State of the Chase Season: 2019

Trade Stocks for Free with Robinhood
Leverage your knowledge of weather to beat the stock market with free trading on Robinhood! Sign up today, get free stock!
Aug 19, 2005
238
48
11
Atlanta, GA
New Euro is pretty crappy, but based on the fact it is been very inconsistent with its previous run AND does not jibe at all with all of the other guidance I will assume that this run is an outlier until I see what the EPS does.
 
Jun 1, 2008
469
363
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
My take is Monday improved to a chasable day on the ECMWF. Initiates slightly later AND farther west. Yeah that's all good. Still starts around 15Z which is too early. However, additional development can be chased. Figure Monday will produce, but I have no idea where or if it will be visible.

I'm questionable Monday. Already postponed to skip Fri/Sat. Either one could be chasable days, but I also had some FEs pop up. They are not yuge, but enough to require a better set-up. Again Monday is still on the table for me.

Now @JamesCaruso I think later next week looks good when you get out there; but, it might be north and west. While parts northwest Nebraska (not PH) and southwest SD have road holes, the rest is great. Good roads grace the eastern Dakotas into SW Minn. However eastern Nebraska has some flooding issues.

All, the following is hypothetical and in no way targeting a week out. Geography provides some help in CO/WY with the Palmer Divide and Cheyenne Ridge. Winds can be a little more backed north side of such ridges all else equal. If outflow lines up with physical geography, it's even better. Roads are a little sparse but visibility is excellent.

Speaking of possible changes in the forecast a week out, several GEFS members had lee troughs in more traditional ares farther south some of those days next week. Too early to really narrow down.

Finally looking way out, the week of/past Memorial Day could remain active anywhere in the Plains. Majority of ensemble members favor more southwest flow. However the spread is the usual that far out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JamesCaruso
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
June my friend usually produces some great events. Hopefully that isn't chock full of FEs for you.
Thanks Mark. Nope right now I'm all good on the FE side from 5/23 through 6/8. It's more the work side of things. I only have two weeks, so if I'm out starting next Thursday, I may need to be back at work by Thursday 6/6 instead of staying until the weekend. Still, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush as they say, if there are any opportunities at all next Thursday/Friday I intend to take them and worry about June later.
 
Jun 16, 2015
449
990
21
32
Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
The overall synoptic pattern still looks favorable through at least next weekend (25/26). The 00z Euro ensembles show mean troughing in the West/ridging over the Southeast through about the 27th, before spread increases and there’s a signal for more Midwest/Great Lakes troughing.

I think back to late May 2015 when I had a couple of underperforming chases in the High Plains before I gave up*. I thought the pattern for the upcoming week looked junky, but I ended up missing a string of decent tornado chase days, including Canadian, TX.

As long as there is troughing over the Rockies vicinity, there will be storms to chase in the Plains. There may not be a string of outbreaks and some days might feature a more ambiguous or challenging chase target, but don’t bail out.

*In 2015 I had a week of travel time with an old friend and after an abysmal trip in late May 2014, I didn’t want a repeat. It turns out 2015 actually had a relatively busy back end of May.

The advice: Don’t lose hope!

Remember that climo says the Plains averages only about five tornadoes per day in late May. That’s really not a lot if you think about it, but most days starting tomorrow and through next week should feature at least some tornado potential, especially with a favorable upper level pattern.
 
Jun 1, 2008
469
363
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
I feel like next week (May 20-24) will be bigger than currently shown. Euro and GFS have a lot of North stuff. I can remember past years that look day 7-10 became Kansas by game time. Some of it is outflow. Some is models discerning subtle features.

Thank you @Quincy Vagell my 2015 was so similar. I busted Mother's Day weekend (2nd time in a row also 2014) hence my no Mother's Day rule now. FF to 2019. This Saturday reminds me so much of that OKC 2015 MCS washout, and the desperate attempt from Bucklin, KS. My best buddy in Wichita joked, I'll see you next weekend. I did not attempt. Missed beautiful tornadoes.

So I can see this Saturday doing the same thing, heck maybe even same placement. So I'm still chillin' in Chattanooga. Might miss a tube Friday, but doubt anything long-track siggy.

Now instead of sitting out the next one, I think one should be out in the Plains next week May 20-24. Euro and GFS show ugly rising heights after Monday. However the GFS Para and some EPS members keep heights neutral. Southwest flow upstairs, LLJ most days and 68 dews, neutral will definitely get the job done!

While I've talked trash, esp on Discord, about waiting until week 3 it really is trash talk. Quincy gives me/all an important reminder. That's the great thing about Storm Track to share ideas. The Plains is calling next week, yes indeed!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matt Harding
I really want to chase NE tomorrow, but I also want to chase TX Saturday. I can't figure out how to make it down to TX from NE in time, especially if the storms start firing early Saturday. Do I chase TX Friday, and risk missing out on a tornado Friday, or do I chase NE Friday, and risk missing out on a tornado Saturday? Or do I just get 6 hours of sleep in my car and suck up the long drive???
 
I have to agree with Jeff. This week is so-so, but better than nothing. Won't comment on next week as that is too far away. I do believe at some point this year, things will calm down and we will see some modest flow and great dp's on Slight risk days leading to better chasing oppertunities. Best bet to see a tornado tomorrow is the NW target. Jungles, floods, cloud cover, foul storm modes, and MCS festivals await those going East and NE, along with the crowds desperate to see anything that puffs-up. Will chill near the dryline and standby if something gets jiggy. Out the door, heading to Roswell for the evening. Everyone be safe!!!
 
Mar 21, 2004
1,494
92
11
Urbana, IL
skydrama.photography
Have to like the trends for next week on both the Euro and GFS. Looking beyond this weekend at this point as I know much of that is/should be being covered in the target area threads...

Monday still shows big potential in OK/TX, and then that wave will provide the potential for a Midwestern event on Tuesday. But beyond that, both the Euro and GFS are now advertising steady SW flow underneath unimpeded moisture giving daily chasing opportunities on the dryline. It's too far out to lock anything in, but Wed/Thurs show >slight risk potential.

Again, too far to lock anything in, but I really love the look of next week now. Beyond Tuesday, no more huge ejecting troughs, no more big sweeping fronts. Just steady flow with short waves over the dryline. That is the dream.
 
Jun 16, 2015
449
990
21
32
Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
To recap the next several days with some recent model data...

Today: The target is fairly clear and severe storms are likely across the central High Plains, eastward across the central Plains this evening. A few other isolated storms can't be ruled out to the south, particularly over Southwest Texas.

Tomorrow: Severe storms seem probable in at least two regimes. The first will be with either an MCS that could rejuvenate later in the day from Northeast Texas into the Arkansas/Missouri vicinity. The second will be in the wake of the MCS, assuming there is adequate recovery, from Oklahoma into parts of Kansas.

Sunday: Looks like a down day, unless you're heading toward the Ohio Valley, then there could be chasing to be had up there. Can't rule out a few storms possibly on the fringe of chaser-friendly terrain from western Kentucky to western Tennessee, but that's fairly conditional.

Beyond that, @Andrew Pritchard just summarized it nicely, but I'll recap.

Monday: The potential for a significant event remains, particularly across the Southern Plains vicinity.

Tuesday: Another chase day a bit farther northeast, probably around the lower to mid-Missouri Valley.

Wednesday toward next weekend: The pattern should feature general ridging across the Southeast with favorable, steady upper level flow continuing to eject from the Four Corners region, eastward across the Plains. It's not clear if there will be a bigger day, but at the very least, multiple chase days can be forseen. The operational 00z Euro shows another seasonably strong surface low ejecting from Colorado into the central Plains around late-week, but that could change.

As I see it, aside from Sunday, there should be a prolonged string of chase days coming up in and around the Plains.
 
Apr 5, 2015
86
90
11
Norman, OK
Wednesday and beyond definitely has potential to be an above-average period for chasecationers. Loving the trends. No idea if we get a big day but flow/pattern looks to remain great.

Looking at ECMWF ensemble spaghetti plot for upper air, pretty reasonable agreement on W US trough through roughly days 10/11. After that it starts to diverge between renewed W trough or eastward shift in trough placement. Lots of chases likely between 5/20 - 6/5..

Speaking of that stretch, Weds looks like a day where you'll get 1-2 supercells develop along the dry line to produce sig severe in spite of height rises throughout the period.
 
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
My chase vacation was originally scheduled from Memorial Day Weekend through 6/8. My chase partner and I both had family and/or work commitments through Wed 5/22. I have now moved up my departure to the evening of 5/22 so that I can start chasing on Thur 5/23. This may mean that I have to get back to work a couple days earlier, but I will worry about that when the time comes, maybe the activity will die off by then anyway.

Today I was doing a quick forecast using today’s 12Z models (0Z for Euro) for Thur 5/23 (OZ 5/24) to figure out where to fly into. I don’t think it pays to get too detailed at this range, I just look at the big picture: 500mb winds, 850mb winds, MSLP, dews, and surface temps for synoptic boundaries. The GFS surface pattern was awful and would seem to indicate the only potential targets in decent chase territory would be NW TX, say around Wichita Falls, and maybe S/SW of there as well. The GFS seemed to be in relative agreement with the Euro as to the western trough, but had other major differences in the 500mb, with the GFS showing a downstream closed low in the eastern Dakotas with SW flow into Iowa and Minnesota. I checked out the GFS-FV3 and it did not have this feature; it had more of a ridge approaching that region. I thought the GFS-FV3 was closer to the Euro; these two models were also similar with surface low placement in E CO. I only have access to the limited free Euro data, so given the similarities between the GFS-FV3 and Euro upper air patterns, I relied upon the GFS-FV3 for surface features. This presented a much more favorable picture, with moisture much further west than shown on the GFS and a warm front in southern NEB; it actually reminded me somewhat of Fri 5/17. Based on this, I decided to fly into ICT, thinking there may be a KS dryline target or a triple point target up in NW KS / SW NEB. Again not trying to put too fine a point on it, just trying to fly in somewhere that helps me hedge my bets for Thursday.

Is my logic faulty? Are there biases in the GFS-FV3 I am unaware of? I really haven’t used it until now... What’s up for Wed, are storms going to interfere with me being able to fly into ICT? Now THAT would be the ultimate irony and indignity...😬
 
Jun 1, 2008
469
363
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
Quick update before travel: Monday still looks like two rounds. Morning stuff departs. Afternoon fires on DL. For those who can't make Monday, there will be more later in the week with less chaser convergence.

Tuesday is questionable terrain and storm mode. Could refire in eastern Kansas with hail and, well it's late May.

Wednesday ECMWF and Para (both deterministic) hint at possible storms by 00Z. Sometimes QPF is toward 03Z but should go right after 00Z. Heights are rising but 700 mb is not quite as on fire latest runs. Surface is nebulous at the moment, but we'll see what boundaries are available that morning.

Thursday all NWP fires the synopic boundary. Should be outflow to work with. Winds turn with height gradually and well. Short wave ejects. Like the Day 5 in the Plains, but WF could go too.

Will leave Friday - ? for later. Everybody travel safely.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,475
2,132
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
Let's face it, this current pattern has been a huge letdown in chase quality. With the lone exception of Friday the 17th, every setup has either busted, exhibited unconventional behavior, produced tornadoes in bad terrain or had multiple critical failures. Even lightning has been lackluster. Most days MLCAPE has failed to top 3000 on days storms have sustained, and when it has, the cap has overcompensated. Looking in the near future, I see a general continuation of this trend, with no big days that seem to have more going right than wrong. I've been out for 8 days straight now and am ready to head home and wait for some 4500+ MLCAPE days to start showing in June.
 
Jun 16, 2015
449
990
21
32
Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
Like for “agree.” Yes, we’ve had a lot of chase opportunities and it’s been active, but the struggle is real. Whether it’s smoke, flooding, storm motions, initiation by lunchtime etc., it’s been grueling.

I don’t see a thread on today’s setup, but even today has a lot of failure modes. The dryline initiated before noon and the LLJ is weak/veered through much of the target area.

Hoping we have more classic chase days in the near future.
 
Aug 9, 2012
347
576
21
Galesburg, IL
www.facebook.com
Yeah it’s definitely been my most frustrating chase year to date even though I have seen a few tornadoes and my best storm of the year arguably came from 30 min from my house yesterday. The severe lack of visibility due to smoke this year is something I’ve not experienced since I started chasing (I can vaguely remember some similar issues in 03, but I was pretty young lol). Really pulling for June and July for us Midwesterners and Northern Plains. And Iowa pulling it’s stunt yesterday certainly didn’t help. I think we ALL deserve a good solid chase day sometime in June. At least that’s the dream.
 
Jan 29, 2004
1,018
6
11
Canton, Ohio
www.myspace.com
I thought I was the only one having a hard time this year. As Dan said, early initiation time has been a big problem this year. Especially for those of us who have to chase after work. I can leave work at 3, but what's the point when you have storms going up at 1 and then congealing into lines or clusters by 4-5? I miss the days when we had a cap and storms would erupt at 4-6.
 

Todd Lemery

Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
475
457
21
54
Menominee, MI
Some help may be on the way starting next weekend. A little heavier capping, an abundance of moisture, a couple of lows sliding by with good 500 mb and 850 mb winds all via the 18z GFS run make me think we’ll be hearing “isolated supercells” in the future. I headed home to take care of things, but will be heading back if things start to verify. Right now it looks like fun during the weekend through Tuesday.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jeff House
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
I’m glad to hear you guys saying this because I’ve only been out three days and I’m already feeling frustrated. Every day just feels so difficult to forecast; the “big picture” is generally favorable with plenty of moisture, sufficient (albeit not ideal) instability, dryline every day, good midlevel flow, etc. Not perfect setups, not outbreak setups, but certainly a week that, if I had flexibility, I would say “yeah, it’s active enough to head out.” Yet I find myself sitting there agonizing over the forecast. I thought it was just me. As a chase vacationer, it always takes time to shake the rust off, so I thought maybe I was just having an exceptionally hard time this year for some reason. I’m not as “technical” as some of you guys, especially the professional meteorologists, but even just from pattern recognition things seemed a little off. Plenty of moisture getting far west, maybe even too far west, with diffuse drylines featuring little or no convergence and no dryline bulge. Storms initiating in the western TX panhandle but the better moisture, instability and shear, including the LLJ, is over in the eastern panhandle; by the time lunchtime storms make their way over there and the LLJ kicks in, it’s a training line of unchaseable embedded supercells or a full-on MCS. What happened to the days when you wanted to be on a cell at initiation so you could see the tornado before upscale growth? These last few days, if you’re on it at initiation, you’d better hope you can somehow keep track of an updraft base for the next six or seven hours while it grows upscale or joins a train for the trek across the panhandle and the LLJ finally arrives to meet it. It’s also a year when (at least Thursday 5/23) you would have been better off playing a cold front than a dryline. Even Friday 5/24, seems like you might have been better off on the cold front in Kansas.

This could potentially be my longest chase trip ever - I had my usual two weeks planned from this weekend until the weekend of June 8, but I ended up coming out two days early for what I thought would be good days. But still looking out over the next week, I am already in the position of having to hope the second half is better than the first half, and then I always feel so squeezed watching the days dwindle in that last week. It just goes so fast.
 
Jun 16, 2015
449
990
21
32
Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
The longer range ensembles are in good agreement that after this last trough swings through, there will be rising heights across the southern U.S. with a tendency for more ridging over the Southern Plains. You have to wonder if the season really quiets down, or if you get a few more troughs to swing through before the ridge becomes firmly established. We've had a good run, even if the chases have been challenging. I think we have at least three more solid chase days coming up between today and Tuesday. Beyond that, it's a bit more unclear, but at the very least, the second half of this week should be tame in comparison to last week.
 
Jul 5, 2009
851
536
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
The longer range ensembles are in good agreement that after this last trough swings through, there will be rising heights across the southern U.S. with a tendency for more ridging over the Southern Plains. You have to wonder if the season really quiets down, or if you get a few more troughs to swing through before the ridge becomes firmly established. We've had a good run, even if the chases have been challenging. I think we have at least three more solid chase days coming up between today and Tuesday. Beyond that, it's a bit more unclear, but at the very least, the second half of this week should be tame in comparison to last week.
I generally avoid potentially depressing myself with long-range forecasting while I am on my chase vacation. I don’t even look at SPC Day 4-8. I try to just take it one day at a time, until I am coming down to the last 3-5 days of my trip, at which point I’ll check to see if it is even worth staying or if I should go home early and save the money / vacation time. However, just reading various offices’ AFDs, I am seeing mention of renewed western troughing starting next weekend. How does that reconcile with what the ensembles are showing?