2006 Season Review

Shane Adams

For me, 2006 was an ok year. I guess I was fortunate that I chased often early, with all my best days coming before May. I've always considered the early part of the season as important as any, an opinion not shared by a lot of others. I think that coming into this year, the popular opinion was "wait til May" or "when it's May you chase." I certainly agree with the second one, but I don't agree with the off-shoot opinion it seems to suggest: "March and April aren't as important." A year like this one reflects just how important respecting the entire Spring can be, not just May. I don't look at the calendar, I just chase each system as it comes. Fortunately it worked out well for me this year. IMO, May has become the Oklahoma of chase months.

2006 Chase Statistics

MILES - 7,943
SUCCESS RATIO - 1 in 5.0
STATES CHASED - Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas
chases: about 11 or 12
miles: about 7k
tornado days: 2
tornadoes: 3
states chased: Ks, Ne, Mo, Ia, SD

Shane is definetly right about March and April. If it wasnt for April this year I may not have seen anything.
I have now managed to get all of this year's chases/severe weather observations on My Webpage.

My successess, too, came in April, with a couple pleasant surprises during a June (primarily non-chase) trip to NM.

Here are my stats:

TORNADO DAYS: 1 (April 16, a very happy Easter!)
BLUE SKY BUSTS: 1 (April 14)
MILEAGE PER CHASE: Didn't keep track this year, but average is certainly under 200 miles. Between my commitments and the overall poor chase season, long chase trips just did not happen.

The six events worthy of talking about thus far this year, all with details and photos linked from the above-linked Web site, are as follows:

June 14 - A fishing outing turns into a storm observation outing, as a severe storm sweeps down out of the mountains and over Eagle Nest Lake, NM.

June 6 - I observe what looked like a dust devil in the Santa Fe, NM area - but since it was under the leading edge of an approaching thunderstorm, perhaps the more proper designation would be a gustnado. You can look at the pics and decide.

May 24 - After intercepting severe storms in Pike Co., IL and Lincoln Co., MO, I pursue a severe storm from near Troy, MO through the Edwardsville and Marine areas to Highland, IL and beyond. The storm produces interesting features as it causes damage near Edwardsville, and lots of blowing dust and a gustnado near Highland.

April 30 - I get a few shelf cloud and lightning pics as storms pass northeast and southeast of Edwardsville.

April 16 - I see, but am unable to photograph, the F2 tornado that occurred southeast of Effingham, IL shortly after 5 p.m. I also see, and do get nice photos of, a rotating wall cloud and brief spinup tornado near Assumption, IL earlier in the day, as well as a number of other interesting storms that occurred from around Springfield, IL all the way southeast to Robinson, near the Indiana border.

April 7 - I encounter a series of prolific hailers in Southern Illinois, and, without trying to get in the hail, manage to get my best hail video ever.

I feel like I have been pretty fortunate in what has generally been a difficult chase year - and still have some hopes for some chases yet this summer up to the north and/or some fall action.
2006 Chase Statistics

MILES - 6380
TORNADO DAYS - 2 (March 20th and April 24th)
SUCCESS RATIO - 1 in 7.5
STATES CHASED - Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Chase logs and pictures available on my 2006 Chase Logs page.
2006 Chase Statistics
As of July 1, 2006

MILES - 16,839
TORNADO DAYS - 2* (May 5 and May 23)
LARGEST HAIL: Softball (May 5)
STATES CHASED - Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio (state graphic here) Total 20 States

2006 Storm Chase Logs
MILES - ~14,300
AVERAGE CHASE DISTANCE - ~1,100 miles or so
TORNADO DAYS - 1 (March 12th)
LARGEST HAIL - 2" inches (dented hood of my car)
STRONGEST STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS - ~100mph (estimated -- March 12th)
SUCCESS RATIO - 1 in 13.0 (in terms of tornadoes)
STATES CHASED - Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska

LOL... Yep, that'd be my year (so far at least). Quite possibley the worst year I've ever had (probably only due to the fact of being miserable due to spending outragous cash). I got two large tornadoes on March 12th (and no real good video to show for it) and decided, after chasing the first couple days of April, to wait until early May to leave. I did so, and that is when the 'change of pattern' took place... LMAO... Yeah, it really did change. Everyday had >1800m LCL/LFCs and plenty of convective mess. I've gotten several decent supercells this year, but I haven't been updating my 2006 chase logs on my site properly (which will be done in a couple of weeks).

