State of the Chase Season 2022

Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
The fact that we are still seeing winter weather up north, and cold fronts are still moving south, the season is not over yet!
Just anecdotally, one of the frustrating things about this spring is you can tell there's a lot of dynamic energy in the atmosphere. Witness the number of vigorous synoptic wind events we've had in the central U.S. going back to at least last December (accompanying the Midwest derecho system on the 15th). I was chasing in SE MN yesterday afternoon (which busted with only elevated storms forming) and as I got right along the warm front on I-90 I encountered a vicious southerly crosswind that nearly pushed me off the road. It's not like some recent seasons where there's a dull ridge pattern with no baroclinic instability in the CONUS through most of May. However, it's still not enough to produce. I mean, according to the 18Z GFS at FH0 there's a belt of 50-80 KT southwesterly flow at 500mb across most of KS, NE and IA right now. Some recent Mays we've been lucky to exceed 30 KT. Should be great, right?...
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I'm trying to decide whether or not to drive all the way down to NM/TX from Idaho for that (currently) marginal setup. 2, maybe 3 marginal days. When you have that far to go it's tough to make the call 2 days out not knowing if the ingredients will come together better, or fall apart completely.

I'm more optimistic about Memorial Day weekend at the moment, but that's still a ways out and obviously a lot can and likely will change between now and then.
Personally I wouldn’t do it. I land in Denver later this morning, and I’m not sure I would even bother making the drive from there, if I didn’t have my son with me and the desire to give him a tour of our beloved chase territory… But when weighing the continuum of opportunity against driving distance, everyone has their own personal cost/benefit calculation… SPC Day 3 has the area only in a General, with a Marginal east of there in terrain that isn’t nearly as good. Let’s hope it changes…
 
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Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
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Twin Falls, ID
Personally I wouldn’t do it. I land in Denver later this morning, and I’m not sure I would even bother making the drive from there, if I didn’t have my son with me and the desire to give him a tour of our beloved chase territory… But when weighing the continuum of opportunity against driving distance, everyone has their own personal cost/benefit calculation… SPC Day 3 has the area only in a General, with a Marginal east of there in terrain that isn’t nearly as good. Let’s hope it changes…
I'm leaning toward some sightseeing elsewhere this week and hopefully things will actually line up over the weekend and into next week. The potential is there at least for an active week as models are depicting pretty persistent troughing throughout the week. But we'll see what the NAM has to say today. I could leave tomorrow morning at the latest.
 
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Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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Anything in SW NM into the LBB / MAF region will be a long shot on Monday and Tuesday. It's a very complicated forecast involving fronts, RH distribution, outflows and cloud cover. It could turn into a pea-soup, heavy rain event with embedded SVR cells. I'm not sure any chase-worthy possibilities will be apparent until Monday AM. I'm already in the region (AMA) as it's the only game in the near future, until maybe late next week.
 
Oct 10, 2004
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Madison, WI
It's still in fantasy range one way or the other, but it's still demoralizing to take soundings from that area of >6 EHI and >400 m2/s2 3KM SRH in northeastern SD at FH156 on the 12Z GFS and the best we can do is a "marginal" TOR hazard type due to capping issues.
 
Jan 7, 2006
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USA
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It's still in fantasy range one way or the other, but it's still demoralizing to take soundings from that area of >6 EHI and >400 m2/s2 3KM SRH in northeastern SD at FH156 on the 12Z GFS and the best we can do is a "marginal" TOR hazard type due to capping issues.
Anecdotally speaking, the cap has been batting close to 1.0 in borderline situations this spring on the C/S Plains. Yesterday afternoon in OK and N TX was a perfect example, where the majority of guidance -- including the ECMWF -- insisted on widespread CI along the cold front by 6-7p. In reality, there was essentially nothing, even by 9p. A few days earlier on May 17, the potent but conditional setup in S KS also failed to initiate at all, despite ECMWF deterministic and ensemble guidance painting a robust area of >0.1" QPF between 18-00z that afternoon... on run after run. Even going back to March and April, including the Gilmore City IA and Andover KS days, "conditional CI on the dryline" has usually equated to "forget about it." To the extent that this reflects a seasonal bias arising from systematic errors in lower boundary conditions and/or initial atmospheric conditions somewhere upstream, it's definitely something to watch out for going forward. This may be especially relevant with any setups late next week into Memorial Day, since there's likely to be a preceding disruption in moisture quality that will take a few days of return flow to sort out.
 
