Saturday’s Tornado Threat

Just got done glancing over the 00Z runs. Oh I’m torn. I could make Monroe, LA in under 10 hours. I caught a 2 hour nap after work so I think I could power my way through it and I already have my bed setup in my car so I could grab a few hours of sleep along the way if I needed to and still make the target area in time. The models have shifted the greatest threat area for tornadoes a little farther east, which is still awful chase country, but east of a Walters, LA to Monroe, LA line, the trees seem to thin out quite a bit an you have a much better chance of getting a view of the storm. Also over the last day the models have trended towards keeping the warm sector a lot cleaner through the first half of the day, so it looks like storms developing over the warm sector in Louisiana during the early afternoon hours (models seem focused in on storms developing/intensifying over Louisiana around 1pm) will have clean air to work with. With dew points in the low 70’s pumping in off the gulf LCL heights will be extremely low. Also with storms firing that far east early in the afternoon you have much better directional shear to work with than the models were showing with later afternoon storms in earlier runs. That will certainly add to the tornado potential and hodographs looking very good for tornadic storms across central and eastern Louisiana through the afternoon. Lending further confidence to the tornado threat verifying over central and northeastern Louisiana is that the NAM and HRRR are very similar with a broken band of supercells forming with a tail end for a while at least tracking through the central into northeastern Louisiana corridor. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see SPC go high risk over that portion of the threat area where it appears there will be a tightly clustered broken line of supercells tracking northeast through the afternoon in an environment extremely favorable for tornadoes. That high coverage of storms over an area with higher end tornado potential. Given both the coverage and potential intensity, again I wouldn’t be surprised to see a high risk for that portion of the threat area.

The chase country is the thing making me hesitate (in addition to it being an extremely long drive in rain through the night to get there obviously) on pulling the trigger. That is some serious jungle through most of Louisiana and you aren’t going to see shit until it’s right on you. Combine that with bad road networks and fast storm motions and it’s a stage set for disappointment or getting your ass kicked by a storm. Now that it has scooted a bit farther east the terrain at least is more appealing with some agriculture and fewer trees east of that Walters to Monroe line I mentioned above, you can probably get a decent view of the storm and track along with it for a period of time before it outruns you. 40mph storm motions seems like the best guess at any tornadic storms going through there tomorrow. 40mph is a bastard to keep up with on good road networks in the plains. It’s going to be tougher down there unless you get really lucky and it parallels right along a SW to NE highway. If I was chasing I would probably target right near the Harrisonburg, LA area. There’s some decent road options to adjust north or south depending upon how exactly the storms are coming at you and that’s right on the eastern edge of the jungle. That also appears to be the area along a north south line where I think storms will be ramping up to maximum intensity as they track northeast across Louisiana. I’m still flirting with the idea of throwing my shit in the car, but I think I’ll be sitting this one out. I still need to do my taxes and I’m a huge game of thrones fan so I’m really looking forward to chilling and watching that Sunday night. If I chased at best I’d be dead tomorrow after essentially pulling an all nighter and then I’d have to drag my ass out of bed at an early hour to make it home by 4pm Sunday and after arriving home I’d have to sit down and do my taxes. That sounds like a nightmare scenario if I didn’t get a good tornado. A good tornado gives you some serious adrenaline, but when you don’t see anything or worse yet screw up and miss out on something, which is a high probability thing with the sketchy chase country and difficult chase conditions you’d be dealing with down there, it is an extremely shitty drive home. The stakes are high on this one. I do buy into the setup producing and it’s a no brainer in the plains to chase this one, but by all accounts Louisiana is a MF to chase. Possibly the worst state in the typical tornado alley/dixie alley corridor. It feels like a damned if you do and damned if you don’t setup lol. Anyway, best of luck if you do chase and be careful. I’ll be following the setup tomorrow and I’ll also get an extended forecast posted sometime this weekend so check back for updates.

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