Worst year in chasing history, perhaps? Name at least 2 real tornado days that occured in May and June. Oh, yeah... That's right! There was none... :rolleyes:
Chases - 23
miles - around 9000
Average chase distance - 391 miles
largest hail - baseball 3 times with 1 busted windshield
tornado days - 4 (March 12 - 4, March 30 - 1, April 6 - 3, April 15 - 1)
tornadoes - 9
success ratio - 1 in 2.6
average miles per tornado - 1000 miles
States chased - KS, OK, TX, AR, NE, IA, MO
CHASES - 28(so far, it's not quite over yet)
MILES - 15,558
TORNADO DAYS - 1(April 6)
SUCCESS RATIO - hmmmm probably 1 in 6 or so for something semi-worthwhile.
MILES PER TORNADO - 15,558(good thing I'm not chasing just for those or I'd feel REALLY bad driving that many miles for one)
LARGEST HAIL golfball(March 12, March 30, April 1, April 18, April 24, May-June??LOL) I guess I found some baseball hail March 12 at night after driving back south to where I was parked infront of that tornadic storm that went south and east of Concordia MO.
HIGHEST WIND something over 60(May 25, June 10, June 16, June 21). November blizzard probably had the highest. I'm starting to count fall with the following year like a school year, since it is easier for making a video that way.

I have no desire to sugarcoat the 2006 year. I've seen some say it is what you make of it. I disagree. Sightseeing areas of the plains to me isn't part of chasing, it is sightseeing areas of the plains. I chase to see the storms and they have very largely sucked. All I have to say is thank god for April. I try to convince myself to blow off March and April every year so that I don't wind up having to blow off later days because of money. It is a pretty wise way to be in the long run if you know you can't possibly chase them all for 4 months straight, plus the summer when it is so "local". I'm glad I have no ability to skip early stuff just because it is early. The need to get back out there is just too strong early in the year. I've changed my view about April just a bit thanks to this year. I've also changed it about May and June, noting it is entirely possible they can both REALLY suck some years. I kept hitting May and June fairly hard being affraid to sit out that one day that winds up going nuts somewhere. Thank god they are both over now! Hopefully some magic can happen at least one day in either July or August. I've decided August 30 to be the end of a season for me. September will have to be the start of the next one. Hmmmm then again, lol, I guess like 2004 spoiled some of us and our ideas of what years should be like, 2005 fall likely spoiled our views on the fall/winter.

2006 chases
2006 Chase Statistics

CHASES - ~16
MILES - ~7600
TORNADO DAYS - 4 (April 24th, May 5, May 9, May 30 )
BIG HAIL: May 5 baseballs, splash another windshield
TORNADOES - ~8 (first tornado of three on May 5 is questionable)
STATES CHASED - Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa

Final chase reports here.

I chased what I could in April but my work schedule often prevented longer trips. I skipped many setups in 2006 and avoided some busts that way but I also missed the Beatrice tornado on a weekend I was free and able to chase. That stung. The BIE day suffered the same poor moisture and afternoon mixing that plagued us almost every chase but still produced a fine tube, which proved to me again that it's dangerous to chase as if my margin of error is small. It isn't.

