State of the Chase Season: 2019

Bill Hark

EF5
Jan 13, 2004
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Agreed Warren! I was just looking at the 18Z GFS, and I'm quite impressed with central Plains chase opportunities for next week. There is decent potential from Monday and continuing for almost a week. Of course, the details are to be worked out and the model output will likely change. I cannot come out at this time, but good luck to those who can make it out.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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The Euro is not quite on board yet with the multi-day fun, with the first wave sending a cold front to a Texarkana/San Antonio line. That being said, it does show at least one good day before that. If the aforementioned front can stall out and come back north quickly, we'll be in business. Cautiously optimistic for a chase trip!
 
Jun 16, 2015
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Oklahoma City, OK
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It's still early. The Euro isn't overly excited about next week, but it's the end of April/beginning of May anyway. Climo says that the season is starting to ramp up, but it's fairly common to see more down days than big days in the first week of May. If you look at the past 10-15 years, most years have a lull in early May. It's not until at least mid-May that most years tend to start consistently performing. The year 2011 may be one of the best examples. That year was historically active in April, but then things shut down until the second half of May.

Overall, we've had a fairly quiet year so far in the Plains, but we're not that far off from climatology. Note that early season events in the Plains skew the averages, as big events in April are outliers. Dixie has had most of the tornadoes so far, as one would expect.

I can't think of too many years in recent memory in which the season started off busy (late April/early May) and stayed busy, aside from 2008. That almost happened again in 2009, but that year ended up being quieter than usual from mid-May through early June, which is the typical peak of the season. 2007 was very active to start May, but from May week 2 through the rest of the spring and summer, tornado counts were below average. 2013, 16 and 17 all heated up, but as you'll notice from tornado counts, their big increase wasn't until the middle of May.

Since Dodge City is one of the favorite spots for many chasers, here is their tornado climatology chart via SPC:
DDC_env.gif

But hey, I get it. Even if the early season isn't very active, chasers expect at least a few Plains chases in April and early May. This year has delivered a few of those opportunities and should feature at least one or two more in the next 7-10 days.
 

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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Quincy post above is spot on. I'm rooting for a few people who had to go out there early. At the same time I believe the peak will be inline with mid-late May climo. If the current MJO wave passes through, we should be able to get another on its tail with falling AAM. Yes please!
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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The optimistic view of the most recent posts is at odds with the ERTAF, which shows Below Average for next week. That forecast was from Sunday 4/21, have things changed that much since then, and if so isn’t it too soon to consider it a model trend?
 

JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
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The optimistic view of the most recent posts is at odds with the ERTAF, which shows Below Average for next week. That forecast was from Sunday 4/21, have things changed that much since then, and if so isn’t it too soon to consider it a model trend?
Looking at the individual runs, the GFS definitely went to crap for this Sunday/Monday compared to multiple runs that were good up to a couple of days ago. Euro had 60s dews/high CAPE up into Kansas on Sunday, and that's been pushed south quite a bit on last night's run, which is more in line with the change the GFS showed. I've gone back to being pessimistic for at least the near term. Maybe it will end up being more towards mid May before it gets consistently better.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
For several days now I have been looking at SW flow over the southern plains with forecast environment decent for supercells next week. That's about all it takes to get me excited for my first multi day trip of the year. It's just picking what days. May end up in TX each day. I have had some great times interacting with storms under weaker flow aloft.
 

Braxton Banks

Enthusiast
Jun 26, 2017
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Bixby, Oklahoma
Posted this on the StormTrack Forums Discord, but posting this here as well.

Since we recently hit Weather Watch #100 for 2019, here's when the Storm Prediction Center issued Weather Watch #100 per year since 2001.