Jul 19, 2008
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Anoka, MN
Moisture/capping issues aside, there is still no sign of insta death ridge like we've had the last few years by this time.

Wavy zonal still can get the job done. Lots of uncertainty going forward here in model land and how moisture return shakes out. But...the jet isn't jumping into Canada yet.

Central/Northern plains and Memorial Day weekend time frame are historically pretty good. For once I am actually going to have some time off first week of June this year and it looks like it certainly will have possibilities up here.

814prcp.new (4).gif
 
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Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
My bushes collapsed under the weight of the snow last night. I'd get photos of all of the downed trees all over town, but I'm on baby duty. Hopefully this moisture can make its way east out of Colorado and help out this chase season a little.
Arrived in DEN earlier today and drove down to Colorado Springs. I don’t necessarily use DEN as my jumping off point every year, but going back to 1996 when I started chasing I can’t say I remember ever having cold and snow in this area this late in the spring… I’m no expert on Colorado climatology, but this has to be very, very rare, correct?

OT but it was nice to be back in winter for a day, especially with my home town near Philadelphia soaring into the 90’s today! It was a treat to walk around Garden of the Gods among the snow-covered trees, quite refreshing in the upper 30s, felt like Christmas!
 

Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
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Twin Falls, ID
It's still in fantasy range one way or the other, but it's still demoralizing to take soundings from that area of >6 EHI and >400 m2/s2 3KM SRH in northeastern SD at FH156 on the 12Z GFS and the best we can do is a "marginal" TOR hazard type due to capping issues.
FWIW, over the years I've noticed the long-range models will often show a strong cap. I wouldn't worry about it too much until it's within range of the NAM. When I'm looking long-range, I'm primarily looking to see if there will be a trough. If there is, there's a chance, but it's no guarantee unless all those other features come together as well. But of course, as Brett mentioned, it wouldn't be all that surprising after moisture has been completely wiped out of the Plains, which is pretty rare for this late in the season. It's been a weird spring-summer-winter-spring.
 

Nick Moir

Enthusiast
Landed in Dallas from Sydney , Australia late Sat afternoon. Haven't been able to get over the last couple of years. I am going to play in the Tex panhandle on monday afternoon. I would be guessing with the drought conditions that a bit of a haboob might be on the cards. HRRR and NAMNEST have plenty activity though nothing particularly decent on the helicity tracks. im here for a couple weeks so ill take everything offered. Im not really a fan of chasing the hill country in far south Texas unless desperate so ill ignore the slight zone.
Awesome to be back for my 7th US chase.
 
Alright, I think I'm finally settled on leaving Tuesday for Texas so that I can get staged for Wednesday. Now that Wednesday is in the NAM range, I feel confident with chasing Wednesday. I'm targeting Waco right now, but that'll probably change slightly as we get closer. I'm concerned that this might just turn into a hail event. The CAPE is a little low, and that shows up in the sounding, but hopefully it improves a little more between now and Wednesday. Plenty of moisture with RH at 99% and shear in the 55 - 60kt range. CAPE is only around 3,000 right now, but if that increases, it could be a great chase day.
 

Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
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Twin Falls, ID
Classic, nothing to something, west Texas sneak attack for 5-23-22 verified by RAP and now SPC. Would not be surprised if risk levels were raised. Tuesday and Wednesday's action (if any) will depend a lot on outflows. As others have noted, end of May and first part of June has promise.
I had been watching the TX/NM border area more so than central TX. My concerns were the lack of more robust moisture (I know it's higher elevation and won't require as much), CAPE struggling to top 1000 J/kg, and shear isn't spectacular. With the extreme drought, there's no ground moisture to help bump those dews up, and I'm not seeing a strong LLJ bringing it in. Of course now that I've made up my mind not to go, I'm trying to find all the reasons it WON'T happen, haha! What are the positives that you're seeing with this setup? If Dora 2.0 happens I'll surely be banging my head against the wall.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Classic, nothing to something, west Texas sneak attack for 5-23-22 verified by RAP and now SPC. Would not be surprised if risk levels were raised. Tuesday and Wednesday's action (if any) will depend a lot on outflows. As others have noted, end of May and first part of June has promise.
Awesome to see this Warren, as I am en route from Colorado Springs to Amarillo. Last time I looked at any data was 7:30am MDT this morning - 06Z models from last night - and was surprised SPC had the area I have been eyeing for days only in a General Thunderstorm risk and talking only about the region further east in TX… I was able to get a marginal TOR sounding near the NM/TX near Hobbs or Jal (and even one up west of LBB).

