before the tornado warning even got issued, so KWCH was ahead of the curve for sure on that one. I had the stream of the wall cloud long before the warning and had a great shot of the funnel then tornado as it came right at my location. By the time I was done with my phoner I could only get the bottom portion of the funnel in my shot because it was coming right over my head. That storm was great from a motion standpoint. It started moving northeast as it developed and then made a hard right turn NW of Arkansas City. It was so easy picking up on storm motion changes watching that base. The initial tornado completely roped out about 2-3 miles NW of Ark City. The updraft base when pretty much right over or just off the east side of town before it started to crank a new wall cloud back down just east of Ark City as the storm approached Silverdale. It seemed like the funnels/rotation wouldn’t really get going with that storm until the updraft base at the occlusion was really skinnier out and about wrapped in rain curtains. I stayed with the storm on it deviant motion to the SE all the way down onto the back roads and into gods country along the KS/OK border. There is shit for roads down there in that area btw. Just in time the storm did that catchers mit style hook up where it starts working backwards off stronger inflow. I watched small rotations near the occlusion all the way until it was too dark to see the base without lightning. I thought the storm still had a chance, but it was in the middle of nowhere and I wanted to head home. I also had storms between me and Wichita to deal with, one of which I think had a tornado warning. I ended up watching the inflow notch/circulation that was developing with a supercell as it went through Winfield after dark. I got right in front of the velocity couplet since I knew if it did manage to spin up a tornado it would be weak. You could actually see the rain curtains wrapping around the circulation in the lights of Winfield as it came across the Main Street through town. It was kind of cool. I should have stayed with it because it ended up going tornado warned only a couple minutes after I let it pass over me, but I was being lazy and wanted to get home so I bailed. I regret that a little. I really regret bailing on the storm I was on rather than staying for a while after dark because it actually ended up producing two more tornadoes. That was a mistake. I don’t really give a shit about seeing tornadoes after dark. It’s a little boring IMO, but it’s better than getting a couple extra hours of sleep. I can sleep all year. I need to man up and go that extra mile for the rest of this season. I guarantee that will not happen again this year. It will almost certainly happen next year lol, but not again this year. Anyway, got home around midnight after maneuvering around severe storms on the way back to Wichita. All in all a good chase and a good night for KWCH weather coverage.

I’ve kind of lost track of records over the years, but I am about positive this is the latest I’ve ever gone into the season without a tornado. Now that that monkey is off my back it is time to find some more. Unfortunately Mother Nature isn’t giving us much to work with this year. It’s been brutally slow and by my measure, it’s going to stay that way. It does look like we’ll have a good chance at a few tornadoes in the plains on Friday and Saturday, but I desperately want one a strong trough, classic tornado outbreak type setup and it’s not showing up in the models. You have to take what you can get though so I almost certainly will be chasing this Friday and Saturday. I obviously didn’t have a chance to look at data yesterday because I was out chasing until almost midnight. I’ve been watching Friday and Saturday’s setup for what seems like forever with the GFS, so I think I have a fairly good handle on at least the area where the best severe/tornado threat will occur, but I’m going to hold off on getting a map up until tomorrow. I feel like I need to see the NAM pick up on both days and I want to look at some of the finer details. I’m really not a fan of these later season style setups where you get a big moisture wrap around the surface low/trough. I like the more classic dryline and triple point setups. That’s what I’m most comfortable forecasting and chasing. The type of setups we’re going to have Friday and Saturday are a little more nontraditional where you may be playing an area of hardly backed 850’s, CINH could be an issue and smaller scale areas (maybe even just one storm) are what manage to produce vs a more volatile setup where the ambient environment is supportive of tornadic supercells. I feel like you have to work harder on these types of setups with your forecasting and the certainty of tornadoes is never there. Basically it’s a crap shoot where it’s easy to get burned and miss out. I don’t think either day looks all that good for tornadoes, but I do think we’ll get tornadoes out of this two day deal. As I said so poorly above, these more nontraditional setups always seem a little sketchy. I think Friday you’re probably going to have to play up closer to 70 later in the day for tornadoes. Moisture should be better up there and although still weak, deep layer shear should be alright there later in the day where you get a little overlap in the stronger 500 and 850 winds. Saturday is another queer little setup. I’ll get into the details for bother setups tomorrow, but my initial guess for the best tornado potential on Saturday is going to be northeast Kansas into southeast Nebraska. Basically some place up there off the northeast side of the surface low where surface winds back. Right now I’m about one day out from booking a room in Hays for Friday night. I just want to firm up that both days look chase worthy before I do. Hotels fill up quick on days like that in May because of all the chase tour groups, so you don’t fuck around on getting reservations for those small towns that only have a few hotels. I got burned two years ago on that after the Leoti, KS tornadic supercell and had to end up driving all the way to Burlington Colorado before I got a hotel room lol. It sucked. Especially since my target for the following day was in the opposite direction. I’ve always had fond memories of staying in Hays while chasing. I think I’ve always gotten tornadoes the following day after staying in Hays.

Alight, enough rambling for now. I’ll try to get on my forecasting tomorrow and get a map up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment