Monday, June 22, 2009

June 17th, 2009 Chaselog

Its day like Wednesday that make us storm chasers go out. In the morning and throughout the day the threat for supercells and tornadoes didnt look all that great, but with a 5% tornado risk close to home of course we headed out. Got on the road around 10:00 heading out towards west central Minnesota with no specific target city. Throughout the day we slowly ventured south based on the RUC ending up somewhere east of Windom. Between 4:30 and 5:00 we start to notice some towers going up, so we get on the east side of them to see if they would do anything. They would go up, start to get a base and lowering, and then fall apart. They did this for about 45 minutes. Finally we notice towers going up to our east-southeast. After not really paying attention to them Rich finally broke out the binoculars and could actually see the towers getting bigger in real time. After watching the towers to our west go up and collapse one last time, we decided to race off east towards the towers that were much farther away than we thought (we were near Windom and the towers to our east would go on to be the storm that hit Austin, MN). Quickly realizing we weren't going to get to the Austin storm in time we targeted more towers going up to the north of the Austin storm. On our way east the Austin storm produced a very nice, thick anvil with a classic overshooting top. The storm that we were chasing had some of the most incredible structure I've ever seen, very nice, crisp towers. After about an hour catch up game to the storm we finally intercepted it just east of Waseca. As we were just getting to the east side of the city, we heard reports over the ham radio of a waterspout over Clear Lake which is on the north side of Waseca. After getting through the last few trees in the city we got a brief view of the waterspout. We stopped about 1/2 a mile east of the city watching the base of the storm. We saw one or two brief spinups on the ground, but unfortunately there was no condensation funnel so figuring out where it was going to touch down was difficult and made it hard to get good video or pics. We also saw a couple more brief touchdowns just to our east. All in all we got 1 waterspout and 3-4 brief spin ups under the meso. After this we step-laddered it southeast until we decided to bail and head home south of Dodge Center. The entire time we tried but could never quite completely break through the hook. Not much else to say, we didnt really see much after we started driving east from Waseca. Anyways, here's some pictures.

The incredible structure of the storm:

Structure shot with a view of the base, lots of rotation.

Not exactly sure what to call this, it had a lot of rotation so my gut tells me its a funnel, but the shape of it is so weirf that I have not idea. REALLY wish we had been able to get video or better pic of it!

Really crappy picture of the same feature but much closer and the thing is hanging right on the ground. Also lots of rotation. The last thing we really saw on the storm, spent the rest of the chase trying to get ourselves through the hook.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brief recap for June 17th and June 18th FCST

Ok, gotta do this quick as we have another very busy day today. But first a quick recap from yesterday.

Headed out with Rich Gudmunsen towards southwest Minnesota. Around 5:30 towards started going up over southcentral MN but we could still see them very well from where we were. After a long drive to catch up to them we finally got on a TOR warned storm near Waseca, MN. After we got through town we witnessed a water spout over I think it is Clear Lake just north of Waseca. LOTS of motion and rotation under the meso, probably the most I've ever seen. We saw a couple of circulations on the ground. Hard to say whether it was a true tornado or a landspout, but it was in the action area under the meso so who knows... Continued to follow the storm as it tracked ESE, we ended up behind the hook and for the most part we were never quite able to get through it. Didnt get much video or pics after Waseca but plenty of structure shots before we got to the town. I wanted to have pics up by now but thats just not going to happen.

Forecast for today: SPC issued a moderate risk for southern Minnesota and northern Iowa including a 15% hatched tornado risk. Its a tought forecast with the storms moving through the area right now but that will likely lay down a plethora of outflow boundaries for later today. Extreme instability expected to be in place across the risk area as strong heating and quick destabilization occur throughout the afternoon. Looks like the western edge of the MOD risk is starting to clear out so we might already have some heating occurring down there. Gonna head out today, not sure where but it seems like anywhere in the moderate risk could be a good play.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another PDS blue box and thoughts about the end of June

The Storm Prediction Center has issued another PDS severe thunderstorm watch for eastern Oklahoma and a good part of Arkansas. Here is a link to it:
Cant remember the last time the SPC called for 105 mph winds in their text:


This thing has already had atleast one tornado warning on the bookend vortex. Been watching it off and on this morning and it's been looking quite healthy. What is different about this MCS (and by the end of the day quite possibly derecho) is that in addition to the extreme straightline winds, it's also been producing very large hail (for any non chasers or weather weenies out there that is hail in excess of 2 inches in diameter) which is pretty strange for an MCS, although definately not unheard of. Should be interesting to see how it all turns out by tonight. I bet it would make for a fun chase as long as you didnt get smacked by 3" hail driven by 100 mph winds.

