Contemplating what lies ahead…

Just taking a short break from sorting and prepping the gear for the June storm chase, and wondering what we will encounter down the road.  Forecast models show a potent zonal jetstream  pattern crossing the northern plains for much of the beginning of our trip, with wind dynamics being stronger than the jet we played with in May.  With the zonal (or even slight ridging) pattern currently being shown, we will have to once again rely on more subtle features in order to identify where storm initiation may occur.  We absolutely nailed the forecasting in May, and will need to do it again in order to maximize our storm opportunities.  There are hints of a modest trough developing well into the trip, but at this point we will need to concentrate on the days closer at hand.  The initial pattern looks much like the May trip:  the pattern looked modest, yet produced very high quality storms…if you could find them.  We found them in May, and if the storms fire during our June window, we need to be there.   -Dave

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16 responses to “Contemplating what lies ahead…

  1. the wind field looks very potent (to use your word)…no problems with a weak wind field in the northern plains that’s for sure!

    for the start, TX panhandle and OK doesn’t look too bad, got a couple of L’s floating around, and of course the dryline. however, northern plains look better as you go out. i have a feeling you’ll be hanging out in NE/SD again. I’m not going to watch the GPS tracker for fear I may see you all in Pierre….

  2. After our fiasco around OKC, I don’t think Dave is ever going there again

  3. andrew, i concur!

  4. I’m expecting the June trip will never get south of I-70 … maybe even never south of I-80. Enjoy those long daylight hours up in the Dakotas … and get in a long-envied Montana chase for me!

  5. I’ll have to throw in with Kevin after quickly peeking at the GFS. Excursions south of I-70 will be few and far between, but that’ll keep the team out of the Oklahoma madhouse…

  6. Just did a little brief analysis… the IA/MO border looks good Saturday evening, good CAPE and Shear… after that it looks like the CAPE stays down in OK/TX.

  7. Do you chase the CAPE with the weak front bouncing into the heat dome (100-plus temps down toward OKC/Dallas) or await the weak disturbances moving through the fast but zonal jet stream flow to the north?

  8. hokiestormchaser

    …input from the May crew (and our other forecasters) is most welcome. You have been there, done that…let us know what you think…it is obvious that you forecasted accurately in May!

    The vans are prepped, and ready to roll. Tomorrow we roll west… -Dave

  9. storm chasers roll out!

    quick look at the models makes me wonder if you’re heading out via the northern route. that’ll put you in IN/IL/IA by tomorrow to possibly grab some storms out there in the slight risk. then, by the time you hit NE/SD, you’ll be ready in waiting int the very strong zonal flow.
    sunday looks like it could be interesting in the TX panhandle with the usual probably isolated but big storms. after that though, the dynamics are much better in the northern plains! i’m with kevin above, and agree i don’t think you’ll spend much time south of I-70.

  10. Kinda liking central Illinois/Indiana tomorrow. Shear looks exceptional, just a matter of where the best CAPE lines up with the front, plus how the overnight MCS to the west affects things. Next weekend I think you get a real trough crossing the Northern Plains, with some small disturbances in the zonal flow before that.

  11. I would zero in on NW Illinois to central Illinois later in the day. I would set-up shop in NW Illinois near the border with Iowa–that way you can meet the L coming out of Iowa. NW Illinois has more than adequate shear at all levels, decent CAPE, and good helicity with all that moving east and south into central Illinois as the day progresses.

    SPC did mention a few strong tornadoes are possible so go find them! 🙂 good luck, and have fun!

  12. Told Dave where Iowa/Ill/Mo meet might be good. But really, a lot of it depends on whatever happens with overnight convection. Some of those pieces won’t be clear til tomorrow sometime.

  13. it may turn out like that exercise we did the colorado day which ended up being moot haha.
    i agree….the apex between those states looks like a good location! (right now…..)

  14. After tomorrow things definitely look better farther north. Continued zonal flow eventually transitioning into a trough digging across the Dakotas. Then the fantasyland GFS kicks that out and shows a weak cutoff low moving across Colorado. After that… it gets ugly.

    As for tomorrow… 18Z NAM has close to 40 KT of 0-1km shear in norhtern IL/IN (dangerously close to Chicago)… but CAPE up to 3000 stays along and south of I-74. 50-60kt of deep layer sheer in place too (close to 80 further north). 1km and 3km Helicity is ridiculously maxed out too. So basically if you can coax the CAPE up into that high sheer environment (or vice versa), you’re gonna be in for a ballistic day across central/northern IL and IN

  15. hokiestormchaser

    We are in Urbana/Champaign for the night. Much of the forecast for tomorrow will be dependent upon what happens overnight (and even tomorrow morning). Due to the high degree of uncertainty, we actually concentrated on the future beyond the weekend during our evening discussion. SE flow begins as early as Sunday evening through the western plains, so there may be upslope potential from that…the GFS is kicking out some precip. during that timeframe which could indicate some upslope potential. It could be a span of time where we forecast the best we can, and then stay tuned to the vis sat to see where any Cu’s begin to climb, and make a dash for that area if it is close enough. All eyes peer toward the potential trough later in the week though. -Dave

  16. Tomorrow to me seems like catch it early in Iowa, then bail out before it transitions to a major MCS in Illinois and traps you east of it.

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