Saw all my tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma despite several trips north and even a quick reconnaissance from Iowa into Minnesota chasing a rain shower. I'm surprised at my low number of genuine, rotating storms since it felt like I saw fifty outflow-dominated, high-based junk parades. After a while I was so accustomed to outflow that I expected it each time I stepped out of the truck. But, to paraphrase a character from the HBO series Deadwood, I'm still glad to be in the camp, even on the sorriest of days.
2006 Chase Statistics

MILES - Less than 2000
AVERAGE CHASE DISTANCE - 300 (estimated)
TORNADOES - 4 (March 12th - Saline Co. MO...and Sept. 16 - McCook & Minnehaha Co. SD)
SUCCESS RATIO - 2 in 10 (20%)
BIG/BAD HAILBOMBS: Baseball hail March 12th, April 18th
STATES CHASED - Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, South Dakota, Minnesota
BUST CHASES (no severe wx observed) - 2


This will go down as probably the first year since 1988 that I have chased successfully only 10 times
in a spring season. It is my alltime first for not recording any successful chases for severe wx in the
months of May and June in 2006 !!
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2006 Chase Statistics

MILES - 9338
TORNADOES - 8 (6 - March 12 MO) (1 - April 15 NE) (1 - May 2 TX)
STATES CHASED - Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas

Very fun season and I could not ask for more from such a dry season.

Updated 2/15/07:

Chases: 22
Total Mileage: 9300 miles
Tornado Days: 5 - Beatrice, Woonsocket & Kingsbury
Tornadoes: 11
Clearsky Busts: 1 (5/20/06 even though I did intercept some pathetic cells)
Avg Chase Distance: 490
States Chased: ND, MN, SD, IA, NE, MO

It was a fantastic year.

3-12 Near Hurricane force winds & lightning illuminated vault on Tornado warned supercell NE of Kansas City.

-Beatrice Tornado (viewed from a distance) and Beatrice supercell and later Nebraska City supercell and funnels (possible tornado, not counted).

-Woonsocket Supercell and tornado

- Gustnado Fest in SE SD.

- August 9th cirrus splash from tornadic supercell near Leola

- Needle in haystack Kingsbury hybrid supercell and photogenic tornado.

- Six tornadoes and incredible cyclic supercell from Miller to SE of Huron, SD.

- Following rain-wrapped tornado into recently damaged city of Surprise, Nebraska.

- Two tornadoes and several funnels on 9/16
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2006 Chase Statistics
As of July 4, 2006

BUSTS: 6 (Mar 30th, Apr 1st, May 8th, Jun 5th, Jun 9th, Jun 10th)
TORNADO DAYS: 5 (Jan 28th, Mar 12th, Apr 6th, May 23rd, and May 30th)
TORNADOES: 12 (2 non-supercell)
HAIL (>2 inch) DAYS: 1 (April 18th Chillicothe, MO)
MILES: 10810
SUCCESS RATIO: 1 in 2 (worth the time and money)
STATES CHASED (most – least) - Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas
LARGEST HAIL: 2.5 inch (April 18th Chillicothe, MO)
STRONGEST WINDS: ~70 MPH (June 21st 12 miles west of Clay Center, KS)
BEST CHASE: March 12th W/C MO
WORST CHASE: June 9th Iowa cap bust on the warmfront

Twelve tornadoes on five tornado days sounds great but most of them were rather pathetic tornadoes. The only good tornado days for me were March 12th and April 6th.

Chase Logs

Scott Currens

Here are a few more stats from 2006.

FOOD: $186.60 PER CHASE: $8.11
HOTEL: $145.40 PER CHASE: $6.32
GAS: $1577.00 PER CHASE: $68.57
TOTAL: $1906.99 PER CHASE: $82.91
MPG: 18.1 (I need a Honda Civic!)
MILES - 9,000
AVERAGE CHASE DISTANCE - 1,500 miles or something
TORNADO DAYS - 0 (None!)
LARGEST HAIL - 2.5 inches (In SD)
SUCCESS RATIO - 4 in 18 (In terms of wallclouds, funnel clouds, and tornadoes)
STATES CHASED - Tennessee, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska
MILES PER TORNADO - (Didn't get a tornado...)
BEST CHASE DAY - SW SD (Redshirt, Deadwood) 6/13/06
WORST CHASE DAY: The awsome, EC Iowa cap bust, on 6/20/06...
MILES - 9,000
AVERAGE CHASE DISTANCE - 1,500 miles or something
TORNADO DAYS - 0 (None!)
LARGEST HAIL - 2.5 inches (In SD)
SUCCESS RATIO - 4 in 18 (In terms of wallclouds, funnel clouds, and tornadoes)
STATES CHASED - Tennessee, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska
MILES PER TORNADO - (Didn't get a tornado...)

