State of the Chase Season 2021

Jan 7, 2006
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Well, just like that, we're back to the familiar hopeless outlook from a month ago... pining for the late May magic to stick around, deep layer shear be damned. The prospects for any organized, highly targetable, multi-day opportunities anywhere in the central U.S. for the first half of June appear slim to none. And don't forget:



If we do manage to sneak workable CAPE/shear overlap into the Dakotas or E MT at some point next week, expect the severe ongoing drought to have its say in PBL profiles. The fact that the Minot record was set in 1988 is just the ultimate cherry on top.

The entirety of the central Plains from the Front Range east to ICT-DSM, on the other hand, are sitting lush and primed for something... anything... 30 knots, moisture, and a prayer... just a transient 40th percentile pattern from June climo, for god's sake. Maybe a grand finale shortwave or two sneaks in there by the third week of the month, if we're lucky?
 

Jason N

EF1
Mar 2, 2021
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51
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South Carolina
how about something cool happens next week while I'm out here lol...well it seems like the only potential if it holds is on the 7th as the warm front surges north like you said cape/shear day, and the PBL and the lack of moisture is gonna make it really questionable however, if the trend holds maybe there will be some nice LP structure at least.
 

Jason N

EF1
Mar 2, 2021
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51
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South Carolina
I know what you guys are thinking ... "yeah, good luck with that" ! I know I am to. Jeff Duda was right in saying live and die by GFS. I saw the trend in the trough 2 weeks ago, then GFS GEFS and CFS had me going and got me to swap my weeks.. and now that its here the ridge is going to be more dominant.. so I'm most likely knocked out of any real chances to see anything. end of may was the best shot but I couldn't go earlier.
 
Aug 9, 2012
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Galesburg, IL
tornadoguys.com
Holding out hope for the THURS-FRI system progged to move across the Northern Plains/Midwest. Friday on the GFS looks probably about the best as anything we've seen here in IL/IA this spring (that isn't saying much) with 40kt NW flow and big CAPE. We will see if it holds, I won't hold my breath though. The day before could feature a Northern Plains (W SD/ND/MT) play as the jet stream starts positioning more toward the north as we get closer to the summer equinox.
 
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Aug 9, 2012
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Galesburg, IL
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I have been considering Eastern MT/Western ND tomorrow, but its a 17 hour drive from Western IL so probably not going to be doable unless something changes.

Wednesday doesn't look as great with Thursday being the big day of the stretch in E MT/W ND down perhaps into NE CO/W NE as moisture backs up against the high terrain and 40-50 knots of H5 flow overspreads the area with a generous low level jet toward 21-00z.

I feel as though in 2021 fashion one of the days either before (tomorrow or Wednesday) or after (maybe Friday or Saturday) will end up producing the most quality material out of this upcoming "stretch".

After that, things look pretty grim for the Midwest. It is June 7th and we have yet to have a tornado watch here in Illinois (only 1 SVR warning too in my county and for the whole CWA). I wonder how unusual it would be to go a whole year without a TOR watch. I can't recall it ever happening here before going back to 2000 and July/August isn't really the best time to see those around here (usually the choice is SVR with low end tor probs).

Last year I went almost the entire month of June without a single chase, with my only chase being a bust in Eastern IL on June 9th with TS Cristobal.
 
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Jason N

EF1
Mar 2, 2021
57
51
6
South Carolina
I have been considering Eastern MT/Western ND tomorrow, but its a 17 hour drive from Western IL so probably not going to be doable unless something changes.

Wednesday doesn't look as great with Thursday being the big day of the stretch in E MT/W ND down perhaps into NE CO/W NE as moisture backs up against the high terrain and 40-50 knots of H5 flow overspreads the area with a generous low level jet toward 21-00z.

I feel as though in 2021 fashion one of the days either before (tomorrow or Wednesday) or after (maybe Friday or Saturday) will end up producing the most quality material out of this upcoming "stretch".

After that, things look pretty grim for the Midwest. It is June 7th and we have yet to have a tornado watch here in Illinois (only 1 SVR warning too in my county and for the whole CWA). I wonder how unusual it would be to go a whole year without a TOR watch. I can't recall it ever happening here before going back to 2000 and July/August isn't really the best time to see those around here (usually the choice is SVR with low end tor probs).

Last year I went almost the entire month of June without a single chase, with my only chase being a bust in Eastern IL on June 9th with TS Cristobal.
I was up there yesterday , there was some good structure, but its a really hard area to chase in really, mainly because the locations of the radars to where the storms were yesterday, made the average beam height around 8000-11,000 feet. I would post a pic to here, but I don't know if I would get in trouble. That said, I think although the dynamics weren't terrible yesterday, the DP depressions were pretty far apart putting LCL's pretty high, eventually they lowered a bit with continued moistening, but not before the storms really were too numerous in coverage and then consolidated into a line. and I think I see that same thing for the most part brewing for the 10th. I think I want to head further south, and risk better LCL's but trade off to possibly a CAP bust over NE/WY .. its been decent so far though, no real complaints.. caught a TOR warned cell in ND the other day in that 2% area... didn't produce, but definite wall..
 
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Aug 9, 2012
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Galesburg, IL
tornadoguys.com
I decided to hold back in Illinois for what looks like pretty much a one day event that is around 16 hours away from me (tomorrow). The upcoming pattern doesn't look great for Midwestern severe weather over the next couple weeks. Maybe it is time to put the chase gear away (although with one eye on the local pattern) and enjoy what the summer does have to offer here (heat and humidity = swimming)?

I along with everyone else misses the years back in the 2000s when we would get chase ops from April-June non-stop, I'm sure one of these days we will get a season like that again, but for now we just have to learn how to roll with the punches I guess and deal with low probability setups that are far away.

I can agree to the sentiment that as time goes on it does get harder to get away (family/work/school obligations). I'm finding that my time is more valuable spent doing other things I enjoy than sitting in the car for days straight to drive to the Mexico or Canada border, but I'm willing to do it a few times a year to see that convection that won't come to me, so I guess that is good. I'm at the point in my life where I'm starting to build a family but.... I can say that I probably won't ever really get truly burnt out.... however it does get annoying seeing any appreciable setup being 12 or more hours away and nothing on long range ever panning out (synoptic scale systems) for the Midwest/Plains.

Maybe Late June into July will pick up and give us Midwest chasers a few times to step up to the plate and swing the bat.
 

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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I'm with Ethan on the family thing. Used to head out to the Plains 1-2 times a year for May troughs. This year had a kid recital which kept me out of the field week of May 24. And today is the second recital (different activity); so perhaps mercifully, I'm not 20 hours away from home.

Time to embrace Dixie Alley! We get reliable severe setups every March and April (though not usually very chasable). Used to punt early season. Now it must all be chased, because May is not guaranteed later. June sure isn't. See the Chase Season 2021 in Review thread, page 2 chart Brett posts.

Might have some northwest flow set up in the Midwest or Plains around June 18 (give or take a day) and for a few days. I still have not taken my trip; so for me, the state of the chase season is at least not over yet.

Then down South we have hurricane remnants recurve season. I've become more discerning on those. Forget it if the low is still moving northwest. Northeast or east motion is chase, especially if it's gained hybrid characteristics. If the long-range hurricane outlooks are correct, should be an active season. No way to predict South landfalls though.

State of my chase season is still the swirling circle when waiting for a slow website. However that's better than over, I suppose.
 
Aug 9, 2012
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Galesburg, IL
tornadoguys.com
Yeah I knew I made a mistake by not going out yesterday. Sigh. I was telling someone today that this is the worst year I can EVER remember for local storms. Hands down, its not even a contest. I remember back in July 2003 when I first started chasing, we had moderate risk days like every other day that month and they either verified with tornadoes, derecho events, or huge hail. Nowadays we are lucky to get a marginal/see text the entire month. I'd personally rather see a foot of snow than this pulse storm type crap we are getting in early June.

And yeah I know there will be people that say "there are always good storms to chase", which I was part of that camp too. Until recently I found out I have a spinal injury and I probably won't be able to walk after 45 years of age due to damaged spinal discs.

Driving anymore than even 3 hours is excruciating pain for me and I'm on a lot of medications. And where I live, there isn't many people that like to chase setups in the mountains/upslope 15 hours away from here.
 

Bobby Little

Supporter
Mar 18, 2013
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ok sooo the thread reads:
State of the Chase Season 2021


Answer: SUCKS SO FAR.

I retired before the 2019 season. That season sucked! reminds me of this season.
2020 - COVID sucked + shitty season= Sucks again.
Brings us back to the thread.

i didnt get to chase the early years much..same things that you younger guys.. starting to age are going through. Family, jobs, responsibilities,pets, nagging wives,weddings, etc. So i always was waiting for retirement to give me all the chances and time to enjoy and take my time on different setups. Except for more funerals, i really have the time. But i really dont like driving out to OK,TX,KS from MI and all the setups dry up and become marginal at best. This years 2-3 day trip near the end of May was pathetic. logged 2500k miles and I didnt even bother to put a report in as i felt it was lukewarm with all the others. If you look back to Event posts in May, this year we had maybe 4 i think. 5 for last year, and maybe 8 in 2019. That should also tell you sometihing
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Par for the course this season, I guess it’s safe to say yesterday’s northern Plains event underperformed. I wasn’t able to follow the situation consistently throughout the entire evening, but the few times I checked radar it looked underwhelming. The one tornado-warned storm appeared to be embedded/semi-discrete, not discrete, at least when I looked at it. Only 3 SPC tornado reports, although one was a wedge. Curious whether it was photogenic or if any chasers were able to get close enough for a good view, I can’t imagine the road network is great out that way…
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
Enhanced risk added for parts of Kansas today, but it's for 30% wind with "less than 2%" probability of a tornado within 25 miles of a point anywhere in the CONUS. #2021ing
 

