Forecast Update

061117 Forecast Map Project

Well it looks like there will be a solid tornado threat tomorrow over the southeast quadrant of Wyoming. I’ve been watching it for a couple days, but there is no way I can chase. I have a consultant coming in tomorrow morning at work and the meeting has been scheduled for three weeks. It’s for our ISO recertification which is a week from Monday. I’m responsible for our ISO certification so I really can’t be gone the day of our final review before the recertification audit. It sucks because I would have loved to drive up to Cheyenne, Wyoming today and spent tonight going out up there. It would have been a relaxing road trip. No dice for Mikey though. I am probably chasing Nebraska on Tuesday though. I don’t have anything at work I can’t get out of so I think I’ll head out around 10-11am Tuesday morning for central Nebraska.

As far as the forecast goes, tomorrow I’d setup near Chugwater (which isn’t hard to figure out if you’re friends with chasers on Facebook because everybody and their brother is there right now). The high resolution NAM has consistently shown several storms developing from central to SE Wyoming during the afternoon. Storms may come off a bit cluttered at first, but one or two dominant storms should take shape over the southeast quadrant of Wyoming during the afternoon. As low level shear improves during the evening, hodographs will become very supportive of tornadic supercells. A strong tornado threat will exist from 6-9pm with any discrete storm over the area I boxed in red on the map. I’d expect SPC to probably go with a 10% hatched probability for tornadoes in the Day 1 outlook.

Tuesday’s setup is a tad bit more uncertain with regards to tornado potential. Storm motions are a bit to parallel to the dryline with less turning in the 850-500mb layer than I’d like to see. How far south storms develop is a bit uncertain, with some model guidance indicating convection all along the dryline in Kansas too. The problem as you head south is LCL heights will be higher so that will inhibit tornado potential. I haven’t looked at it that close yet, but I’ll start sorting out the details tomorrow and get my exact target for Tuesday posted. If there are discrete storms from central to Northeast Nebraska Tuesday afternoon, then I think there will be a decent tornado threat. I’ll get more into that later.

If you’re out tomorrow chasing, good luck. Wish I could be there. The road networks look like they suck over a lot of the threat area, so that will likely be the biggest challenge. There could be some photogenic tornadoes though so it should be a solid chase day.

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Extended Forecast

Looks like there is  a few days with chase potential starting this Saturday, so time to dust off the blog again. I’m tired and I have to get up early to go to Ottawa, Kansas tomorrow, so I’m going to just skim over the potential chase days coming up.

Saturday is showing some fairly decent tornado potential in southern Canada and northeast North Dakota. The GFS wants to keep precip to a minimum in North Dakota with the latest runs due to a cap. Still a long ways out so I’m not too worried about it at this point. If it did end up looking really iffy this side of the border I’d have a really hard time pulling the trigger. A blue sky bust at the Canadian border would suck something fierce. I could always cross the border I guess, but the best parameters appear to be along and south of the border where capping is more of a concern. I’m keeping an eye on it though. I’ve actually bagged tornadoes in North Dakota and Minnesota before, so it wouldn’t be my first time in either state. I have chased up there in years so I’d like to go back, but I’m not going unless I’m pretty damn confident there’s a solid tornado threat.

On Sunday there may be some action in the northern plains again, but it’s not looking as good as Saturday. On Monday I’m focused back on the central plains and potentially chasing central Kansas. And again on Tuesday there may be some potential in Kansas. Long ways out so I’ll get into it over the next couple days when I have more time. Chase season is winding down and this years sucked balls so it’s time to take what you can get. I’m going to have a hair trigger on all of these days just for that reason. I’ll try to update tomorrow night so check back then if you’re interested.

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Sorry for no posts. I’ve took it easy and went out drinking yesterday and I am flying solo today so I haven’t had time to post on the road. I am sitting in Nowata, OK right now. That’s just east of Bartlesville. I am split between taking the OFB to my north, which is getting better towers along it as I type this or dropping south if the convection trying to get going along I44 gets going. I think the OFB is the smarter play with surface winds backing a little and 87 over 77 in far NE Oklahoma. For now I’m kind of keeping my options open. I think mother nature is going to force my hand here real quick though. I’m leaning towards chasing the OFB. Trying to see how the storms farther east along the same boundary start off along the KS/MO border. My number one priority today is not to get shit hammered by cantelope sized hail. Roads get sketchy out here and storms will move pretty quick, so it’s a recipe for an ass kicking. I’m not so worried about while I’m chasing as I am about getting out of here when storms fill in without catching a little damage. We’ll see. It’s going to be interesting lol. Good luck if you’re out and stay safe.

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Forecast Update

Long day again today so I am just now getting started looking at model data. Another busy day today. I didn’t get home from work until after 6pm, then I had to walk Duck, workout and clean my apartment. I’m getting my oil changed tomorrow right after work to get it ready for a chasing road trip this weekend. After that I have to hustle home and change to go to a concert with friends. That being said, I haven’t had much time to forecast today and I won’t have much time tomorrow night either. There really isn’t a whole lot more to add anyway, so look back to my previous map and post for  reference. The previous forecast map is still valid minus a few tweaks I’ll cover below.

For Friday, it’s looking like cap’ola bust’ola. Neither the NAM or the GFS is painting a pretty picture. Chances look pretty good that the cap may hold. You really can’t trust the models with precip though, so I’m not canceling any plans just yet. As we get within a day of the event you can start to look at observational data and the models will provide a little better guidance. If the cap can break, the best parameters will be off the dryline bulge. The NAM has had the dryline bulge farther southwest than the GFS and the GFS seems to be trending that way. Therefore on my map below the threat area needs to be shifted a little farther to the southwest. Right now it looks like the dryline bulge and stronger shear will be near Oklahoma City. That is the area that would have the best potential for a tornadic supercell. It’s both a favored area for the cap to possibly break and it has the better low level shear where surface winds back. The big problem with Friday is the cap and right now it doesn’t look real good. If we can get a sustained storm on Friday, conditions should be pretty favorable for tornadic supercells. As I mentioned earlier, as we get closer it will be a lot easier to figure out the cap and whether or not we’ll get any storms. I hope the picture is more clear because I really don’t want to drive down to Oklahoma for a blue sky bust on Friday night. If it looks like we’ll get storms, I’m chasing.

Saturday looks like a much more sure thing as far as getting storms go. The problem with Friday is poor directional shear with very little 850-500 crossover by 00Z ahead of the dryline in Oklahoma. The best directional shear and greatest tornado threat will most likely be over the southern half of Oklahoma. Right now it looks like the southeast quadrant of Oklahoma, east of 35 and south of I40 is the most likely to get a tornadic supercell or two. As long as the directional shear doesn’t get worse with later runs, I think hodographs still look decent and a right moving storm should be able to produce over that area. The north central Texas area just south of there also looks okay along the dryline. So basically if you look back to my previous map, I think the southern half of the threat area I outlined looks best for tornadoes.

Alright, I know that’s pretty brief and uninformative, but I’m tired and winging it tonight so you’re just going to have to take it lol. I’ll try to get a brief update posted tomorrow, but no guarantees. Until next time…

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Extended Forecast

052217 Forecast Map Project

I’m going to keep this short tonight because I’m tired and I still think we are a day or two out from really getting into any detail. The NAM will pick up on Friday’s setup tomorrow morning, so I want to see that before I start getting too bold with my forecast posts.

It still looks like Friday and Saturday will both be chase days. High quality moisture with dewpoints as high as the low 70’s with extreme instability are the big assets with this setup. Mid and upper level flow won’t be all that strong (exception possibly being along the mid level jet axis on Saturday), but deep layer should be strong enough for supercells given the strong instability that should be in place. Low level shear is good enough, but not great too. The strongest low level shear will probably be located near the dryline bulge and warm front in NE Oklahoma on Saturday, where hodographs look quite favorable for tornadic supercells. The big concern for Friday looks to be a strong cap, however the GFS has been consistent in breaking out precip near the dryline bulge in NE Oklahoma. If we can get sustained storms, which is a big if at this point, tornadoes would look like a good bet in the vicinity of the warm front in NE Oklahoma with the current GFS solution. Long ways out though, so a lot can change. It’s certainly something to keep a close eye on though. Storms may also be possible farther south along the dryline, but I’d think the favored location for storms would be along the dryline bulge. That in combination with the stronger low level shear along the warm front in NE Oklahoma is making me focus in on that area for tornado potential.

Saturday storms should be a little more widespread as a stronger mid level jet streak works into Oklahoma. Long ways out, but deep layer shear would likely be stronger and the warm sector should be just as juiced as it will be on Friday. That sends the signal that Saturday may be the more widespread severe weather day. I like the southern into central Oklahoma area best on Saturday right now, but again a long ways out so a lot can change. . The orientation of the dryline is a bit NE to SW and I hate veering 850’s which we may be dealing with, so there’s a couple concerns for you. That being said, parameters do look favorable for tornadic supercells again on Saturday. That’s about all I’ll say for now given how far out it is.