Well, I'm too lazy today to do the math and spit out stats today...sorry. My chase partner Doren Berge and I both flew into Omaha (he's from Salem, Mass. and I'm from Tucson, Az.) on May 23rd. We rented our annual Hertz 4x4 SUV "hailcatcher" and worked the alley from North Dakota down to the panhandle of Texas VERY VERY HARD for 3 weeks. Btw...we also hit Colorado and Iowa. OMG....what a frustrating and demoralizing season. Expensive too...to say the least. I know dang well that between the SUV, gasoline, eating well (I don't do those Allsup deep-fried things) and staying at good motels, I myself probably threw $3-4 grand at this season. We chalked up over 8,000 miles getting lousy gas mileage to boot. Our take for the whole trip was one brief but "exciting" spinup (yes, the real deal) in North Dakota, and after poor Doren flew home I bagged some nice naders near Gordon, Nebraska on June 10th. That was it. Man....for us, 2002 sucked, and last year.....Hill City Kansas and Kadoka S.D. excepting, was not that great either. But 2006......geez man, drive a stake thru it's heart and spit on it's grave. Arghhhhh!
Call me a sadist, but there really is a part of me that is proud to have made it through this season. And I think all you guys and gals that did the same should be proud. Of what..you say?? Of having the fortitude to keep getting up off of the mat after one disappointing day after another....then getting up and going out the door on another chase. A lot of us did just that. And I have to think that this season probably shook a lot of the dead leaves off of the tree. By that I mean, I have a hunch that quite a few of the yahoo/thrillseeker vermin-type chasers called it quits for good. I'd love it if it were a little less crowded out there...wouldn't you?
I can envision several years down the road, those of us that hung tough this season will be standing around under some wall cloud at an impromptu chaser's convergence, groaning and lamenting about the 2006 season. And we'll all nod our heads in agreement when someone finally admits out loud what none of us wanted to say ourselves....that we were all spooked after '06 that the weather was changing so drastically that there'd never be another really good tornado season.
Sincere kudos to all of you that "hung tough" this season. To me.....you all are the real deal. Joel
Newbie 2006 Chase Statistics

MILES - 9256
TORNADOES - 1 (Patricia TX May 5)
LARGEST HAIL - 3.9" (m) (Mertzon TX May 4), 3" (e) (Sterling TX May 5)
STRONGEST WINDS - ~70kts (e) (Ogallala NE June 10)

Got some good pics; had a great time out on the road with friends.
That's what it's all about. Tornadoes are the icing.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.... :)
Be safe.....
Now that a very interesting July (much better than June!) is over, I think it is time to update the statistics:

TORNADO DAYS: 1. possibly 2 (April 16, a very happy Easter! - and possibly July 19)
TORNADOES: 2 or 3: 2 on April 16, possibly one on July 19
FUNNEL CLOUDS: 2 (July 19 and 27)
GUSTNADOES: 2 (May 24 and [probably] June 6)
BLUE SKY BUSTS: 1 (April 14)
For tornadoes: 1 or 2 out of 12
For supercells: 3 out of 12 (plus two when I wasn't chasing)
For severe storms: 10 out of 12

All in all, I would have to say this, as of now, has turned into a better-than-average year for me, thanks to the many severe storms in IL in April and July.

All chase reports available at:

I am breaking mine down into two parts:
1.) March-April, chasing for myself
2.) May-June, Forecaster for ROTATE 2006

March-April: Myself

MILES: ~5000 miles
TORNADO DAYS: 2 (March 20 and April 24)

May-June: ROTATE, only chased May 21-June 26
MILES: ~15000 miles
TORNADO DAYS: 1 (May 31)
MILES PER TORNADO: 7,500 :blink:

The rest of my chase summeries are here.
ROTATE 2006 summeries can be found here.
2006 DID suck!

