Current Set-ups

Okay chasers, now is your time to shine in the pre-trip environment.  Kevin suggested starting a thread on convective potential over the course of the next couple of days…so if you look through the model data (or even short-term “nowcasting” radar/satellite info) and find anything interesting, make a quick post.  Nothing in-depth (I certainly don’t have time to do that now, and I suspect you don’t either!) is necessary, but any brief observation over the next couple of days.  If severe weather erupts out west, head outside and listen carefully:  the distant wail you may hear is me…storms are firing and we aren’t out there yet…    -Dave


35 responses to “Current Set-ups


    important influence of a warm front! will be keeping my eye on the panhandle today where winds are backing, SBCAPE lookin’ good (up to 4000), and ample deep layer shear co-located with the highest cape!

    dave, i can hear the wailing…

  2. Also take a quick look at what popped up on Tuesday afternoon — a brief but highly visible tornado in a supercell near Amarillo, Texas, emerging from a very marginal convective setup.

    It’s a storm chaser’s dream to nab something like this on a day that started out as “See Text” by SPC. We’ve scored good storms before on days when the local weather service and/or the SPC weren’t too impressed with the setup.

    As for the developing setup … we could be chasing 4 or 5 straight days slowly following it east from the Panhandle region to the Mississippi River.

  3. Kevin, Dave and I were following that Amarillo storm all evening! Definitely a perfect storm because it was all by itself, and most importantly in open country. Dave said you nabbed something similar like that in 2006! 🙂

  4. hokiestormchaser

    The storms in TX tonight (Wed.) have stayed discrete (probably complements of the modest forcing along the stationary front and a moderate cap in place), but have not been productive with tornadoes. What little I have looked at: sfc winds are decently backed, but rather weak, and 0-1km SRH is fairly modest as well. Favorable wind profiles are certainly in place for mesocyclone development given the modest instability, but the low-level factors seem to be lacking for tornado formation. -Dave

  5. 1 tornado report in SE Colorado this evening — Las Animas County, one of the most remote places you can be in the Plains. My wife and I drove through there testing Autonet after a 2007 visit to Taos, NM, and we couldn’t even pick up Autonet. I think 1 day of nothing but eyeballs and a roadmap to go on would be an intriguing chase day!

  6. OK for Thursday, where would you locate?

    Looking at the NAM and GFS, I’m going to say Woodward, OK, which is in NW OK east of the TX Panhandle. The NAM is a little farther north with the best helicity, putting it in KS, while the GFS is a bit farther south, more in western OK. Good deep layer shear (50-70 knots) through the region and a nice ribbon of CAPE (2000-plus) from SC/SW KS south through western OK and TX. I’d be in Woodward by noon to re-evaluate, possibly shifting north/south/west with new data.

  7. I watched that Amarillo storm as well. One of the most obvious tornadoes I’ve ever seen on GRlevel3 from the wind velocities. It was BRIGHT green on BRIGHT red. And suddenly I’m able to see Mesos on there, so I had a purple Meso with a TVS right in the middle of it on that spot. I knew for sure a tornado had to be on the ground and sure enough the Weather Channel confirmed it minutes later.

  8. hokiestormchaser

    Forecasting blind here as I am dutifully working on a final exam: per the SPC discussion, I’d make sure to be in a position for an early intercept, as storms may have a tendency to line-out rather quickly today.

  9. If SPC’s 10% hatched area for tornadoes verifies, Woodward OK would be a very good place to be, on the eastern/northeastern edge of the bullseyed area.

  10. That and now we have a Moderate risk for tomorrow in North Louisiana and south-central Arkansas. SPC is calling it a potential Tornado Outbreak down there. Bad news is it’s also forecasted to hit overnight.