JeremyS

EF3
Mar 12, 2014
273
364
11
Omaha, NE
Par for the course this season, I guess it’s safe to say yesterday’s northern Plains event underperformed. I wasn’t able to follow the situation consistently throughout the entire evening, but the few times I checked radar it looked underwhelming. The one tornado-warned storm appeared to be embedded/semi-discrete, not discrete, at least when I looked at it. Only 3 SPC tornado reports, although one was a wedge. Curious whether it was photogenic or if any chasers were able to get close enough for a good view, I can’t imagine the road network is great out that way…
The pics that came out the last couple of days that I saw were pretty impressive. Amazing mothership on Wednesday the 9th and the tornadoes yesterday were visible from time to time and had some amazing structure with a tornado underneath a sculpted updraft.
Problem was these storms were in central Montana and then the MT/ND border yesterday.
We had a severe tstorm watch issued here for eastern Nebraska. The first watch of 2021 for my part of the state. The watch was issued at 8am and expired at 11am if that also says anything.
At least it rained for the first time in 2 weeks here and thundered for maybe the 3rd time this ENTIRE season.... No severe weather locally, but some gusty winds west and south of here.
I have an entire week free next week, in the middle of June and it looks pretty hopeless again.
 
Aug 9, 2012
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Galesburg, IL
tornadoguys.com
We got our 2nd SVR warning of the year for the entire CWA yesterday. A pulse thunderstorm in the middle of the afternoon at the pool. Ironically the warning back in March and yesterday were in the same areas, so I guess its kinda cool to have been under the "only" 2 warnings of the year, but still a sad feat on June 11th.
 
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Todd Lemery

Staff member
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Jun 2, 2014
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I haven’t been on here complaining yet this year, so I’ll give it a bit of a go here. Since I retired last year I pointed to this year with a goal of chasing everything. Fate had other ideas. Other unexpected commitments and the lack of even modest setups when I could go have left me with just one chase day up to this point. Just one day in Kansas, which produced nothing during the daytime, is all I have to show for my “big” year. Now I just watch the GFS throw darts into my back every time I start to think a good couple of days are just a week or so away. It’s been frustrating. I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football as Lucy (GFS) pulls the ball away and I end up on my back again and again.
We’re all getting kind of used to bad years here, so if we’re expecting anything more than that, it’s on us. There’s a zero percent marginal by me tomorrow and I’m pretty excited by that. I’ve barely heard thunder yet this year and I’ll be thrilled to see it! If I get some hail I’ll probably do a dance. This will be the end of my whine fest for now. I’m just going take whatever I can get and be thankful for every little thing I see, because come January I’ll be begging for even a little thunder.
 

Jason N

EF1
Mar 2, 2021
57
51
6
South Carolina
Par for the course this season, I guess it’s safe to say yesterday’s northern Plains event underperformed. I wasn’t able to follow the situation consistently throughout the entire evening, but the few times I checked radar it looked underwhelming. The one tornado-warned storm appeared to be embedded/semi-discrete, not discrete, at least when I looked at it. Only 3 SPC tornado reports, although one was a wedge. Curious whether it was photogenic or if any chasers were able to get close enough for a good view, I can’t imagine the road network is great out that way…
I was up on the SD/ND border that day.. staged out of Buffalo SD... 2 things I think played into the underwhelming result.. cirrus shield and some kind of subsidence/Cap which prevented alot of the cells from maturing, there were alot of juvenile storms but unless it was co-located with the actual front, nothin materialized.. I was not happy, later that evening as the boundary kicked out, storms fired but it was primarily nocturnal. so really a Bust day. the videos that came from the cells in MT/SD were decent, and I saw the video of the wedge, seemed pretty heavily rain wrapped.
 

Jeff House

Supporter
Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
I think some posts lamenting past chases belong in the companion thread Chase Season 2021 In Review.

Anyway later this week could be a northwest flow set-up in the Upper Midwest. I have no plans to travel for it though. Sunday also offers a possible Nebraska Iowa special, but with the front pushing on through (not mutli-day). Monday in the Midwest?

Then unseasonably low 500 mb heights with moderate flow is forecast for the Northern Plains a few days next week (of June 21) after the surface front returns north. Midweek? At any rate it looks like the Northern season is not cancelled.
 

Todd Lemery

Staff member
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Jun 2, 2014
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I’ll probably be out around the Wisconsin/Minnesota border this coming Thursday. After that it looks like around every two to three days there could be a gem or two for those willing to go the one and done route. Challenge accepted.
Just to piggyback a bit on Jeff’s post, after seeing the temps hitting the triple digits in Canada I kind of had given up hope. The next couple of weeks could serve up a nothing burger still, but seeing potential as far South as Kansas on the docket has lifted my spirits again.