Alright, that’s it for tonight. I have plenty more to say so I could be my normal long winded self right now, but I need to get to relax for a little bit before bed. I do plan on chasing both Friday and Saturday and I’ll be updating on here regularly so check back if you’re interested.

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Extended Forecast

052117 Extended Forecast Map

Welp, time to start looking ahead to our next chance for tornadoes. Still a long ways out and the GFS has been very inconsistent with the placement and extent of any severe weather/tornado threat for Friday, so take the above map with a huge grain of salt. As a matter of fact I based that map off guidance from the 00z and 06Z runs of the GFS. As I type this the 12Z run just came out and it has shifted the threat area south with mid level flow being too weak for supercells over the northern portion of the threat area on the above map.

Good quality moisture has already been pushed into southern Texas. Although there will be some modest return flow of moisture into the southern plains tomorrow, moisture quality will not be good enough for a tornado threat. Things will remain quiet through the week as a trough dives south over the plains and northerly winds keep quality moisture over the Gulf of Mexico. As the trough pushes east around the middle of the week, SW flow aloft will setup a lee side low and moisture should start advecting back north into the plains on Thursday. There is some chance for severe weather on Thursday along a dryline, but for now my guess is moisture quality won’t be quite good enough yet for a meaningful tornado threat. It’s something to watch though. By Friday better quality moisture should be in the plains with dewpoints in the upper 60’s/low 70’s being forecast. The focus for severe storms and tornadoes would be a surface low in the central plains and a dryline running south from there. There is not a strong trough with this setup. It will be modest southwest flow with small waves working through it. This makes it difficult to judge the exact location and extent of any threat, especially this far out. That being said, it’s kind of pointless getting into any details about what the GFS is showing. It has jumped around a lot over the last 4 runs, with the latest run keeping stronger mid level winds/favorable deep layer shear farther south in Oklahoma. I’ll be keeping an eye on it and update regularly. My guess is that Friday will be our next chase day. With good quality moisture and strong instability in place, it won’t take a whole lot in the way of shear to support a tornado threat. One thing I do like about these types of SW flow/low amplitude disturbance type setups is that there is little forcing, so you’re likely to get discrete storms and directional shear can be really good. I am a huge fan of both. Anyway, I’m watching each model run so I’ll be going over this setup as it evolves at least once or twice a day, so check back for updates if you’re interested.

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Last Couple Days


Thursday’s high risk ended up being  a kick in the nuts for me. We knew leading into Thursday that convective evolution was the big question mark with the extent of the tornado threat and it ended up mitigating it to a large degree. There was simply way too many storms and precipitation over the warm sector. I knew storms being clustered along the dryline and warm front was a major concern, but I didn’t think we’d get open warm sector storms like we did until the HRRR started showing it on Thursday morning. I still didn’t want to believe it until late morning when the open warm sector storms started going in Texas (which the HRRR showed going up first). Turns out the HRRR wasn’t all that far off.

I started the day in Greensburg, then moved back to Pratt to make sure I had both the warm front storms or the tornadic storms coming up from Oklahoma into south central Kansas in range. My target for the day was largely predetermined by the way. I have a rule I try to follow that I always keep Wichita within range on higher end tornado threat days. Because of that I was pretty much locked into the warm front as long as it stayed somewhat south or storms moving in from Oklahoma. We watched towers go up near Pratt, which is where the picture above was taken, until storms finally started developing just to our north. We started heading north to stay with them as they matured, but after about 10 miles we pulled off and headed back south because if we stayed on the warm front storms we were going to quickly be out of position and wouldn’t be able to beat any of the storms coming up from Oklahoma back to Wichita. So we decided to take the tornado warned storms moving out of Oklahoma up into south central Kansas. We skirted ahead of them down by the Oklahoma border and got in position off the east side of their track just in time for them to completely fall apart. From then on it was nothing but crapvection going up all around us and the tornado potential was ruined. I got in one severe storm on my way back to Wichita and had the stream on air so that was a small consolation, but I was pretty butt hurt I had nothing to show for a high risk day. I’m still a little butt hurt to be honest lol. So that was how my day played out. The little baby horny toad I found north of Pratt was pretty much the highlight of my day. Pic is below.