  11. for today i’m going for the area right above the right-angle of OK-east but only until north central OK (kevin, you’ll have to forgive me because i don’t know county or city names yet haha)

    i actually think the highest tornado risk area should be shifted east a bit. that’s where the highest cape and LIs are….although the cap isn’t quite as strong east so that may allow for more widespread/less severe convection.

    however, with helicities concentrated on the border between OK and KS, i’m going to say i would park myself on the border of those 2 states just east of the right-angle (that’s also where winds are backing and the the warm front!)

  12. Also most of that moderate risk area is AWFUL chase terrain — thick with trees and hills, swamps and bridge crossings, except for a tiny sliver of flat/cleared agri area near the Mississippi River (which has widely scattered bridge crossings itself). If it were centered a little farther north and east, from east-central Arkansas to southeast Missouri, it would be much more chaseable terrain.

    There may be a second bullseye on Friday from NW Missouri into NE Kansas, SE Nebraska and SW Iowa with backing winds around the low-pressure system. SPC shows that as 15 percent hatched for severe now.

  13. Looking at SPC Forecast Tools … most of the wind parameters at early afternoon are bullseyed on south-central KS east of Liberal, south of Dodge City, west of Medicine Lodge, near the OK border. 35 mph 1 km shear, 40 knots deep layer shear, 200 helicity, and backing winds from the SE. CAPE is up to 1,000 in that region, but up to 2,000 in TX panhandle and 1,500 in OK. With clouds breaking along the OK/KS border and those kind of parameters, if we were at Woodward, we might think about edging a little NW toward that region. Perhaps move to Buffalo, OK, in the eastern panhandle and re-evaluate.

  14. hokiestormchaser

    VAD wind profile from DDC show nice veering w/ SE sfc winds. 2 hr. pressure falls are occurring from SE CO down through the Panhandle, maybe in association with 500mb jetmax…something to watch if that continues…could back the sfc winds in eastern TX panhandle and western OK later. If the RUC is accurate (a big “if”), instability really drops off north of the boundary that lies W-E across southern KS. Right now the sleeper area could be E/SE CO with nicely backed winds…got to go with the area east of the low, and RUC is now showing a 994mb low over central CO. Storm motion ave’s are around 240/20, so any right-mover could travel along the W-E boundary in KS. Shear vectors vs. boundary seem more favorable in far SW KS/SE CO and into the TX Panhandle…maybe more discrete potential there. So much for my 5-min. analysis…now, back to work, and I leave the dreaming to others. -Dave

  15. Here’s where I would want to be … the vans don’t quite make Buffalo OK and begin, in Dave’s lingo, “cheating” west into the TX panhandle …

  16. SPC has painted a MOD in the eastern Texas panhandle for the remainder of the day. 15% hatched tornado area. 45% hail, only 15% wind. Right now SE Colorado is lighting up with 6 Tornado warnings. Backing winds must be the culprit in this environment (Kinda like what we saw in ’08 leading up to Kansas with the Fort Collins tornado).

    I’m watching Briscoe County, TX right now (Due east of Dimmit… 08 stop). Initiation appears to be underway with some tiny blips showing up on radar.

    Oh, and Kathryn, you best get your atlas out and study the mid-western states. Dave and Kevin will pull out names left and right of places out there. Maybe if we have a late night driving (which I know there will be) we’ll be able to have the mighty SigTor keep us all awake with some stories from his immense knowledge of historic storms.

  17. Kathryn and I have been targeting the same area today, btw.

    Will those stories keep you all awake or help you sleep? And just how has that SigTor thing stuck so long? 🙂

  18. By now (6 p.m., no matter what the time indicator shows on these posts) I’d hope we either be on the cell in the northern TX panhandle about to move into the OK panhandle, or on one of the cells east of Amarillo. The stuff in Colorado is spawning several tornadoes, but it’s very chaotic in a sparsely roaded area.

  19. hokiestormchaser

    …best cell in the panhandle is on the eastern side of a mess…spotter’s are reporting a tornado near Groom (OH NO!…I hope our leaning water tower is still there!). Meso/TVS is approaching the Donley-Gray County line right now. Decent road network in that area. Nice-looking storm right now… -Dave

  20. That’s the cell east of Amarillo I mentioned above … and also I think the cell that was forming east of Dimmitt that Andrew mentioned earlier. On radar it underwent a bit of a split (a small cell split left) just before the tornado formed.