GFS is showing the end of June starting to be more active for us up here in the north. Although it is still a long ways out, it looks like we may have a couple of storm days with actual, real moisture to work with. Not a whole lot to say at this point since it is still so far out but I will say that our storm season may FINALLY start up here.

One more thing; I have some video from my chase on Sunday and I have no idea what it is. My guess is probably just the updraft, but it is hanging pretty close to the ground. I posted the link to the video below, so if anyone has an idea what it might be please feel free to leave a comment. The video was taken ~8:15 or 8:30 just west of Maysville, Missouri along highway 6. It's obviously rotating but not sure what to call it, you can tell the feature is moving south (camera is looking east) while other motion looks like it is moving east. It's a timelapse and at 6x normal speed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chaselog June 7th, 2009

Chased with Chris White. Our target was Holton, KS and with the long drive ahead of us we headed out a little after 8:00 am. On the way down we decided to just stay a little farther north and changed our target to Hiawatha, KS which was about a half our shorter drive. Ended up being a good decision as two storms fired just to our west. We went after the northern storm first as it looked best on radar and went TOR warned about 20 minutes later. We setup to watch the storm about 4 miles northwest of Dawson, NE along highway 4. Watched the storm for about 20-30 minutes. We didnt have the best view of the storm since we were watching it from the northeast, but we were still able to see the wall cloud. After about 30 minutes the TOR warning was dropped and the storm started to look like crap on radar so we decided to jump southeast to try to intercept the storm heading in to Missouri. By this time there was a constant stream of chase vehicles going the exact same direction we were headed. Imagine the movie Twister but times about 100. It was a fucking circus out there. But anyways, we continue east, and lose data. Not sure what happened but my phone didnt want to recognize that my computer was trying to tether it. Stupid technology. So we try to intercept the storm without data and with visual aids only. We pass Tony Perkins and his partners in Oregon, MO. They were there looking at the very large hail that had fallen. We stop to say hi and measure some of our own stones. Biggest we measured was between 2.75"-3.00" but there were reports up to 4.25" and someone at ST even said that they measured 5.25". All I can say is I'm glad we didnt get stuck in that core. The rest of the day was spent playing catchup trying to get in front of the storm but unfortunately we were never able to. We ended up just west of Maysville, MO watching the backside of the storm. I got some video of what I'm thinking is an updraft but I honestly have no idea what it is, but whatever it is, it is rotating. Just down the road from us at this point was the DOW, and numerous Vortex 2 trucks. After this we head east as I35 is just a couple miles from us, we stop to get some sunset pics and then head on home. It made me feel a little better after not getting a whole lot since nobody else really got much. Still some powerful storms but it didnt seem like anyone was able to see the storms very well. But it wasn't a complete waste, got to see the TIV in Oregon, MO, the DOW in Marysville, MO, numerous V2 vehicles, and numerous V2 probes near Oregon, MO plus chasing for the first time in Missouri, something I figured wouldnt happen unless there was a 30% hatched tornado risk. Pics below.

Wall cloud to our southwest on the northern storm:

Storm to our southeast:

Updraft on the dying storm we were just on:

Looking east at the TOR warned storm. We are just west of Maysville, MO at this point, time is somewhere around 8:15 pm. I'm not sure what this is, I have a timelapse video that shows it obviously rotating.