One positive note was since home base is STL, we sat out for a lot of weak events..... and for good reason since the days we didn't go out almost never produced. If I lived further west, I'm sure we would have gone out significantly more. $2.50-3.00 gas is forcing stronger decisions on these things.

Didn't chase a whole lot, went out maybe 5-6 times, drove about 3000 miles total. Short, weak year.

After splitting up the costs of chasing with friends, this year was cheap.

TOTAL COST= Less than $200
Chase days: more than 25*
First chase: April 2
Last convection chase: September 22
Last chase: December 7 (lake effect snow)
Main chase trip: May 21 to June 2
States: 14 (WV, OH, KY, IN, IL, MO, KS, NE, SD, ND, MN, WI, IA, TN)
2006 Miles: Stopped counting at 20,000
2006 expenses: At least $8,000 (gas and hotels), (over $9,000 if counting vehicle repairs)

*Most are long-distance tornado chase days - some are long-distance lightning chase days, others winter storm chases (local chases under 2-hour drives not counted)

Tornadoes: 1
Photogenic storm structure events: 4
Photogenic lightning events: 6

On a scale from 0 to 10 (10 being the best), I rate my 2006 spring season for the following:

Tornado quality/frequency: 4
Lightning quality/frequency: 7
Storm structure: 5
Imagery/video captured: 8
Cost: 3
Per-chase success: 4
Crisis impact: 2 (major breakdown, 1 flat tire)
Overall enjoyability: 8

Just for comparison, I'd rate 2005:

Tornado quality/frequency: 10
Lightning quality/frequency: 7
Storm structure: 5
Imagery/video captured: 10
Cost: 5
Per-chase success: 7
Crisis impact: 8 (1 flat tire)
Overall enjoyability: 10

And 2004:

Tornado quality/frequency: 10
Lightning quality/frequency: 7
Storm structure: 7
Imagery/video captured: 10
Cost: 6
Per-chase success: 8
Crisis impact: 10 (no problems)
Overall enjoyability: 10
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2006 was my best chase season...by virtue of being my first and only one to date. I was only able to venture on three chases, though, and two of them were sucessful only because the decision to chase was made with storms already on my doorstep (including one that was tornado-warned). My only pre-planned chase that involved a long positioning drive was a complete cap bust (June 20 to western Iowa).

2006 also featured blown opportunities...I would have chased June 6 (3 tornadoes including 1 long-lived in south-central WI) but my would-be chase partner and I both agreed that conditions were too marginal and uncertain to warrant the time and gas. On June 18 (the race-out-the-door chase based on a tornado warning) a tornado touched town within visible distance of my house (for the third time in as many years) but I would have never pegged the storm as a tornado producer without the spotter-reported warning which, by the time it went out over NOAA weather radio, the brief tornado had already lifted.
Here is my list of chase days from May 17 through May 31 of 2006.

First of all, I was completely solo this year. Usually I am with 3-4 others, but due to personal reasons / medical stuff, these others could not make it (I considered myself lucky - Until seeing a REX BLOCK low stall over the great lakes from about 8 days before my trip - And remain there until 1 week after the start of my trip - Then a 5 day long ridge in response to that low once it took forever to move from the great lakes)!

With gas at $3.09 a gallon, about 55% more than a year ago in 2005, I was hoping the season would be in OK, KS, TX and I would not have to move around that much, but as murphy's law put it - No! One day I would be in Ohio, the next in Kansas, the next in Colorado, then ND, then SD, but NEVER was in Texas. In 2 weeks, and with about 9,134 miles and over $1,500 in gas later, came home with some gustnadoes and maybe a brief small tornado (barely a tornado)! Lots of down time, some busts, but some scores, depending on what someone makes of it.

Fortunately, I think I was one of the "luckier ones" as Amy Grant would sing - since I was able to make the most out of, well, a glass mostly EMPTY instead of HALF FULL. Horray to the over-zealous optimist!

