2019 Chase Season Epilogue: How was yours?

Jul 5, 2009
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One thing particularly frustrating about this year, which I forgot to mention, was that the tornado activity was hyped up even in the mainstream media, so everybody back home in Philadelphia is like “wow, you must have seen a lot of tornados this year,” or “how could you not have seen anything, I was hearing about tornados on the news every night?!?” That can happen with a single event any year - for example, even in 2018 there was a Dodge City tornado that made the news, on a day so many of us were in NW Oklahoma. But this year it was worse to hear people think there are tornados dropping all over the place, not understanding the nuances of chasing. As @Brett Roberts said, “an active pattern with numerous tornado days is a critical and necessary, but not always sufficient, ingredient for producing a top-tier chase season.” I had to keep explaining to people, “Well, two of the events you may have heard of happened before I even got out there (5/17 and 5/20), then there was Jefferson City MO which was at night (and on the night I was flying out), then there was El Reno OK also at night, then there was Dayton OH which was out of range, then Lawrence KS which I stayed away from because it was a metro area.”

Ironically, the only tornados I really missed were NOT mainstream newsworthy: TX panhandle on 5/23 and Tipton/Waldo on the same day as Lawrence, 5/28.

I try to explain to people that it’s not like going to a movie, you don’t know the exact time and place you should show up,
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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Not to get OT but there are a few references to 2010 being an example of a great season. I got Campo that year but don’t remember much else noteworthy. I was out for two weeks and Campo (5/31) was right in the middle, what were the other noteworthy events that year? Can’t remember if I missed anything big while out there, or if it was just poor timing of my chase trip.
 
Jan 7, 2006
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Not to get OT but there are a few references to 2010 being an example of a great season. I got Campo that year but don’t remember much else noteworthy. I was out for two weeks and Campo (5/31) was right in the middle, what were the other noteworthy events that year? Can’t remember if I missed anything big while out there, or if it was just poor timing of my chase trip.
I knew I remembered a thread on this subject at the time, and was able to dig that up by searching through my old posts: Is 2010 the most photogenic tornado year to-date?

Looks like there was some degree of disagreement in real time as to whether it belonged up with the likes of 2004, but quite a few people thought it did.

Just off the top of my head, the list of quality days that year is pretty staggering: 3/8 (Hammon), 4/22 (TX PH outbreak), 5/10 (I-35 outbreak), 5/18 (Dumas), 5/19 (Leedey/Hennessey/Wynnewood), 5/22 (Bowdle), 5/23 (Texline/Clayton), 5/24 (Faith), 5/31 (Campo), 6/5 (IL), 6/10 (Last Chance), 6/16 (Dupree), 6/17 (MN/IA outbreak). And I'm pretty sure there are at minimum 3-5 other really good days I'm forgetting that might be mentioned in that thread, especially if you include the Midwest. Overall quality is very subjective, but one thing that's hard to debate is that 2010 was a more "well rounded" season across the spring, even ignoring that (to my memory) many setups were also less messy and more straightforward to forecast.

It also wouldn't surprise me that 2019 ranks relatively higher on many non-resident chasecationers' lists than locals like myself, as opposed to 2010, which stretched from early March to late June. I have to admit, petty as this sounds, it's a bit frustrating when living here all year doesn't really pay off with a few good events outside the core mid-late May period when everyone else shows up -- and that's been an alarmingly consistent occurrence in recent years, like Jeff Duda pointed out earlier in the thread.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Thanks @Brett Roberts I will check out that 2010 thread. Based on the dates you listed, the only ones I would have been out for and missed were 5/23 and 5/24 (and 6/5 but I don’t go all the way to IL if I am on the Plains). I will have to go back to my journals to figure out what I was doing.

Understand your point about clustering of events, residents vs chase vacationers etc., but that cuts both ways, easy to miss the one or two big weeks and potentially choose a down week even in the month of May... It’s happened to me multiple times.
 
Mar 2, 2004
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I'd be very curious to hear whether any veterans would put this year's subjective quality on the same level as a legendary season like 2004 or 2010. I only chased the latter, but from what I understand of both they were a whole lot less messy with easier forecasts, more targetable big days, and more photogenic activity spread more widely in space and time. All that despite 2019's raw numbers suggesting it was similar or superior to 2004/2010 in terms of tornadoes and even tornado days, especially in May. Perhaps it's best summarized this way: an active pattern with numerous tornado days is a critical and necessary, but not always sufficient, ingredient for producing a top-tier chase season.
No... simple answer... just cause the numbers are there doesn't mean the quality was. And again, my experience differs as I didn't get on the most photogenic storms, most photogenic tornadoes. But in those seasons, there was abundant opportunities for those types of events, and likely on highly obvious forecasts. This year featured a lot of grungy days and situations that were hard to take in, unlike those big days in 2004. My "veteran" thoughts.

Just one great day can make a season, and this year had several (17th, 20th, 23rd). I think it’s just important for a season to be evaluated separately from personal success or lack thereof.
The question posed was "How was yours?"... which means I think it's perfectly acceptable for a season to be evaluated based on personal success or lack thereof. :D
 
Jul 5, 2009
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The question posed was "How was yours?"... which means I think it's perfectly acceptable for a season to be evaluated based on personal success or lack thereof. :D
Oh I agree, my comment was just in reaction to other posts that were talking about the season in general terms as not being that great for chasing, so my point was just to not mix the two; one’s own experience should not lead to conclusions about the quality of the season overall. I think it’s too easy to pick at the negatives and forget that probably most seasons are more like 2019 and will always disappoint relative to the standout seasons. Also, I guess my post was driven by the same interest @Brett Roberts has, he said it best: “The gap in quality between seasons, both from an objective and person-to-person standpoint, is a topic I've been fascinated by for awhile.”
 
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Nate M.

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May 16, 2019
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I would call it a successful season for myself considering the relatively narrow window of opportunity I had to chase with other commitments, storms out of range, etc. My first storm of the season that produced was the one near Crescent Oklahoma with a couple of tornadoes on the ground. I was able to head out there after lunch, see what I needed to see and be home by bedtime. A couple days later came the bonus chase right in my own area code with the gorgeous supercell and wedge near Commerce. Chased it north of Joplin and all the way to west of Golden City until roads were blocked by debris. Unfortunately there were fatalities at that location and I was completely worn out so I called off the chase. So I end up with 4 tornadoes and really not many miles on my truck or hotel expenses. I call that a win C4B36782-7A34-44F1-9EBA-5B5A09417749.jpeg3EEF023A-8A26-45DA-B324-5230F8C36F16.jpegC821C219-C87D-403F-A8F4-2959DC21F315.jpeg616885E7-D0E8-49D8-9D0F-5A385BBC7194.jpeg341BF31A-173B-4D2E-8AFB-554DFA4158D0.jpegBA05228F-6791-4E43-92E8-6E6C115E1073.jpeg09C0A6D0-EDAF-4F50-B285-5162B97686AE.jpeg8B2723BB-B2BC-4EF0-882F-EE7E86B1EBC3.jpeg