AMA is a bit out of the way to set up, but I don’t want to commit too much yet today, and wanted to show my son where it all began for me - Marty Feeley used to start his tours out of Amarillo when I started chasing with him in 1996.
 

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
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Good luck to all who traveled far, from the East Coast, from Australia! Everywhere else too.

I'm sensing a Northern Plans sequence starting about Sunday. Could go through Tuesday gradually sagging into the Central Plains. Some risk of a progressive trough and only a couple good days. Upside is 4 gems if Sat-Tue or Sun-Wed - earlier probably more likely if it happens, but we are several days out.

MJO and Pac jet extension behavior support a new trough into the US West. Might not dig all the way into the Rockies; so, I'm not too excited about southern Plains, plus cap. However the northern half should get something out of it.
 

Todd Lemery

Staff member
Supporter
Jun 2, 2014
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i‘m planning on being out, but the GFS is really struggling to let the cap be broke Saturday-Monday. I think everything will work out just fine. Monday is looking like the best day (yes, I know we’re a week out and it will change) with the moisture solidly in place, surface and mid-level winds looking good, lapse rates and helicity all up there as a trough moves through Southern Kansas. Fingers crossed…..
 

Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
159
11
Twin Falls, ID
I'm feeling optimistic about the weekend and next week, in spite of the concerns of the cap. 12z GFS does show some areas of weaker cap, particularly in the northern plains, closer to the heart of the trough. Nonetheless, the details can and will change, but on the larger scale, models have been pretty consistent, and in pretty good agreement about consecutive days with a trough over the northern/central plains. We oughtta be able to eek out a couple good days through that time period. 12z Euro shows pretty weak shear on Saturday, but theta-E above 360°K throughout much of Nebraska, with better shear arriving Sunday & Monday.
 
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Dave C

EF2
Jun 5, 2013
151
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Denver
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I'm feeling optimistic about the weekend and next week, in spite of the concerns of the cap. 12z GFS does show some areas of weaker cap, particularly in the northern plains, closer to the heart of the trough. Nonetheless, the details can and will change, but on the larger scale, models have been pretty consistent, and in pretty good agreement about consecutive days with a trough over the northern/central plains. We oughtta be able to eek out a couple good days through that time period. 12z Euro shows pretty weak shear on Saturday, but theta-E above 360°K throughout much of Nebraska, with better shear arriving Sunday & Monday.
I agree the models are becoming more settled with a trough or two and some short wave potential, a reason to at least hope one or two days works out.

I'm much more worried about continued lack of reasonable moisture (both surface and deep) than troughing at this point. I've only been at this hobby just over a decade so maybe this is only new for me, but I cannot ever recall seeing moisture so far east consistently, many drylines non existent or oriented practically horizontal or mix out, moisture replenishment/return very weak between events, etc. It seems like every time there is sufficient shear the good moisture is 200 miles away, etc. Giant haboobs in the dust bowl counties for the first time in a long while.

I used to assume based upon experience that moisture was generally laying around somewhere in the plains (at least in May) and start my forecasts looking for troughing to spot long range opportunities. Now I go out to model extents hoping for significant moisture to be forecast west of the Mississippi any time in the rest of my life.

To me it looks like the couple marginal setups in TX today and tomorrow, and then no moisture under shear until maybe 5/29 (briefly for maybe a day or two in parts of NE/IA, in a narrow band of overlap according to latest GFS). While longer range GFS is mostly useless to me, the run trend has not been getting better for consistent moisture return even into first week of June. Hoping things will change as end of May and beginning of June get nearer. I'd take a good local storm with lightning at this point.
 
I really wish I could have chased today and tomorrow. Unfortunately the wife had to work, so I was on baby duty. After showing promise a few days ago, Wednesday and Thursday are now very quiet. So the first two days of my Chasecation aren't getting started on the right foot. Thinking about heading to the Twister museum on Thursday and then just hoping for a good Friday through Sunday.
 
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Matt Hunt

EF3
Aug 2, 2009
277
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11
Twin Falls, ID
Ugh. Should've gone! Not starting my chasecation off well either, with a poor decision to sit out today (in hindsight, of course). Seems like if I sit out marginal days, something magical happens, but if I chase them, it's all junk and I feel like a fool for driving hundreds of miles and spending hundreds of dollars to watch rain showers. I guess those are the breaks in this game.

Looked to me like outflow from earlier storms south of Lubbock hit that storm near Morton, and it subsequently went nuts. Not sure it would've produced anything otherwise.
 

Jeff House

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Jun 1, 2008
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Starting to believe a Northern Plains Upper Midwest sequence is on-tap beginning this weekend. Too good to be true again? Let's look under the hood.

We have reeled it well into the 6-10 day; so, I'm cautiously optimistic. Models smodels, but they are a tool. I look for failure modes, like forecasting snow in the South, haha. Any tropical depression looks buried south Gulf or Yucatan, greater than 15 degrees away from the US trough - no impact if models are right. Probably no TD anyway. Back to the hemispheric pattern forecast; well, it's amazing Rockies trough with Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Looking at the Indian Ocean and Pacific satellite.. MJO and Kelvin Waves are supportive. Pacific jet extension is robust; look for that to poke in North America and retract, yielding the Rockies trough. Global Wind is falling, which is favorable for that pattern in late May early June.

As for the meso-scale and daily details, it's morning of most days. This time of year I'll take broad trough with subtle waves. Boundary forecasting will also be paramount. Forecast dewpoints are quite enough in that part of the World: Northern Plains Upper MW.

Barring a major debacle (which is less and less likely) we are going to tee up a sequence for the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Happy and SAFE chasing!
 
Jul 19, 2008
70
63
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Anoka, MN
Starting to believe a Northern Plains Upper Midwest sequence is on-tap beginning this weekend. Too good to be true again? Let's look under the hood.

We have reeled it well into the 6-10 day; so, I'm cautiously optimistic. Models smodels, but they are a tool. I look for failure modes, like forecasting snow in the South, haha. Any tropical depression looks buried south Gulf or Yucatan, greater than 15 degrees away from the US trough - no impact if models are right. Probably no TD anyway. Back to the hemispheric pattern forecast; well, it's amazing Rockies trough with Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Looking at the Indian Ocean and Pacific satellite.. MJO and Kelvin Waves are supportive. Pacific jet extension is robust; look for that to poke in North America and retract, yielding the Rockies trough. Global Wind is falling, which is favorable for that pattern in late May early June.

As for the meso-scale and daily details, it's morning of most days. This time of year I'll take broad trough with subtle waves. Boundary forecasting will also be paramount. Forecast dewpoints are quite enough in that part of the World: Northern Plains Upper MW.

Barring a major debacle (which is less and less likely) we are going to tee up a sequence for the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Happy and SAFE chasing!
I"ve been too hesitant to say anything for fear of being overly optimistic and waiting for someone with better knowledge to post. Thank you. It's very broad troughing with good mid level winds and all kinds of subtle shortwaves- over sufficient juice and do-able capping. It's been a LONG time since I have seen something this promising up here on models. Just handed in PTO request at work.
 
Jul 5, 2009
1,370
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
Ugh. Should've gone! Not starting my chasecation off well either, with a poor decision to sit out today (in hindsight, of course). Seems like if I sit out marginal days, something magical happens, but if I chase them, it's all junk and I feel like a fool for driving hundreds of miles and spending hundreds of dollars to watch rain showers. I guess those are the breaks in this game.

Looked to me like outflow from earlier storms south of Lubbock hit that storm near Morton, and it subsequently went nuts. Not sure it would've produced anything otherwise.
I feel bad for suggesting to you on Saturday that it wasn’t worth it… But as Warren noted, the outlook for Monday did improve on Sunday… Even still, I probably would not have made the drive from Idaho, I was already on chase vacation and coming from Colorado…

I did end up on the Morton tornado, although nowhere near as close as the pictures posted above… Will post a full account in the Reports section when I have time.