State of the Chase Season 2022

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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I can remember years that were active from the start, and remained so for our trip in late May. We are not going to talk about other scenarios, lol!

Next week trough looks like some good opportunity. Carolina low has implications, could giveth or taketh. Ideally it stays east of the Apps, resulting in a slow gradual Rockies to Plains trough, and many days in a row. We don't want that drifting into the Tenn Valley with a teardrop ridge over the Plains. (Actually that would be milder wx here.)

My chase window is a little later; so, I'm not too concerned about next week. However I do want to keep the line moving as the 2015 Royals said. No gumming up the works please. At any rate, the troughs could come one, two rather than strung out 5-6 days straight. The one, two option opens new opportunity into the following week.

Some non-model good news is a developing Pacific jet extension. We look for it to poke across and then retract, another Rockies trough. MJO related convection could be on a good trajectory too, percolating Indian Ocean heading to the Maritime Continent.

Bottom line: We all know a bird in the hand. If next week looks good, we go. If gummed up, we just hold off another week.
 
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Jeff Duda

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The ECMWF, Canadian, and American ensembles all predict pentaday average western US troughing going out at least through day 10, with only a return towards neutral (zonal) flow or pattern beyond. However, I suspect at least some of that day-12-16 zonal pattern is model climatology, not just an indication of a zonal pattern through mid-month.
 
Jul 19, 2008
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I am not in general a very optimistic person so it's easy to get down on what is upcoming, but the Euro May 7- June 7 weeklies just out are as depressing as it gets unless you are on the very northern plains. We're blocked up again with a retrograding trough next week, jet jumping into Canada, and all kinds of nuke proof temps at midlevels and basically instant summer for everyone a la the playbook of the last several years. I get PTSD.

That doesn't mean there won't be opportunities or the pattern can't change but woof... At least it's finally warming up up here.
 

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Warren Faidley

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Unfortunately, what the larger-scale models don't show are the mesoscale "sneak attacks" that make up some of May's classic events -- if even a few necessary ingredients are present or nearby. If *quality* RH moves far enough west, there is the possibility of a multiple-day, sloshing dryline event sometime after Monday -- somewhere from MAF to AMA. I've seen these potential set-ups go bust or bonkers in just a few model runs, so it's not a slam dunk. (Disclaimer).

With a longwave trough just to the west (GFS model image = Tuesday at 21z), favorably-timed shortwaves could get the show going. The mid-May+ CAP and LCL's are always an issue out west, but the WTT (Western Texas Triangle) can do some jiggy things this time of year.

In fact, this set-up has the faint aroma of dryline magic -- and any long-shot, slight risk might keep the crowds down. :)
 

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Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I am not in general a very optimistic person so it's easy to get down on what is upcoming, but the Euro May 7- June 7 weeklies just out are as depressing as it gets unless you are on the very northern plains. We're blocked up again with a retrograding trough next week, jet jumping into Canada, and all kinds of nuke proof temps at midlevels and basically instant summer for everyone a la the playbook of the last several years. I get PTSD.

That doesn't mean there won't be opportunities or the pattern can't change but woof... At least it's finally warming up up here.
I’m no expert on long-range models or forecasting… I try not to pay too much attention to it, and I don’t invest a lot of time learning about it, because I’m not that interested in it, and it doesn’t have much relevance to me, given my fixed chase vacation schedule. BUT I’m just not sure these 30-day temp and precip anomalies are very meaningful… It’s an average for a 30-day period… Doesn’t mean there couldn’t be two great weeks in there, and then two other weeks pull down the average… You can still have a great isolated supercell and it won’t result in rainfall over a large area that produces above-average precip… If the average male life expectancy is 78, it doesn’t mean every man dies at 78… Neither does a below average month mean that every day and week during the month sucks… And I’m just talking here about how to *interpret* the graphic - who knows how accurate the underlying model even is at that range…

Go back a bit in this thread and see how down some people were just a few weeks ago, and then reconcile that to some of the great events these last couple of weeks…
 

Warren Faidley

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Here we go.... From LBB:

A SHORT WAVE WILL DIVE DOWN FROM THE PACIFIC
NORTHWEST INTO CALIFORNIA JUST OFF OF THE WEST COAST BEGINNING ON
TUESDAY. THIS WILL BEGIN TO ADVECT LOW LEVEL MOISTURE BACK INTO THE
AREA ON TUESDAY WITH A CLASSIC SPRINGTIME SLOSHING DRYLINE. THIS
PATTERN WOULD GENERALLY FAVOR THE HOLDING IN OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE
BACK INTO EASTERN NEW MEXICO. OUT AHEAD OF THIS STRONGER SHORT WAVE,
A SERIES OF WEAKER SHORT WAVES WILL BE MOVING THROUGH THE SOUTHWEST
FLOW ALOFT. HOWEVER, THE DETAILS OF THESE MINOR FEATURES ARE TOO FAR
OUT TO RESOLVE ON THIS TIME SCALE. THESE MINOR DISTURBANCES COMBINED
WITH THE MOIST LOW LEVEL AIR IN PLACE MAY CREATE CHANCES OF SEVERE
THUNDERSTORMS ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. THE AFOREMENTIONED STRONGER
SHORT WAVE WILL EJECT OUT ONTO THE PLAINS ON THURSDAY POTENTIALLY
BRINGING ANOTHER AFTERNOON OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. CIPS ANALOG
GUIDANCE SUPPORTS SEVERAL DAYS OF POTENTIALLY SEVERE WEATHER.
 
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Jan 7, 2006
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The period starting this past Fri (4/29) and extending through at least next Sun (5/8) or so looks to be easily the most active for the core of the S/C Plains since at least May 2019, and also the most active for early May since at least 2015. Both of those periods featured impressive patterns that were marred by frequent early CI and general "messiness." This upcoming week may have a bit of that issue on some days, but in general, it appears capping is the bigger concern -- at least WRT widespread, "up and down the dryline" events. For chasers, that's obviously the better problem to have of the two.

To me, the ceiling for 4/29-5/10 is a very memorable stretch that would be reminiscent of the "good ol' days" of the 1990s and 2000s. Of course, the devil is in the details each day, and I'm not saying that outcome is likely. But it is almost hard to believe my eyes as I scroll through the GFS/ECMWF and their respective ensembles the past couple days -- these progs do not look like the S/C Plains we've come to know over many recent spring seasons!
This... did not age well. The 4/29-5/4 period was certainly active and even productive for chasers by early season standards, but what appeared an equal or better stretch this weekend into early next week via ensemble consensus went up in flames. Just like that, the preseason analog suggestions of "active early, ridgey and dry for peak season" look all too plausible again.

I guess there are two silver linings: (a) there were some legitimate quality events (4/29 and 5/4) that would've been top 2-3 days of the season in many recent years; and (b) there was some partial drought relief over areas from C/E OK and KS into NE. Overall, the period from mid March to early May was relatively active and probably qualifies as an above-average opening to chase season by most standards... as long as you were willing to venture pretty far E and/or S within the core alley (IA, I-35 corridor of OK/KS, and TX). This is at least better than some years like 2006, 2009, and 2017, when synoptically favorable patterns were biased early but generally unproductive for event quality.

Resetting expectations looking forward, it appears we're basically stuck waiting and hoping for a pattern recovery in the period beyond D10. Drought is still going to be a major problem up and down the High Plains, including the chase-ruining dust problem highlighted on 4/22. It looks like our best bet will be any resurgent favorable pattern between late May and late June, and that events near the I-35 corridor may continue to be preferred if you're looking for tornado-friendly LCLs.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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This... did not age well. The 4/29-5/4 period was certainly active and even productive for chasers by early season standards, but what appeared an equal or better stretch this weekend into early next week via ensemble consensus went up in flames. Just like that, the preseason analog suggestions of "active early, ridgey and dry for peak season" look all too plausible again.

I guess there are two silver linings: (a) there were some legitimate quality events (4/29 and 5/4) that would've been top 2-3 days of the season in many recent years; and (b) there was some partial drought relief over areas from C/E OK and KS into NE. Overall, the period from mid March to early May was relatively active and probably qualifies as an above-average opening to chase season by most standards... as long as you were willing to venture pretty far E and/or S within the core alley (IA, I-35 corridor of OK/KS, and TX). This is at least better than some years like 2006, 2009, and 2017, when synoptically favorable patterns were biased early but generally unproductive for event quality.