IMG_2316I didn’t want to look at today’s setup when I got home last night. I needed time to sulk first. I briefly glanced at the setup and SPC this morning and didn’t think it looked worth while up in Kansas. Paid zero attention to it through the day while I was busy at work and then found out I was getting my pants pulled down when a friend texted me about the first tornado warning. I headed out of town after that and saw the Pretty Prairie funnel/tornado. I wasn’t close enough to verify there was rotation at the ground. I did see it was reported my numerous people, some I believe to be reputable, that it was on the ground. I was driving and trying to find a high point off the east side of Cheney Lake so all I got is a pic while moving which is below.


I stayed with the storms all the way up towards Valley Center and then called it a day after all the severe warnings had been dropped. It was outflow dominant along the entire souther portion of the line at that point. Pretty much seemed like it was case closed on any tornado potential. Nope lol. God damn thing has a cell hook up in that line an hour later and drop a couple tornadoes out of nowhere. It actually had a pretty solid velocity couplet. Just dumbfounded by it. I can’t even get mad at myself on this one lol. Anyway, at least the day was not a total loss.

Looks like we are in for a bit of a slow stretch. I’ll check the models tomorrow and get an extended forecast up though. We can at least take a guess at when the plains will get active again so check back later if you’re interested.

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1kmvStill  a lot of uncertainty around convective evolution for this afternoon. The HRRR has been extremely consistent in blowing up storms over the warm sector and have dryline storms being pretty clustered. Visible satellite makes me question that a little bit over the south central Kansas portion of the threat area. We are in Greensburg now. The triple point looks to be setting up just to our SE right now. It should continue pushing NW towards our location though. Cumulus is becoming more agitated into south central Kansas and I’d expect a mesoscale discussion soon. A PDS tornado watch is already out for western Oklahoma up to the KS border. Our watch will be coming, it’s just taking longer for storms to get going up here, which will actually increase the tornado threat. The longer storms hold off the more volatile the atmposphere will be when they finally do go. See my map for last night for the greatest tornado threat area along the warm front. The locations on that map should still be valid. I need to focus on getting ready to chase now so I may not update again before I get on a storm. I will post pics to twitter and facebook and follow KWCH to see my streaming video and coverage while on the storm. Good luck if you’re out and  take warnings very seriously if you’re in the threat area.

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warm front 051817

The warm front is pushing into Wichita right now. The feeling in the air is about to change real quick as this happens. Dewpoints will jump about 20 degrees and it’s going to start to feel like a tornado day as the sun breaks through. The warm front coming through Wichita is a couple hours later than previous model guidance from the NAM suggested. That in addition to a couple reasons has me leaning towards the 06Z high resolution NAM guidance which puts the triple point slightly farther southeast than previously thought. This would serve to increase the tornado threat for Wichita IMO. Still some uncertainty regarding convective evolution today, which is the primary uncertainty regarding the extent of this tornado outbreak. I am just now getting into model data, so give me a couple hours to look over things and then I’ll get my forecast map updated. See my previous post from last night for details. My thinking regarding the extent of the threat and how it will play out is still the same, just a modest adjustment southeast with the surface pattern is all I’m thinking right now.

For those in south central Kansas and Wichita, this is the first high risk for Wichita issued by the Storm Prediction Center in 5 years. The last time we had a high risk is the night Wichita got hit by an EF3 tornado in 2012. If storms are discrete this afternoon, it will be a deadly serious threat. Pay close attention to the weather and take warnings seriously. There are only one or two days a year where parameters come together like this and pose a major threat to life and property. This is one of them. Watch KWCH for coverage. We will have the entire chase team out and they are staffing news crews across the threat area. There is a reason KWCH is number one. Although I’m biased, KWCH hands down has the best severe weather coverage in Kansas. Plus I’ll be on there so that’s where you want to go for weather information lol.

I will update again regularly today so check back for additional details.

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Significant Severe WX Event Expected Thursday

051717 Forecast Map

A significant severe weather event is expected over portions of central and south central Kansas and NW Oklahoma tomorrow. Strong tornadoes and very large hail will be possible and there is a real threat to life and property so if you live in that area pay close attention to the weather tomorrow afternoon and evening.

A very moist air mass with dewpoints in the mid to upper 60’s will move north into the plains tomorrow east of a dryline and south of a warm front. The warm front will be lifting north into southern Kansas tomorrow morning. It looks like the warm front will slowly start advancing through Wichita around 8am or so, which will most likely make for a bit of an eerie feeling in the air. It will be very humid and hazy as the warm front lifts through and I absolutely love those types of mornings in the spring where you can just feel it’s a tornado day. That should happen tomorrow morning when the warm front pushes through. By afternoon a dryline will run from near Dodge City south along the OK/TX border, with a warm front running east/west roughly along a Dodge City to Newton line.

