Tornado Forecast Update

I’ve been watching the models the last few days, but haven’t spent a lot of time on it so take this for what it’s worth. Saturday looks to have a lower end tornado threat up in Montana. I’ve been debating going, but there are a few things making me think it’s not worth the brutal drive. I want to keep this short, but I’ll give a quick run down of the setup. A surface low initially over northeast Wyoming will migrate north through the day and will be located in southeastern Montana by 00Z. Moisture wrapping around the north side of the surface low will probably be the area most favorable for tornadoes. I’d probably target near Miles City, Montana or just off east of there. The models have been fairly consistent with precip developing between 21 and 00Z near and north of the surface low, so I do think we’ll get some storms, but the amount of CIN the models have been showing concerns me a bit. I’m also bothered by the extremely narrow corridor of decent moisture/instability along the warm front/moisture wrap around that storms may have to work with. CIN will likely increase fairly quickly as you move north of the warm front and make it difficult to keep storms surface based/tornadic. If supercells are established they can maintain themselves a little better/longer as they track into more stable surface air, but I’m not sure that’s going to be the case Saturday. At least not sure enough to feel confident when you’re staring at a 14.5 hour drive lol. With meridional mid level flow storm motions will have a strong northerly component and move towards the less favorable thermodynamic environment north of the warm front. At the same time though hodographs will be quite impressive, with solid low and deep layer shear. It’s a tough call for me. The narrow swath of favorable thermodynamics along the warm front, northerly storm motions and CIN all make me think I’m better off sitting this one out, especially since it looks like there will probably be other northern plains opportunities coming up in June. If you are going to go that far north you really want to get two chase days out of the deal too and it isn’t looking like that would be the case if I chase Saturday. In order for me to go that far north (looking at about 14.5 hours to Miles City), I really need to buy into the idea that there’s going to be strong tornadoes or there needs to be a multi-day event. Sooo, I’ll make the final call tomorrow, but I think I’m sitting this one out and going out downtown Saturday instead. Watching fireworks at Riverfest from a bar Saturday night sounds a lot better than 40 hours in the car lol. I’ll decide by noon tomorrow because I need to hit the road by about 5pm if I’m going. I’m charging the cameras just in case, but I’m 75% sure I’m not chasing.

Beyond Saturday attention turns to Tuesday in Kansas and Nebraska as a weak trough moves through the central plains. There is a fair amount of spread from run to run still with the GFS regarding some of the finer scale details, so I’ll hold off for tonight on getting into that setup much. A dryline will likely be the focus for convection. Directional shear will likely be better farther north closer to the surface low, with poor 850-500 crossover farther south, but decent turning in the lowest 1km is making me think we may be able to eek out a few tornadoes along the dryline in the central plains. The few hodographs I pulled showed a bit of a veer, back, veer profile so that’s something to keep an eye on. It wasn’t horrible, but it was there. Upper level SR winds are pretty weak too. Still with good curvature and decent length in the lower portion of the hodograph and good thermodynamics we may be able to get it done. I’ll take a closer look at model data and update again in the next day or two with more details.

And in the really long range forecast it looks like the jet stream will stay north and we may continue to get a few high plainest/Canada setups through the middle of the month and troughs crest the death ridge. Still too far out to get into any specific days or threat levels though.

I’ll try to get another forecast update posted tomorrow. If I don’t get one up then I’ll definitely get a post up Saturday though so check back then if you’re interested.

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