Resetting expectations looking forward, it appears we're basically stuck waiting and hoping for a pattern recovery in the period beyond D10. Drought is still going to be a major problem up and down the High Plains, including the chase-ruining dust problem highlighted on 4/22. It looks like our best bet will be any resurgent favorable pattern between late May and late June, and that events near the I-35 corridor may continue to be preferred if you're looking for tornado-friendly LCLs.
We can thank the previous trough cutting off and retrograding early next week for that...a ridge gets squashed in between and the next trough can't eject across the Plains properly, instead flattening out and going over the top.
 

adlyons

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Still seeing a general ensemble signal for low-amplitude zonal/southwesterly flow after this slower period through the next week to 10 days. We have already started to see the tor average dip and I expect that trend to continue. The good news, the gulf is very warm and pretty wide open. I expect we will have some northwesterly flow limit the moisture across the Plains, but I doubt we see any clearing with the jet energy focused much higher in latitude. We may be tending more towards mesoscale dominated setups in the coming weeks but uncertainty with this whole pattern is still very high. My Chasecation starts the 13th, but ive got family business in KC. That may not bee too much of an issue given the current GFS, but hoping after the 19th things pick back up for a bit.
 
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Oct 10, 2004
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CFS doesn't look half bad for the week after next (roughly May 20th-27th). Not much to go on, but better than nothing. Now just gotta hope it stays consistent.

Edit: Of course, the next run that comes in after I post totally flips and replaces that juicy trough with a western ridge and giant Great Lakes trough that sits there for days. I give up.
 
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Warren Faidley

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In Hobbs, NM. Forecast turned out pretty much as expected. Nothing overwhelming, but at least some chances. From Saturday onward, not looking too exciting. I will likely return home for a few days. Model consensus paints a very boring picture for the Southern Plains in the near future, or at least through the middle of next week. Could be some opportunities in the far NP's but RH forecast is not impressive ATM.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Further addendum to my previous: Latest GFS/GEFS still look decently favorable at least for a few days, mainly centered late next week into the following weekend. Again, just watching how it evolves.
 
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Jeff House

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Indeed the Rockies trough this week is impacted by the Carolina low, soon to be Tenn Valley low. Northern Plains looks to have an interesting couple days though.

Middle of next week through about May 20-22 starting to look more interesting. Don't need a classic deep West trough (preach Warren). Zonal to southwest flow is forecast. Bit of a cap risk south; however, should be boundary and of course warm/stationary front central Plains. Maybe get a DL day or two south. GL to New England trough early week *should* eject South low and prevent another SE low immediately.

Non-model news, tropical cyclone Indian Ocean did not sap all the energy. MJO trying to reset, but still muddy with convection West Pac. Need Maritime Continent (Indonesia) to be the main influence. Either way all that convection should promote the Pacific jet extension. Though not classic dropping into big West trough, it could help with flow from the Rockies over the Plains.
 
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Oct 10, 2004
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I just have to post this forecast sounding off the 18Z GFS...obviously way too far out to take seriously for better or worse but it is rather remarkable. Nearly 1,000 m2/s2 of 0-3KM SRH in the presence of over 4,000 j/kg of SBCAPE...but it's totally capped.

There are some pretty large areas of rather astounding EHI values over the Plains for the 19th and 20th on that run, but I can't find a single "PDS TOR" hazard type sounding seemingly due to either capping or LCL issues.
 

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Oct 10, 2004
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The GFS is trying to place some kind of tropical system in the Gulf during the third week in May. Not clear yet how that might effect the season.
My main concern is the difference in orientation/flow in the 500mb trough (looking at the FH valid 00Z 5/25) between the 12Z run vs. last night's 06Z. Weaker and much more meridional (in fact, SE to NW) in the exit region on the newer run. Yuck.

It (supported by the ensemble) is at least consistent on the idea that there should be some sort of western/central US trough hanging around from about next Thursday through early the following week, but it's also consistent on capping issues with most of those potential setups, as well as the strongest 500mb flow mostly lagging north/west of the warm sector.
 