Sunset before we head home:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

6/07/09 Chase FCST/update from the road

Heading out with Chris White today going down to northeast Kansas for what looks to have the potential to be a pretty good day. Current target is Holton, KS with the WRF showing good instability and helicities. Taking a look at the RUC I think it is overdoing the instability but even still we should have plenty of energy to play with. Visible satellite shows clouds clearing across the northeast part of the state but more clouds to the west. Will pay attention to what that area of clouds does the rest of the day, but our target area should stay clear most of the day. Expecting initiation around 5:00 and we should be down there around 4:00. We better damn well get something for this one day road trip to Kansas, I'm sick of driving over 1000 miles for a chase. Will post more later.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FCST: June 7th/8th

An active severe weather weekend is already underway across Wyoming and Nebraska with lots of photogenic storms and even tornadoes. The threat should continue for the rest of the evening as the storms are cycling nicely. Tomorrow could also be decent in Nebraska although the big issue will be the cap. However, due to work on Friday and Saturday I couldnt be out. But I got someone to cover my shift on Sunday so I will definately be out. Right now, I'd say north central Kansas or south central-southeast Nebraska. We'll see, models have been pretty inconsistent but I still think it has potential, certainly better than anything I've chased so far this year. And it looks like it could be a two day chase trip with another possible chase on Monday in Iowa. Right now I'm not overly confident as it looks like precip will be ongoing throughout the day for most of Iowa, but for now southeast Iowa has my eye. We'll see though, it'd be nice to chase two days in a row, but Monday has to look pretty good. Now the problem will be finding a chaser to head out with who hasnt already headed south since most chasers around here either already headed out or are heading out tomorrow so it doesn't sound like there will be many to meet up with on Sunday. But I'm sure I can find someone. Should be a circus down there, maybe I'll get to meet a few people while down there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 1st chaselog and bitching about the weather pattern

Chaselog: Outflow dominant CRAP!! I saw it coming though, the way the models broke down the CIN and the upper levels winds far away from the instability we knew better than to head out. But one of these days we will get a surprise. I took a couple pics, hardly anything worth posting. Lots of people out there though, mostly to our east in Missouri, we ended up in southeast Nebraska and even dipped down in to Kansas for a few minutes. We core punched most of the storms since there wasnt much danger in it given the setup. Got some hail, quarter size at best. The most interesting part of the day was on the way back home watching the supercells in western KS/NE. One of them was a west moving, left turning tornadic sup. The radar loop from Goodland for this event was unreal, it will definately without a doubt make a phenominal case study. Another sup to the north in NE fired, died, then reformed farther south and went on to become TOR warned (and tornadic I believe too) but unlike the storm to its southeast, this storm was moving south/southwest. Eventually something triggered more storms in the area which for a while also looked supercellular on radar. All the while a squall line was moving north towards these supercells. Eventually all the storms met and the sups got ingested in to the MCS and from the loop from GLD you could still see the motion of the sups in the MCS after they got ingested. It was friggin sweet to watch. I wonder what it would've looked like if there had been a time lapse of it all. One of the coolest things I've seen....

Anyways, the pattern the models are showing for us up here looks like complete shit, and not much rain. At this point I dont even care if we get storms, we just need some rain. Even with the active winter Minnesota had, east central MN got dryslotted with most of the winter storms which drastically cut down the amount of snow we received and with May being so dry, things are not good up here. The GFS does show some rain coming through early next week, but even still it doesnt look like much. I guess one positive is that the highs are only going to be 65-70 most days next week which should help keep the fire conditions from getting wildly out of control. Maybe its time to start chasing wild fires instead of storms for us since Minnesota is obviously not going to give us a storm season this year, and I'm sick of driving nearly all day for chases that yield low potential. Put a knife in it, storm season 2009 is a BUST!!

I may post some pics/vid from the chase on Monday, but that's a lot of work for some pics of a crappy storm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

6/1/09 Forecast/Update from the road

Heading down I35 here with Jacob T from F5 heading down towards Des Moines for now. Gonna stop off, grab some food, and look at data before making our next move. Right now anywhere south of I80 and west of I35 looks decent. Models are showing good instability but with the clouds over that area right now I think temps will stay a bit cooler, but that shouldnt be a big issue since I dont think the cap is going to be an issue today. Not gonna do a big forecast, but somewhere in southwest Iowa is our target, we'll narrow it down later. Hopefully I will have something more interesting to say or show next time I post.