Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Great North

Update is due since I've not written since the May 10th chase account, and even that was brief. Looking at heading north for a chase or two or three this weekend. Current thinking is South Dakota on Saturday, and beyond that I don't have a clue. The models are not coming into agreement at all, so it's really tough to formulate a plan which is proving quite frustrating.

Tia and I will likely leave Champaign, IL tomorrow early afternoon. I originally planned on just heading back to DeKalb where I could head west on Interstate 80 bright and early on Saturday, but now am thinking about driving us up to the lake cabin in southern Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon to play even further north. I'm starting to buy into the GFS' persistence, that there should be rotating storms in eastern South Dakota, and possible even into North Dakota and eventually Minnesota on Saturday evening. Preliminary target at this time frame 60 hours out would be Mitchell, SD. The Wisconsin trip tomorrow makes that a leisurely stroll across southern Minnesota down Interstate 90. The cabin is in a desolate location, but not all that far from 90, so it's a pretty nice launch pad for the chase Saturday morning.

Beyond that, things start getting really sketchy. There are two possible targets at this point, both of which have pretty strong negatives. The first that I noticed was in northern Kansas. Looks like a cold front/dryline triple point scenario where the models are fairly certain on something happening around the Hayes, Kansas area. That was my first play, but would have been a very long drive from South Dakota. I've made that trip before (actually North Dakota to Kansas), but would like to avoid doing so unless it screams significant tornadoes. That's when I noticed eastern Minnesota. This has the makings of being over crappy terrain at this point near Minneapolis, and potentially into western Wisconsin. However, I do see the potential for a few tornadoes, and now that I'm on the whole drive to Wisconsin and chase Saturday in South Dakota game plan, back tracking to Minnesota for a Sunday chase sounds pretty damn appetizing. At this point things look good setup wise, but the location needs work. I'll try and work my magic and see if we can't slow this thing down to where I can buy a chase in southern Minnesota on Sunday evening.

Monday, I had hoped to chase as well but more local, as I need to be back Tuesday evening. However, the obvious target at 120 hours out is well back into the western Dakotas. There is no way I could chase that area Monday and make it back to Illinois on Tuesday. So, perhaps if all works out right now I'll be in Wisconsin for an evening at the lake tomorrow, chasing beautiful supercells in beautiful terrain in South Dakota on Saturday, chasing in the forest on Sunday which would allow me to avoid getting another place to stay as I could just drive back to the lake house in Wisconsin that night after the chase. Then, if nothing peaks my interest in the midwest since the Dakotas are just not manageable, we can spend the last day on the lake. It should be getting pretty warm, so possible we can buy a little sunshine and make a relaxing day of it.

I wish things looked a little more certain, but I want to squeeze in at least one multi-day trip before the jet stream shuts down for a little while and I start to get a little more busy. I'll be taking a summer course in mid-June, and working a bit more frequently so while the chase will be on, these 3-4 day vacations will be harder to work out.

I'm excited to drag Tia along on this excursion. She's not very well traveled, so it's all new to her! Her trip to Kansas with me a couple years back was her first time west of Missouri. She's no storm chasing newbie, but she's only been along to the promised land once, I believe. Hopefully South Dakota can treat her well and throw us a nice sculpted supercell on Saturday evening. How about it?

I'll update more as things become more certain, but for now plan on the two of us hitting the road for the lake in Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon. Then, should things still look good, a jog down Interstate 90 shall follow.

EDIT: Stupid 18z GFS... it really loves that Kansas target on Saturday and then it's nothing but the Dakota's on Monday.

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