Chasing in California

Oct 14, 2008
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Tulsa, OK
Hey all,

I recently moved from Tulsa, OK to the foothills of the sierras about an hour east of Sacramento. I plan to return to the plains to chase during subsequent springs; however, I'm interested in bagging the rare California tornado. I know there are a few chasers on the forum from the California area, and I'm hoping to get some insight into trying to chase the elusive Calinado. Like most chasers, my typical stomping grounds are the southern plains, high plains, and northern plains. I'm comfortable in those environments and have been chasing there for going on 18 years. I've heard from a couple chasers that chasing the central valley is different from chasing the plains. So, if anyone with insight and suggests would be willing to give me pointers on chasing in California, I would greatly appreciate it as I am not going to rest until I score one.
 
No direct experience, David, but I've considered driving up from SoCal. My observations over the years:

- Usually post-frontal, very low CAPE, high shear mini-sups
- Central Valley seems to be where shortwaves encounter enough heat & moisture for decent buoyancy and isolated afternoon storms
- Either side of 99 on farm roads looks chaseable
- I've seen the SPC put a slight risk outlook on the best set-ups
- Local FDs are a good way to monitor potential
- Whenever a big fall or winter storm system is heading into California, I begin watching for potential severe. For me it's usually a waterspout chase, but I've seen a couple of supercells as well.

I'm guessing some decent storms get unreported in the central valley each year due to remoteness. Could be fun, even if only marginally severe, just to get in the mood for the upcoming chase season!
 
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