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Apr 13, 2009
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After the way things looked in late April, I'm just excited to see various troughs coming into the West starting late next week. My hope is that with enough troughs sooner or later one aligns with other ingredients. My dates are fixed so I am out there regardless and can go after such opportunities with short notice.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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Not feeling too good about prospects during at least the first week of my chase vacation that begins May 21. Both the GFS and Euro show the traditional Alley dry as a bone almost as far as I can see on either model… The Euro I can only see out 10 days, which is only a few days into my scheduled trip, but has a big ol’ ridge at the end of its run. As Warren noted above, the GFS shows a tropical system in the Gulf around May 23-24. A day or two ago, the system was shown in the western Gulf, near the Mexican coast; now it is shown in the eastern Gulf, landfalling near Tampa, which would appear worse for the prospect of quality moisture advection from the Gulf into the Plains.

Sure, lots can change, and let’s hope it does… But it gets depressing when the eternal hope of the pre-season, and the excitement of the recent early-season action, generates optimistic anticipation for chase vacation, only to finally enter the time horizon covered by the models, and see it all crash and burn in the pessimistic assessment they offer…
 
May 12, 2022
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@JamesCaruso Looks like we might get a little action closer to home Mon night. Unfortunately I'll be working, but I'm hoping to get a little armchair chasing in. The upper forcing looks decent and there seems to be strong turning in the lower levels, just need a few discrete cells to go up before the cold front sweeps through. I'll be interested to see how things shape up going forward. Got my fingers crossed for ya over the next few weeks.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Of course we've all been watching that trough being forecast for late this coming week on the models for days now, and the evolution at least as portrayed on today's 12Z GFS is just annoying. With a 980mb low sitting over Colorado and a large area of 60s/70s dewpoints over the central and eastern CONUS, you'd think the table would be set for something huge, but the ingredients just aren't lining up. It looks like Thursday will be the only real interesting chase day in the Plains, and there are several potential target areas but they all have issues. For example, down in Oklahoma there is great 0-3KM SRH but very weak mid-upper level winds and it's capped all to hell anyway. Then the following days the trough just lifts north around that juicy airmass rather than ejecting out through it, while the cold front sweeps the moisture away for the weekend and into the following week.
 

Warren Faidley

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Going to likely be a very late May or early June season in the Northern Plains... if at all. Returned home due to the low probabilities (including sneak attacks), in the near future. Will consider Colorado and NW Kansas in early June if nothing picks up soon. Not even sure NW TX will have the typical, late-season NW flow events in late May at this point due to RH / drought issues.
 
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Cameron L.

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May 14, 2018
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I'm currently considering changing the dates for my chasecation from May 20th-30th to May 25th-June 4th. The models are showing the plains being swept of moisture until at least mid-next week. Can't guarantee anything past May 31st at this point but definitely looks like the plains will be dead at least up to May 25th at this point; just can't get those damn ingredients to line up.

Again, I won't pretend to be an expert on long-range analysis but ECMWF, GFS, and CFS all agree on that trough coming through and seeping out moisture for a good few days.
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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I can’t recall ever seeing the Plains this devoid of moisture for as long as the GFS is showing… I can’t remember ever seeing so much of the country this dry at this time of year - look how Far East the moisture is shunted in this image valid for 12Z on May 23! I caught myself laughing out loud as I watched the moisture being pushed farther east with each frame… That’s all you can do is laugh, with this maddening hobby… I also can’t recall so many days of northerly surface winds deep into the central and southern Plains. Every time there appears to be some return flow, it lasts for only a short time and everything gets scoured out again.

I am going to make a go/no-go decision by Wednesday or Thursday. I may change my 5/21-6/4 trip to 5/27-6/10. Another option is to head out on my original schedule and see if I can stay an extra few days into a third week. If things are as dead as they look, and I can accomplish a lot of remote work during that time, I can probably make the case for staying. The way things are going, there wouldn’t be a need to stay anyway… But with my son coming with me, I can’t just expect him to sit in a hotel room with me all day while I work…

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