Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DVD is available!! Order noooow.

PWX 2008 is finally here!

Click here for ordering information!

Monday, November 10, 2008

DVD delays...

As you know, I'd planned on having the DVD released by now. However, some significant things came up at the end of the month, and now for the past week I've been very sick. This is actually the first time I've been able to get up to my laptop since this past Thursday morning. While the DVD production is finished, this has prevented me from actually getting it reproduced to send off to everyone.

It's still in the plans, and won't take long to be reproduced once I get feeling a little better so stick with me!

Hopefully it's worth the wait.

Friday, October 24, 2008

PWX 2008 Storm Chasing DVD!!

The DVD is FINISHED! I'm waiting on getting some copies made, but should have them ready in a week or so. I'm actually going to be very close to my target release date of Halloween, October 31 2008! The price will likely begin around $19.95 and then go up to a final price near $25 so get on it early. Be sure to check back for the release!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

June 7 2008 Chicago Tornado Video Up

A new version of the Chicago area tornado video has been posted, as well as a full detailed account of the chase.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Outflow Boundary!

In the year of the outflow boundary, it appears we have another potential chase day in Illinois. An MCS is currently located over eastern Iowa and northern Missouri and should leave an OFB in the Mississippi River vicinity this afternoon. We should see new thunderstorm development along this boundary by evening.

Strongly backed surface winds and a southerly LLJ at around 35 kts give us pretty decent low level turning that can be enhanced even more by this boundary. Surface instability on the order of4500 j/kg by 5 pm will provide the rest of the juice for supercell thunderstorms.

I'm not committed yet, but will be watching an area along a line from Galesburg, IL to Rushville, IL this evening.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June 3 2008 Manchester Illinois Tornado

Video now up from the June 3rd Manchester tornado in southwest Illinois during the evening of June 3 2008.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kansas tomorrow?

Looks like a decent shot for supercells and tornadoes tomorrow across NE Kansas or southern Nebraska. I've already committed myself to getting up early and making the drive over tomorrow (this time of year only comes once, what the hell). Right now probably targeting the Manhattan area along Interstate 70. Maybe a little better kinematics further south, but doesn't look like the cap wants anything to do with eroding down there.

Vertical velocities are spiking with an eroded cap and surface cape of 3500 j/kg around Interstate 70 near Manhattan so I think that's as good a bet as any for some supercell activity.

Biggest concern now is slightly anemic flow at H7 and H5 the further north you get. If we can hang around I-70 we're still looking at around 45 kts of 0-6 km shear which will do supercells, and helicities at 0-3 km are peaking around 400 so tornadoes should be a threat if we get deep convection to fire.

Debated on this day for a while tonight but who knows how long the pattern and my finances will allow so might as well go all out this week.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chase Today!

I am currently sitting east of Springfield, IL in the small town of Riverton awaiting initiation of robust convection along the outflow boundary from this morning thunderstorms in northern Illinois.

Supercells appear possible given the strong shear and added turning the OFB can provide. Should be another hour or so before we have severe thunderstorms across the area.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Witnessed four tornadoes over the evening in western Kansas around the Grainfield, Collyer and WaKeeney area.

Here are two videos and several photos from the chase.

First rope tornado near Grainfield, and then the dusty large tornado near Collyer.

Fourth intercept, near WaKeeney at dusk.

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Tornado near grainfield

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Wall cloud south of amy

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Heading west to intercept supercell near garden city

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Heading south on hwy 40 to ness city kansas. If we dont see tornadoes today, i quit.

Photos / Forecast

Chased around eastern Colorado for an appetizer chase and got about what we expected. Elevated supercells and plenty of hail. Unfortunately a strong cap kept storms from hanging around too long. We did manage to get hailed on a couple times, and capture a wall cloud near dusk.

Here are a couple photos from yesterday.

As for today, prospects look a lot better. I'm afraid to get TOO excited because of a couple things. One being the early precip being shown on the models, combined with not as favorable shear profiles early in the day a bit further north in the target area. I fear this could lead to an overall messy situation with a lot of storms covering the area interacting with each other in a negative way. I guess we'll just have to see how the situation plays out. If things can hold off a little bit longer and we get more discrete activity I'll have higher hopes in seeing a couple violently rotating columns of air making contact with the ground.

