Monday, April 26, 2010

Down stretch continues, I suppose.

I'm feeling less mopey about the Friday evening scenario, but still bummed that I wasn't able to come away with much to show for this past weekends system. Congrats to the few chasers that were on the supercell near St. Louis on Friday afternoon. I can't help but be very disappointed I was not there as well. I was mocked and questioned and even dubbed a "neighborhood" chaser, but even three days out I was absolutely sure there would be tornadoes in NE/E Missouri on Friday evening. Okay, nothing is ever absolutely sure, but read my blog post. I'm pretty sure "very confident" was used, or something along the likes of that. Either way, sure enough the ONLY cyclic tornado producing supercell of the day, a day with 5-15% tornado probs stretching from Nebraska to Louisiana, my area with the 2% tornado probability verified with the storm of the day. I only toot my horn so much in those past few sentences to setup the fact that even with a perfect forecast chasing is still so difficult that I managed to miss the tornadoes. Even "knowing" three days in advance where the tornadoes would occur you can still not be so sure that you will see something. Several storms went up early and were slow to mature, so I held my position in Moberly, Missouri just north of my target starting point of Columbia, MO. In hindsight, I should have adjusted south to get ahead of the complex, but stuck with an area of northward moving storms and awaited their arrival to my part of the warm front. My first storm did sprout an inflow notch and small hook on radar for two radar scans triggering my attention. But the base never developed a wall cloud and soon evaporated. At this point, the show was already underway 40 miles to my southeast. Another storm had erupted near Columbia, and would be my only chance for another intercept before dark. I quickly blasted south and intercept just as nightfall arrived. The storm was much more photogenic, but still showed no real desire to produce a tornado.

Darkness quickly fell, and I was on my way home. Meanwhile the beast near St. Louis was still producing tornadoes. Right inside the target triangle I had mentioned three days before. But as said before, I did remain in my triangle but my storms were not so kind. While driving home thru torrential rains I did witness a car directly in front of me hydroplaning and doing a full circle before ending up in the ditch. Surprisingly as I slowed down they paused for a moment, before driving up the ditch and back onto the road.

In hindsight, I should have moved southeast. I was lulled to sleep by watching piss poor convection attempt to initiate in my location of Moberly while sitting in an Arby's parking lot for probably 3 hours. I noted very strong backed winds near St. Louis and said "yep, something is going to go down there." However, I continued to sit stationary waiting for a storm to actually show some potential. When returns showed up to my south, I forgot about the St. Louis area and took my eyes off convection moving into that area. Storms were uniformly pathetic until that one cell hit the warm front and those strong backed winds and went nuts. I hoped my cells would do the same, but no dice.

Saturday, one can't complain a lot about. Tia and I met up with Scott Kampas, Mark Sefried and Jarrod Cook in Mount Vernon. Chased a decent cell from Sparta, IL back to Mount Vernon, IL. It showed potential at times, but largely had that too cold look and never came overly close to dropping a tornado. Too much early convection ruined that, but we still targeted well, save for being in Mississippi or something.

I have not looked into the future on the long term forecast models. I'm told more is coming later this week, but it's really not the best time for chasing. This will be the final week of classes at NIU, and then finals will begin on Monday the 3rd of May. I will be completely done on Wednesday the 5th. Anyway, that said, I probably should be spending the coming weekend on prepping for that, rather than busting somewhere in the midwest.

Here are a couple photos from the supercell that did not produce near Columbia, Missouri.


Dann Cianca said...

Hey, at least you got a couple nice structure pics! Happy birthday man!

Dan R. said...

I was on the same storm - looks like you were not very far from me. I we had just had a little more instability, that could have been quite an event.

Unknown said...

For not being the storm of the day, that is some sweet structure. The neighborhood chaser talk was very uncool. Forget anyone who wants to disrespect your forecasting, the target verified. If anything, you do the community a service for keying them in to details they fail to notice through their collective SPC goggles. Last check, anyone who chases in their home state which so happens to lie in the alley is by definition a neighborhood chaser. Indeed a disingenuous foul against many on behalf of the few who support this foolish notion. I'll never understand the attitude towards people who chase outside of the Plains as being somehow less because they don't meet some mileage/distance criteria. Chasing is chasing but whatever... Those people are more than welcome to come for a visit here but I doubt they will. The irony of criticism is that those who produce and can empathize with what it takes aren't the one's doing it. The majority is with you and that's all that matters.