Silver Lining Tours vans rolled in Kansas

Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Offering an addendum to my previous post (since it’s too late to edit) with thoughts after seeing the posts by @Jason Boggs and @Warren Faidley , I am similar to Warren, it’s hard for me to say I will just stay far away from HPs and have nothing to do with them. After all, isn’t it statistically true that HPs are by far the most prevalent form of supercell? On a two-week chase vacation that some years may only have as few as three to five chase days, to say I am going to totally avoid HPs would mean hardly chasing at all in some years. I don’t think I would be happy with a chase trip if all I had to show for it were a few structure shots from far outside of an HP. I am not contradicting my earlier post, I still would not be aggressive, I am just saying that I wouldn’t bail completely and, depending upon the “degree” of HP, I might be more inclined to stay in the SW quadrant as Warren said. Again I think it’s important to emphasize that not all HPs are created equal. There is a continuum from classic to HP in terms of exactly how much precipitation there is, and how strong and complex the storm is or has the potential to become based upon the parameter space. This, as well as chase outcomes on earlier days and other chase opportunities the same day or subsequent days, would all influence my strategy on a given day or a given storm. But I will always err on being more conservative.
 
Very valid points @JamesCaruso @Warren Faidley and @Jason Boggs . While I’ve always been a little more cautious while running the tours, I’ve certainly “played” in the notch on many HPs. 2013 was different however and I started to really try and evaluate what the risks were (even if I was chasing alone/not on tour).

We all know that all storms are different including HPs so I guess it depends on the storm/situation.
But I suspect I throw more caution this coming season.
 
I stay far far away from HP's. I don't want anything to do with them. I will either look for a better storm to chase, or I will head home. Give me a good classic, or better yet a nice sculpted LP and I'm happy! I think @Warren Faidley would agree with this.
I've chased (like many of us, I'm sure) quite a few HP supercells over the years - and very few have given a huge amount back to me. Like Jason and others, I will try not to get involved with them! Of course, it's easier said than done - for me, anyway. I tend to stick with them if there's nothing else around, but will often get ahead of them to try to pick out some structure shots, if any are to be had.

When I set out chasing back in the '90s, there were precious few materials to draw on - now there are lots. What there was, I read voraciously - and one main point which stuck in my mind (and was said to me by other chasers I'd met): HPs are dangerous! All the advice was to get out of their way. Now folks seem to routinely go right inside, confident on the radar's ability (and their own) to show where the danger is. My own personal observations of HP storms testify to the fact that they do 'things' very rapidly, at times - especially throwing out fast-moving RFDs which engulf you before you know it, removing situational awareness.

I'm not going to try to teach anyone to suck eggs - but advances in in-car information haven't changed how dangerous HP storms can be.

Stay safe, folks.
 
It's also important to remember that a maturing HP is not a contained object moving at an exact speed. Precipitation, hail shafts, downdrafts, outflows, tornadoes, mesocyclones and other features can suddenly develop or accelerate much faster than noted "storm speeds" at any given time. Positioning miscalculations, based on storm speeds alone could be the reason some chasers have been overtaken by storms in recent years. This is only exaggerated once you enter precipitation and lose all visual references. I think we have all used storm speed estimates to calculate our routes, only to find we suddenly need an east option.
 
Sep 5, 2019
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Newtown, PA
It's also important to remember that a maturing HP is not a contained object moving at an exact speed. Precipitation, hail shafts, downdrafts, outflows, tornadoes, mesocyclones and other features can suddenly develop or accelerate much faster than noted "storm speeds" at any given time. Positioning miscalculations, based on storm speeds alone could be the reason some chasers have been overtaken by storms in recent years. This is only exaggerated once you enter precipitation and lose all visual references.
In just 5 storm chasing tours, I’ve had 2 harrowing experiences with HP supercells. In June 2015, a rain-wrapped tornado from an HP cell turned and accelerated, coming within a few hundred yards of us before we saw it and were able to race out of the way. A scary moment since I could see it gaining on us. (In addition, a satellite formed near the main tornado.) And this year, we wound up trapped between a hail core to our north and rain-wrapped circulation - which contained a tornado - to our south, with no paved escape routes to the east. So the risk is high, the benefits low. I only saw the tornado that hit us on May 28 for 2 seconds, and, even then, it was nothing more than a swirling shadow behind a thick curtain of rain.
 
Jan 16, 2009
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Kansas City
I usually stay tucked into the SW quad and hope for a morph, e.g., HP to Classic or another fun event (hail, lightning, flooding, etc.) Occasionally, tornadoes are visible from this vantage point, but they are usually low contrast.
The SW area can for sure produce and the below video I shot on 5/11/14 shows an area of broad rotation that briefly shows itself as a white anti-cyclonic tornado. This threw a silo on the highway to the left below it SHOWED itself better. A brief damaging tornado to the SW of the forming wedge.