  21. hokiestormchaser

    Panhandle is really lit up tonight…cells are now competing with one another…more likely to see rain wrapping now…-Dave

  22. andrew, i will be sure to get out that atlas haha

    so apparently i missed the best action/best radar signatures when sitting in class *sigh* like dave said, everything kind of congealing together now in TX.

  23. kevin,
    earlier you and i parked ourselves right in the middle of the 2 action zones (TX and CO)….the storms are just getting there now, but what would we have done before now? would we have gone north or south instead of sitting and waiting in buffalo?

  24. hokiestormchaser

    …strong signature on the tornado-warned cell in Scott County KS…currently the best-looking cell right now(8:00pm). -Dave

  25. i’m on it!

    KS may light up now…warm front + low just to the west

  26. Kathryn: I think we would have driven north from Woodward toward Buffalo, then ended up darting west before we got to Buffalo into the Panhandle. From there we would have either engaged the northernmost cell in the TX panhandle (now crossing the OK panhandle) or the tornadic storm east of Amarillo.

    Best looking cell now is the tornado-warned storm southwest of Childress. We spent Memorial Day at a nice park waiting on modest storms to fire last year.

  27. Scott City KS — duck and cover at the Chaparral Inn!

  28. hokiestormchaser

    Kev…I think we would have bagged a tornado or two today if we were out there…(sigh) -Dave

  29. Something to keep in mind is that for all of our individual speculating on where we would be, in a chase trip environment the consensus of the group or our observations in the field in real time might have taken us a totally different direction. So rather than hang around Woodward and then move to the TX Panhandle like I have suggested, it may well be that we would have ended up in Colorado or at Scott City KS or at Childress TX based on what we were seeing and formulating as a group.

    Would have liked our chances to bag a ‘nader today, indeed …

  30. A Tornado is no match for the glass-topped cinderblock patio walls of the Chaparral Inn. If the Scott City storm holds together… it’s heading right for WaKeeney. (fyi Kathryn, if we ever mention WaKeeney on the storm chase, you should get excited… it paid big dividends in ’07 and especially ’08)

    The current storm in Cottle County TX had a confirmed large tornado earlier. As of now (9:15 pm) it’s the most impressive storm we got…

  31. Already at least one funnel pix on Stormtrack:

    Keep coming back to this link later tonight and tomorrow and I bet you’ll see all kinds of neat stuff.

  32. hokiestormchaser

    Scott County KS warning earlier included a “spotters were tracking a large tornado” too. Yup, I think our chances for a big day would have been pretty good today. By far the best svr wx day so far this year out there. The closer we get, the more agonizing missed set-ups become…and all we can do is hope for a few turns at bat (in Kevin lingo) when we are out there. V2 missed a good set-up today. -Dave

  33. It would be time now to watch the lightning show, perhaps grab a quick bite somewhere, and check the data on the road to plot the next day. SPC is really playing up LA/eastern TX/southern AR, but most of that is pretty unchaseable terrain and would probably happen at night. My early bet would be the triple point set up near where Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri meet. We’d have to haul it to at least central Kansas to have a good play on that. If we were way down toward Childress TX, that would be a haul past midnight plus an early AM departure. Salina, Kansas, would be a good place to get to for the night, dodging storms as we go.

  34. hokiestormchaser

    …yup, run like crazy while you have the storms…figuring you will catch some rest in a day or two…and marvel at the storms you intercepted.

    Kev: the Childress storm this eve may have been the higher CAPE beast…if we were swinging for a homerun instead of playing the main game further north. -Dave

  35. i like wakeeny already 😛

    just read the SPC outlook for tomorrow, they’re expecting a significant severe weather outbreak. only concern is that tornadoes may really when night has already fallen…

    will be watching it closely no doubt!

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