For now Mark and I remain in the storm chaser packed Super 8 in Goodland, Kansas. Kind of funny to look down the parking lot at all the antenna and probe covered cars. We'll likely play west central Kansas today, but have yet to pick a target.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

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Storm forming near yuma colordo

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Initiation south of our location in sterling

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Crossing into colorado now, with a target of sterling at the moment. Landspouts today?

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Loading up in lincolin nebraska, should be on the road shortly!

Heading to Fort Morgan, Colorado

Mark Sefried and I arrived in Lincoln Nebraska last night for our several day expedition on this major trough digging in over the Rockies. He may remain out here for some time, but I'll be out today through Saturday, likely using Saturday as a day to drive back home unless something local develops.

Just a quick update as we're pressed for time right now and need to get on the road, but we're heading towards Fort Morgan Colorado right now to play for high based supercells. Will update more from the field as I can.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Here are some photos and video from my chase yesterday in western Illinois. Below is a brief account that I posted on a chasing email list.

I played western Illinois as well. I sat around Havana hoping that storms forming in western Illinois would remain discrete. However obviously with the strong forcing of the cold front that wasn't going to happen. I figured this would be the only game so I got out ahead of the line in Schuyler county and intercepted south of Havana near Virginia.

Then had more or less given up the chase but decided to get back ahead of the storms to I took 67 (i believe?) southeast towards Springfield. I noticed a storm making it's way towards Springfield that had begun to flare up so rather than hitting 72 back home I detoured west towards Farmingdale. This cell was more discrete, but still obviously outflow dominant so I planned another wind intercept. Got to break in the new car with it's first hail stones, only around dime sized. Winds this time certainly reached severe levels so I figured the NWS could use some confirmation on their warnings and submitted a report of 60 mph winds and dime sized hail, which the SPI airport confirmed with their own 60 mph measured gust.

After this I made my way south through Springfield dealing with construction as I made my way back towards 72. Sure enough, the storm goes tornado warned near Lincoln, but was obviously just a quick spin up in rotation in the north end of the bowing storm. Either way, I wanted to have some more fun so I punched back through the ass end of the bow echo on 72 and was quickly back ahead. From then on I kept stopping for lightning photos and and then getting back ahead of it back to Champaign.

Actually stopped right by the Champaign airport and let the gust front hit me again where a 67 mph gust was measured about 200 yards away from where I was sitting. For whatever reason, I didn't really notice the severity of the winds this time. Was a good deal of tree damage on the south end of Champaign once I got back in town.

Anyway... here's a short video clip with terrible compression and some photos I took. The first being the Springfield storm, and the rest obviously lightning photos between Decatur and Champaign.

Fun day I suppose after I initially thought it would be a total bust, but am ready for some discrete supercells.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 10th Photos / Upcoming Week

It's been fairly quiet lately so I figured I'd throw up a few photos from the April 10th chase in western Illinois. Instability dropped off quickly as you moved into Illinois from Missouri so the storms quickly turned from rotating supercells to mushy garbage. The first photos were taken as the storms crossed into Illinois near Payson, Illinois southeast of Quincy. The final two were taken further north near Macomb as storms tried to line out.

It appears there will be chances for thunderstorms across the midwest here and there for the upcoming week. At this point nothing is looking very impressive however, and the models have been all over the place so I've not taken off work and set aside any time to chase at this point. If I had to guess now, I'd say Tuesday and Friday look like the best shots in Illinois' area with Friday being the best, but with the changing of the models and the lack of any really deep system I'm not at all impressed with the end of April.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

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Near payson illinois.

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Supercell in view near quincy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

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Not what you want to see hen merging onto the interstate.

Chase Forecast Update

Well it's never fun to wake up to a blanket of clouds, but the models continue to insist that the system will wrap up and that warm front will really surge north here after about 9 am. I still don't think that it will take a ton of instability to set off a low topped supercell or two and the RUC is lifting an area of nearly 1000 j/kg up to Interstate 72 by 21z. Low level shear is still bonkers in that area along the warm front so I can't pass up the chance that something does develop in that area beings how it would be about an hours drive for me. I'm not sacrificing much at all today so it's a no brainer to at least give it a shot.