2001: April 6th (TOR)
2002: April 16th (SVR)
2003: April 6th (SVR)
2004: April 21st (SVR)
2005: March 27th (TOR)
2006: March 19th (SVR)
2007: March 31st (TOR)
2008: March 4th (SVR) <--- Earliest occurrence in time period
2009: April 1st (SVR)
2010: April 24th (TOR)
2011: April 5th (TOR)
2012: March 22nd (TOR)
2013: April 11th (TOR)
2014: April 27th (PDS TOR)
2015: April 24th (TOR)
2016: April 21st (SVR)
2017: March 29th (TOR)
2018: May 17th (SVR) <---- Latest occurrence in time period
2019: April 24th (TOR)
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
Im losing faith in next week. The GFS and EURO are both trending towards an awful surface pattern characterized by sloppy, strung out lows and a sagging frontal boundary that reaches the gulf with 50s dews by May 4th. Even with 30+ kts of westerly flow I can't get excited with such an awful surface pattern.

Sure, you can hope for a random mesoscale accident somewhere or the caprock pulling a rabbit out of its hat with upper 50s/low 60s dews but other than that. I don't think next week will be the dream tornado pattern we were once hoping for. Beyond that things still look to improve so Im overall optimistic, I just think we'll have to wait a little bit longer.
 

Todd Lemery

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Jun 2, 2014
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Every model run seems to get worse. Even the usually generous CFS isn’t showing much until the middle of May. I’m still holding out hope it will turn around as it so often does. I could be back to drooling on myself in a couple of days...
 

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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Weekly forecasts look good after May 10, esp after May 12. Really it's in line with the Quincy climo post above. I know people who had to chasecation early; so, I'm rooting for next week. However my main concern is late May.

AAM and MJO forecasts remain friendly to second half of May trips. Himawari loop shows West Pac stuff moving, which is good. Indian Ocean convection continues to build. Once we get that Pac stuff out of the way, maybe the IO can amp up the Northern Hem.

West Pac stubbornness may be part of the problem next week. However it's finally moving! ECMWF weeklies look good May 12-30. Little cool at times Plains, but it's way better than a ridge. There will be troughs. Tee it up!
 
Aug 19, 2005
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Atlanta, GA
Im losing faith in next week. The GFS and EURO are both trending towards an awful surface pattern characterized by sloppy, strung out lows and a sagging frontal boundary that reaches the gulf with 50s dews by May 4th. Even with 30+ kts of westerly flow I can't get excited with such an awful surface pattern.

Sure, you can hope for a random mesoscale accident somewhere or the caprock pulling a rabbit out of its hat with upper 50s/low 60s dews but other than that. I don't think next week will be the dream tornado pattern we were once hoping for. Beyond that things still look to improve so Im overall optimistic, I just think we'll have to wait a little bit longer.
I agree. Will likely stay put until at least mid-May
 
Jun 3, 2009
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Stuttgart, Germany
We will be flying to Denver May 8th and have 14 days net for chasing. SPC is now mentioning the possibility of zonal flow through next weekend. I hope we will see a return to western troughing by the time we arrive. By Thursday next week I might start to believe what GFS and ECMWF show for the time of our arrival.
 
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Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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Welcome to the Great Plains (last 2 posts). Week of May 6 might try 1-3 days. It's not great, including possible non-Plains, but it's not dead either. ECMWF is not as ugly as the GFS.

I believe sometime during the week of May 13 it'll perk up in the Plains. ERTAF talks mid-week, but nobody can time it. Awaiting the next favorable MJO signal. Weekly models also become slightly more favorable that period. Hopefully the ECMWF weeklies hold (22Z today/Mon).
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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Still very impressed with the period of about May 12 onward, give or take a day or two. Don't really care about seeing insane troughs at this point, as once the dryline sets up in the west (as models have been consistent with) there is potential each day as small disturbances in the modest flow could generate isolated storms. Although it's still too early to start drooling, this could be a classic dryline year, given the pattern of fewer strong fronts driving the moisture south, only to return too late for the next system. Nor is there any indication of the evil 700mb cap hurling a money wrench into the party ATM.