04.06.10

Chase #2 Evaluation

Posted in Storm Chasing at 1:30 am by Rebekah

Today was a bust of sorts for northwest Oklahoma/southern Kansas along the dryline.

I say “of sorts”, because it was rather expected: all parameters practically screaming supercells except for the lack of forcing.  So really, the forecast was nailed.  Some of us still wanted to be there to see it for ourselves, though–especially in case the forecast did fail.  Surprise, surprise, the cap remained in place.

To make a long, rather uninteresting day short, Jeff and I drove up to Enid, briefly stopped to figure out what we were doing, and continued on to Alva.  We wound up sitting at the dryline for nearly 3 hours just south of Alva, watching some itty bitty cumulus clouds form and then quickly dissipate.

Total chase miles yesterday/today: 390 miles

Total chase hours yesterday/today: 11  hours

On the up side, I tested all of my equipment, and with the exception of the new tracker page I put up on my webpage, everything works (the tracker page was not showing my position, but the actual Spotter Network site was).  Tracking worked well, streaming live video worked well (it was very exciting; I streamed some cows and a few flat cumulus clouds), and I found out that I won’t even come close to filling up on my cell phone tethering data plan.  Even the cell phone data coverage in non-3G areas was still fairly fast.  The biggest problem I foresee would be the video cable coming unplugged from the computer, if there’s too much excitement and potentially moving stuff around in the middle of a storm.  It was nice to test in a low stress, low expectations day.

In short, I had a great day, despite the blue skies!

I’ll post a full chase log (it’ll be short!) with photos (they’re rather boring!) on my website probably on Wednesday.

Tuesday looks it will be better than today, with many of the parameters still being there, but stronger forcing.  Multiple supercells forming along the dryline moving into central Oklahoma could be the scene of the day.  Potential target could be southwest into west central Oklahoma, but I have not looked at the setup in too much detail yet (will do so in the morning, and evaluate).

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

04.05.10

Chase #2

Posted in Storm Chasing at 12:25 pm by Rebekah

To chase or not to chase…that is the question.

With much hemming and hawing, I have decided to chase.  If nothing else, it’s a chance to test some new equipment before a very good day.

Today’s setup: large trough to the west, surface low in western Kansas, with a warm front extending into Iowa and a dryline from central Kansas into northwest Oklahoma and the east Texas Panhandle.  Dewpoints are in the 60s in much of Oklahoma and central/eastern Kansas, providing ample moisture.  Instability is good, with forecast CAPE values of 2000 J/kg or more.  Wind shear is great, with evening helicity values forecast to be 100 to 200 over much of Oklahoma and Kansas.  The better target today looks like Iowa/Missouri along the warm front, but that is outside of my chase region so I am not looking at that too much.

Everything looks superb today for beautiful supercells with large hail and tornadoes–except for one thing, which is why I had so much trouble deciding whether or not to go out today.  There is a cap over much of Oklahoma and Kansas, which will prevent much rising motion.  IF, and that’s a big if, we can get some sort of shortwave trough or moisture convergence or good lift, then an amazing, isolated supercell or two is very likely.  However, this is a highly conditional forecast, and today could wind up being a big blue sky bust for my target area.  There is a narrow area right in front of the dryline that may be ok, but I am prepared for this day to be a bust.  I would rather be there and bust, though, than not be there and miss an amazing supercell or two.

Hopefully storms will start initiating by 5 to 6pm, and if they produce anything, it may be just before or around sunset.

Target area: Alva, Oklahoma to Medicine Lodge, Kansas

Once I’m on the road, you can now see where I am (provided that I have cell coverage) on Spotter Network.  If I happen to see a storm, if I am streaming live that will be on ChaserTV.  You may also see my new tracking page on my website, showing my position on the road.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

04.01.10

Return of the Moisture

Posted in Severe Weather Forecast, Storm Chasing, Weather News at 3:08 pm by Rebekah

Here we go!

Oklahoma dewpoints are finally in the mid-50s; some dewpoints in western Oklahoma are already up to 60 today, ahead of a dryline.  Note the surface map below (click to enlarge), as of 2:50pm, from the Oklahoma Mesonet.

As the legend shows, dewpoint is the number in green.  The higher the dewpoint, the more moisture there is in the air.  For thunderstorms, especially severe thunderstorms, chasers often look at 60 °F as the magic number.

Note that in the panhandle, dewpoints are in the teens — this is because there is a dryline in the panhandle, or a line where dewpoints are low on one side (with winds usually from the west) and high on the other side (with winds usually from the south or southeast).  Temperature is given in the red numbers, while the staffs/barbs at each station indicate wind direction (mostly from the south in this case) and speed (based on number of barbs on the staff).

There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms today in western Oklahoma, but the cap (temperature inversion that acts as a “lid” to rising air) is so strong it is unlikely that much of anything will break through it.

Tomorrow there is also a risk of severe weather, but primarily east of here.  The next time I go chasing may be early next week, as it looks like we will not only have a decent trough, but also finally have the moisture and instability we’ve so desperately needed.  The actual day and location is still rather up in the air, but as the models start to resolve the details of the setup, I will begin to have a better idea.

Stay tuned…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »