State of the chase season 2020

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JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
262
339
11
Omaha, NE
I'm with Brett, this is annoying even getting marginal chances now that will likely get pissed away. Just give me summer and end it already. I know one thing is for certain, in following years, I won't be so picky about my early season chasing prospects. This year my strategy was to wait for quality later in the year which unfortunately never showed up. Granted the only day I missed was 4/22 which I likely couldn't have pulled off anyway.
I've been lucky enough to have the money and opportunities this season to keep chasing despite the "poor" set ups. I keep thinking to myself the only way I'm going to see a tornado is if I'm chasing, so I keep going out.
I've been out 12x this year which is a pretty normal year despite the crappy season, but keep coming home without the elusive amazing tornado shot.
Seen probably 1/2 a dozen bird farts or not fully condensed tornadoes and a couple of days with nice structure, but not getting my money's worth for sure.
Oh well, at least gas has been cheap and it's better than any day spent at work!
 
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Jul 5, 2009
1,102
935
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Guess we can look forward to armchair (at least in my case) chasing hurricanes in Aug/Sep if the hype in the tropical forums is to be believed...
I’m looking forward to that too Andy, especially after not taking a chase vacation this year. I have never actually chased a hurricane, and doubt I will be able to this year, but I enjoy tracking what’s going on, and living less than 50 miles from the NJ coast there’s always a chance to at least get some action from a brush-by or drive to the shore to see the surf kick up and experience the wind. Hurricanes were actually my “first love” as a kid developing an interest in weather while growing up on Long Island...

Also still have the seasonal thunderstorm peak in July here where I live. The storms here are laughable compared to the Plains, but hey it’s something, if you love weather and storms you have to appreciate even small stuff like that, especially if that’s all you get... A day with any thunderstorms at all is still more interesting than a sunny day!
 

James K

EF3
Mar 26, 2019
285
105
6
Colorado
JamesCaruso said:
A day with any thunderstorms at all is still more interesting than a sunny day!
True. I've always loved a good thunderstorm!
So far nothing this year (other than seeing storms off in the distance). Hoping 'monsoon season' when it arrives produces atleast something.
I need a lightning show! The land needs the rain...especially up in the mountains (went camping last weekend, just by looking, you can tell places are bone dry. And the 'fire danger' signs showing "extreme" as the level confirms it... just a matter of time before something lights up if they don't get some rain soon)
 
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Mark Blue

Owner
Staff member
Feb 19, 2007
3,087
631
21
Colorado
I'm just emotionally spent on 2020. I had such high hopes for this year with plans to get out and flat chase. It ended up that we only chased one day (5/23) this year but I finally got to meet Jeff Duda after 12 years. We spent last Sunday reliving our chase highlights and secrets so it was really worth the wait. I'd recommend doing the same for anyone who has been let down as bad as I think we were. It restokes the fire that burns from within!
 

JL Gacke

Supporter
Dec 9, 2015
18
18
1
Loveland, CO
My big chase so far has been on my bicycle beneath a garden variety thunderstorm – that still counts doesn't it?
There's still July and I've had some great July chases in the past.
 

Joey Prom

EF1
Feb 11, 2020
73
27
6
St. Paul, Minnesota
My state of the chase season has been chase everything as well. Speaking of which, I plan to chase tomorrow's setup in N IA, but my chase partner balked at the notion of leaving by 8am. Is anyone willing to meet up and let me caravan? I don't have data on my phone, so I have little success solo. If you are feeling generous, please shoot me a message and we can work out the details. Thanks.
 
Feb 22, 2015
138
140
11
Norman, OK
Just wait until we get a weak Nina next year (very possible given the current SSTA profile in the tropical Pacific and less than favorable trade winds for growth/surfacing of sub-surface cold anomalies) with a background state of drought over the High Plains...

Weak Ninas in recent years have consistently been the quietest in May/June, often with flow dying across the CONUS. See: 2006, 2009, 2012, 2017, 2018.
 
Mar 2, 2004
2,319
438
11
Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com
And of course, on a day to which was catagorized in a 'general thunderstorm' outlook with 0% tornado probs, this happens in southwest Kansas where NO ONE, including those living within a county of this ('cept this dude and some other local guy), went out chasing and we all watched this unfold on Twitter.


A solid kick in the nuts to everyone whose put in any kind of effort into this season. Yay 2020!
 
Oct 10, 2004
1,135
197
11
34
Madison, WI
Just wait until we get a weak Nina next year (very possible given the current SSTA profile in the tropical Pacific and less than favorable trade winds for growth/surfacing of sub-surface cold anomalies) with a background state of drought over the High Plains...

Weak Ninas in recent years have consistently been the quietest in May/June, often with flow dying across the CONUS. See: 2006, 2009, 2012, 2017, 2018.
Yeah, I was gung-ho for a La Nina until we had a weak one in 2018. I honestly did not think it could get worse than that year.

Not sure what it's gonna take to get a season like 2008 (let alone 2004) again.
 
Mar 15, 2007
151
16
6
Essex - UK
And of course, on a day to which was catagorized in a 'general thunderstorm' outlook with 0% tornado probs, this happens in southwest Kansas where NO ONE, including those living within a county of this ('cept this dude and some other local guy), went out chasing and we all watched this unfold on Twitter.


A solid kick in the nuts to everyone whose put in any kind of effort into this season. Yay 2020!
Which has already been outdone by a Campoesque Nebraska Tornado 1 day later
 
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Jesse Risley

Staff member
Apr 12, 2006
2,159
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Macomb, IL
www.tornadoguys.com
I have my eyes on the next week in the Northern Great Plains. GFS has been consistently showing good midlevel flow and very strong moisture.
I've spent a large part of the last two weeks up there. I will say the GFS has shown this several times previously, but with the exception of the Hemingford 'miracle' in northern Nebraska the other day, we always end up suffering from either lack of good shear or moisture, and on a few of the days that did have potential it seems like the other fail factor was too much interaction from other storms. In that situation the better shear was displaced to the north, and temperature dewpoint spreads were around 30° if you believe the nearest observation, so we'll see if July will turn the tide but I'm not real optimistic at this point although the Canadian border being closed doesn't help matters given that there will probably be a few more beauties north of the border.
 
Mar 2, 2004
2,319
438
11
Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com
I find myself with a week straight off starting Wednesday, and had considered perhaps a quick two/three day trip up north. But yeah, as Jesse mentioned, it seems that every day has ultimately proved fruitless for decent tornadoes minus the Hemingford miracle and the snowball that survived in hell near Santana, KS the day before that. I don't see a huge change in the synoptic pattern that would make me think anything in the coming days would be much different. Sure, you may get a fluke in there somewhere, but without a really big change in the overall pattern, I'd be skeptical to make too far a venture for this week/weekend. Perhaps a Nebraska/Iowa/Missouri setup in NW flow I could get out and back in a day would be worth-while, particularly if I can leave the morning of. But Dakotas may be a stretch in the current regime, and I must admit to be a bit greedy right now having seen my share of structure and hail for the year, I'm gonna be hard-pressed to make a super long drive if a tornado opportunity isn't a decent bet at this point.
 

Joey Prom

EF1
Feb 11, 2020
73
27
6
St. Paul, Minnesota
I've spent a large part of the last two weeks up there. I will say the GFS has shown this several times previously, but with the exception of the Hemingford 'miracle' in northern Nebraska the other day, we always end up suffering from either lack of good shear or moisture, and on a few of the days that did have potential it seems like the other fail factor was too much interaction from other storms. In that situation the better shear was displaced to the north, and temperature dewpoint spreads were around 30° if you believe the nearest observation, so we'll see if July will turn the tide but I'm not real optimistic at this point although the Canadian border being closed doesn't help matters given that there will probably be a few more beauties north of the border.
I would agree with you for the western portion of the Northern GP, but MN is loaded with moisture this year. We recently had a nice supercell go across the southern part of the state, which resulted in my first tornado. NAM is also showing this wed strongly. However, there is still uncertainty about where the embedded shortwave will end up, and thus the position of the warm front/dryline.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2008
3,308
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www.meteor.iastate.edu
Well I think today basically makes enough of a case to say that 2020 will be the year of the high/northern Plains/Midwest/Canada. Another day of visually spectacular tornadic activity in a region far removed from the traditional Plains area.

Here is a taste from a formerly active ST member:
 

Dean Baron

Supporter
Sep 25, 2006
538
149
11
30
Minneapolis, MN
Well I think today basically makes enough of a case to say that 2020 will be the year of the high/northern Plains/Midwest/Canada. Another day of visually spectacular tornadic activity in a region far removed from the traditional Plains area.
Unfortunately this tornado ended up being fatal which puts a damper on the best tornado (and likely strongest tornado) we’ve had in Minnesota since 2010.
 

Todd Lemery

Staff member
Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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Menominee, MI
I just want to say hats off those of you still out there getting these tornadoes on the 2% days. I have the time, but have been laying low on the storm chasing because of the repeated disappointments prior to now. It just goes to show you that the only way you can guarantee yourself not seeing a tornado is by not going out! I have to get my mojo back!
 
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John Farley

Supporter
Apr 1, 2004
1,563
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Pagosa Springs, CO
www.johnefarley.com
All the video and pictures I have seen here or on chaser FB pages from yesterday (7/8) have been from Minnesota, and those were awesome tornadoes. However, there were also several very photogenic ones, albeit mainly landspout tornadoes, in far northeast Colorado as well Some pics and video in the TV news link below. Yesterday just might have been the biggest day of the season for photogenic tornadoes.

 
I just want to say hats off those of you still out there getting these tornadoes on the 2% days. I have the time, but have been laying low on the storm chasing because of the repeated disappointments prior to now. It just goes to show you that the only way you can guarantee yourself not seeing a tornado is by not going out! I have to get my mojo back!
I totally understand. I've been racking up so many miles with work that I have essentially lost desire to spend my off days on the road, so I didn't even try to get off work when things looked possible. Northern plains are on my bucket list to chase, but I'll never check that box off if I don't take time off work to go up there, which it's hard to justify when already burned out on the road from work.

I am planning to go to Indiana in a month or two on vacation, so I'm hopeful for some late summer/ early fall magic like what happens on occasion. And then there's always second season down my way, which historically I do well in.
 

Dean Baron

Supporter
Sep 25, 2006
538
149
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Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday's tornado in west central MN has officially been rated an EF4. I don't have the stats in front of me but that's gotta be the strongest tornado in the plains this year outside of maybe the tornadoes down along the Red River in OK/TX at the end of April. It's the first EF3+ tornado in Minnesota since 2010.
 
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Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
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Oct 7, 2008
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Staff Note
While I introduced the notion of the tornado event on the 8th as worthy of discussion in this forum (and indeed it is acceptable to discuss how that event impacts the overall quality of the 2020 chase season), from this point on any discussion about the specific meteorology or the details of the tornadoes themselves need to be posted in an EVENT thread for the date, else this thread will drift too far off-topic.
 
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Jun 1, 2008
536
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
Models keep going blast furnace death ridge in the 6-15 day, then little kinks develop up North in the 1-7 day. I can't justify that kind of travel for low predictability (3 days out at the time travel decisions have to be made). However I'm happy for those nabbing gems in the rough.

My eyes are set on a possible fall encore. Normally fall is the lesser season. However an average fall might look good against this spring.

Looking way ahead I'm not concerned with ENSO details. Solid Nina can be bullish, but we don't know if this will be more than weak Nina. On the other side, transition TNI, can be bullish with warm 1-2 and still Nina 3-4 and lagging Atmo. Way too early for that kind of speculation. Though thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, that's splitting hairs 9 months out.

Bottom line: Hobby requires optimism in times like this. No reason to think next year is tanked or helped by ENSO. However mean reversion should give a better year. Also hoping for fall this year!