I'll probably hang here in Champaign a little longer and let things get their act together, but plan to hit up a Springfield to Litchfield line on Interstate 55 by around the lunch hour, possibly a little further west towards Jacksonville depending on where initiation looks to occur. Interstate 55 will give a nice north and south option to adjust to the low track and warm front position. It's hard to believe how fast the models want to lift us into the warm sector, but they've been consistent so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt at this point. I guess I'd rather they be consistently wrong, rather than all over the place and making me throw a dart at the ole map.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tuesday Chase Forecast

I've held off on jinxing the setup by posting a forecast, but figure the night before I've waited long enough.

We're dealing with a low cape/high shear setup tomorrow. I've still got two possible targets in mind. A northern target which would basically hug the track of the surface low right on the warm front. With low instability, this may be just enough to kick off robust convection. Any deep convection that forms in that area will rotate given the insane amounts of low level wind shear that will be present in the area. The second area I had pondered is further south where better instability may exist, but once you start getting too far away from the surface low the winds begin veering and that amazing turning is gone and you'll be left with an outflow dominant mess.

Most likely wherever the low tracks, I will be. At this point I'm thinking about heading towards the Springfield to Litchfield area along Interstate 55 to await initiation and then commence the trek back northeast. Being along Interstate 55 should allow easy N-S adjustments should the track of the low change from current forecasts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Severe Weather This Week?

The models continue to show the possibility of several severe weather episodes across the midwest and the southern plains for the week of April 6-12th. Most noteworthy in the Mississippi Valley are Tuesday and Thursday. While Thursday is still some distance off and the models could change considerably between now and then, the strong system has been on the models the entire time, and has not changed much run to run so I'm starting to buy into a possible severe weather outbreak scenario on the 10th. Tuesday is much closer, but hasn't been quite as concrete on the models. However, it is also much closer and has shown stability over the past few runs.

The GFS has been consistent in swinging an approx. 998-1002 mb low through Illinois during the day on Tuesday. Airmass recovery ahead of the system will be key in determining if we see robust convection or a heavy rain event. At this point, areas that seem most likely to destabilize sufficiently for severe weather lie across southeastern Missouri into the southern half of Illinois.

Thursday is a little harder to pinpoint as it seems it could be a much more widespread event. However, at this time anyone in eastern Iowa or Missouri, all over Illinois and parts of the lower Ohio River Valley should be keeping an eye on this one. ECMWF now wanting to deepen a 988 mb low over Minnesota and Iowa on Thursday with a wide open Gulf of Mexico creating a widespread severe weather scenario.

As stated though earlier, this event is still a good 5 days out so I'm not sold. The consistency has me concerned though. For now, I'm keeping my attention on Tuesday as it looks like our best bet for severe weather since the early January outbreak this year. (feels weird to reference January as the most recent severe weather outbreak locally)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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Neat roll clouds near muscatene iowa. Subpar end to a subpar chase

Monday, March 31, 2008

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How you know the day is over.

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Crappy storm near ottumwa iowa

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Convection! Heading south to the iowa missnuri border towards developing thunderstorms.

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Clear skies in ottumwa iowa! Eating at taco johns awaiting convective development. (we hope)

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What type of day not to chase. Mark sefried, darin kaiser and myself are currently en route to a cloud covered ottumwa, ia hoping for a glimmer of hope we will see some clear skies. Shear is there, instability likely wont be.

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I wish i were chasing now.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring is back!

After early season events raked the midwest and long quiet spell will finally be put to rest tomorrow.

I will likely be meeting up with Mark Sefried in the Peoria area tomorrow morning. Our current thinking is that we'll play the warm front early in the day, and then should it look like convection will not initiate along the warm front we'll drop further southwest back into the warm sector.

Should development occur along the warm front, it looks like it has the potential to go tornadic. Further southwest along the cold front tornado potential isn't quite as strong, but there's a better chance for severe thunderstorm development in this area. Linear seems to be the most likely mode, but with such a dynamic system, supercell thunderstorms can't be ruled out. With that threat comes the attendant tornado threat.

Be sure to check back for updates through out the day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Flooding in Eastern Illinois

Rapid melting of 10 inches of snow followed by 5+ inches of rain together in 24-36 hours combined for a ton of water with nowhere to go. I shot some video and photos of the rapidly rising water levels across Champaign County Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

For a full account and photos, click on the link below.


Sunday, February 3, 2008


Welcome to the Prairiestorm ChaseNow Blog. Here I'll be posting my severe weather forecasts, storm chasing plans, and in the field, real time updates via cell phone as the chase evolves!

Stay tuned as severe weather season is just around the corner so this page is sure to be changing quickly!