Okay, so the surface boundaries stage is set. See the above map for the rough locations of where I expect the surface boundaries to be around the time of storms initiating tomorrow. Storms will likely develop off the north side of the surface low in the moisture wrap around area in SW Kansas first. The high resolution NAM has been very consistent in showing that. Those storms may pose a lower end tornado/hail threat, but moisture quality will likely be an issue. The more significant storms should develop along the dryline, starting near Dodge City where the warm front and dryline come together. What time exactly storms will fire is always tough to know. My guess is 4-5pm. With SBCAPE around 4000 ahead of the dryline and 50kts of deep layer shear the environment will be very favorable for supercells and storms could be explosive when they initially fire. Storm motions will be perpendicular enough to the dryline that discrete supercells should be the favored mode of convection. That being said, I do have concerns about how tightly packed in storms will be coming off the dryline and how long they will remain discrete. I’ll come back to that here shortly.

Judging the extent of the tornado threat tomorrow is tricky. The devil is in the details with tornadoes and everything has to come together just right for you to get higher end tornado potential. The parameters will be there to support it tomorrow. Initially 0-1km SRH is not that strong over the open warm sector. The exception will be in the vicinity of the warm front where backing surface winds will have low level shear supportive of strong tornadoes all through the afternoon. After 7pm 0-1km SRH strengthens over the open warm sector in NW Oklahoma and south central Kansas and the entire area I boxed in red on the map becomes supportive of strong tornadoes. Below are forecast soundings for tomorrow. The first one is from up around Greensburg and the second one is from NW Oklahoma.


NW Oklahoma sounding

If you look at the hodographs you can easily see how much larger the low level portion of the hodograph is closer to the warm front near Greensburg than it is in NW Oklahoma. That is one way of looking at low level shear. The easier way would be me posting a 0-1km SRH map, but COD’s new page doesn’t let me copy those maps any more so I won’t lol. Basically though, low level shear is going to be strongest along the warm front and after 7pm it really starts ramping up across the warm sector. One of the tricky things about tornado forecasting is that you can have great parameters all day long, but if you don’t have favorable convective evolution, namely discrete storms, then that potential is not going to be realized. How convection unfolds tomorrow is going to play a big role in how bad of a tornado event this is.

I plan on heading to Dodge City for my starting point tomorrow. The exact location of the warm front and dryline are still a little uncertain, so I may adjust slightly from there, but the triple point is my target and it will be somewhere around there. I think a triple point storm will go first. Hopefully there is a lag in time and/or space between when a storm develops at the triple point and other storms start firing farther south along the dryline. If that’s the case, conditions should already be supportive of tornadoes near the triple point and if a storm coming off the triple point is able to remain discrete for a period of time it will most likely produce tornadoes and very large hail. Triple point storms in general and especially ones on days like tomorrow with a negatively tilted trough have a tendency to get sloppy after a while. I’m guessing that will happen tomorrow, so as soon as I see the storm getting sloppy or losing it’s tornado potential, I’m bailing east and getting out ahead of any dryline storms coming up from the south. That’s my chase plan for tomorrow. If I weren’t doing that, another good play might be the tail end play and going for a more discrete/tail end storm down around I40 in Oklahoma. That would most likely be easier chasing with a photogenic storm option, but I’ll stick with the more hectic and volatile Kansas play.

Time to wrap this rant up lol. I am virtually certain we will get tornadoes tomorrow. The parameters are too strong in the right time of year for us not to get tornadoes. The question is how bad will it be. The parameters will be there to support strong long-track tornadoes if there are discrete supercells across the warm sector all the way until dark. The question is how discrete will storms remain and how long will they stay discrete. My guess is storms will be more tightly packed than I’d like coming off the dryline, but there will be a handful of dominant supercells that track from NW Oklahoma into south central Kansas capable of strong tornadoes as they do. Around dark I imagine they’ll start to fill in more, reducing the tornado threat with most storms, while any tail end or remaining discrete storms still pose a tornado threat after dark.  I think we are probably looking at a major severe weather event with some strong tornadoes. It’s the type of day you need to take very seriously if you live in the threat area. There are usually only a few days a year where there is a high risk to life and property from severe weather and tomorrow is one of them.

It should be a little more clear how storms will unfold with morning CAM guidance, so check back then if you’re interested. I’ll be posting regularly through the day. Once I get on a storm I post pictures to Facebook and twitter, so you can follow me on either one if you want to see my pictures while I’m in the field. If you are chasing tomorrow be careful and good luck.


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