Anyway, see the log below for Chris Collura (SKY-CHASER) solo chase...

May 17 - Arrival day. Arrived at Oklahoma City and picked up rental vehicle. Anticipating a few days of "down time" (no storms) I decided to head east on I-44 to spend the night in St Louis, Missouri. The only possibility of weak convection also happens to be in and east of the St Louis area before activity returns to the high plains in a few days.

May 18 - Today was expected to be a total down day which the first half of which was spent in Saint Louis, Missouri killing time. By afternoon, convection began east of the area with enhanced cumulus developing. After checking data and seeing an upper air disturbance moving across eastern and central Illinois and into Indiana, I decided to investigate any convection that might develop. In low dewpoint air, and despite a stiff northwest flow at the surface and aloft, some strong thunderstorms did get going, one of which was intercepted on Interstate 70 near Brazil, Indiana. Time-lape video was also produced for the remainder of the convection. Day was wrapped up for the night in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was the farthest east I ever chased and plans are to head back west for activity in a few days back in the high plains.

May 19 - Down day, with only slight chase prospects dwindling in the extreme southern portions of Illinois and Indiana, I decided to kill more down time with a visit and stay over in Chicago, Illinois since it was about 3 hours northwest of Indianapolis. I also forecasted and found that portions of MO and Kansas may have fair to good chasing prospects for the next day (May 20).

May 20 - Cap bust day. I decided to gamble by side tracking into SW Missouri near Cassville off Interstate 44 (since I had to head back west anyways) after seeing a moderate upper-air impulse sliding SE in the NW flow aloft with a pocket of high CAPE and boundary enhanced helicity (from a stationary front across southern MO) in that region. The only thing was the 700 mb temperatures were too warm, and a capping inversion held solid from the NE side of a 500 mb thermal ridge (to my SW). Waited for any signs of development until about 6:30 PM CDT and nothing happened, despite nearly a 20 degree difference (92 in Cassville with SW winds and 73 near Carthage with SE winds, 40 miles apart). Only elevated showers were observed north of the boundary due to the upper-air disturbance and associated large-scale ascent. Headed north on highway 77 and spent the evening in Harrisonville, MO. The next day (5-21) may be a chase day in western Kansas based on looking at data that evening of May 20.

May 21 - Chase day with two thunderstorms intercepted, one a supercell near Springfield, MO and the other a strong multicell storm near Plad, MO. Today had a nearly identical setup as the one on 5-20 near Springfield, MO so after much forecasting I decided to target that area rather than head west. This time, the cap was overcome since a mid-level MCV was rotating eastward out of central Kansas and two boundaries were in place over the target area. After the interception(s), I headed back to Salina, KS for the night anticipating a drive farther west on 5-22 for possible upslope convection in NE Colorado / NW Kansas.

May 22 - Today was a chase day with good potential which did not come together fully. Began the day by leaving Salina, Kansas after looking at data and forecasting a region of convergence / upslope in NE Colorado / NW Kansas under an approaching shortwave. Headed northwest on Interstate 70 then north to first target area of Wray, Colorado near the tri-state regions of CO, NE, and KS. Storms did develop in that region, but were very high based as dewpoints never reached that region and the upper dynamics had not cleared the Rocky Mountains in time. The storms were strong thunderstorms, one exhibiting weak rotation, but did not get organized. Met up with several other chasers, including Brian Morganti and Jeff Pitrowski and even did a demo of my equipment / interview for a Brazilian film crew riding along with Brian's group. Headed back east to North Platte, NE for dinner and to spend the evening as the next day (5-23) should be another chase day farther east in Nebraska along Interstate 80.

May 23 - Chase day in southeastern South Dakota where high chase prospects wound up with an outflow dominant squall line and many intense gustnadoes. Left North Platte after forecasting and found the best target to be near Chamberlain, South Dakota and nearby areas to the southeast along Interstate 90. Initiation of storms began as expected in the target area by afternoon and continued eastward along Interstate 90 where I met up with other chasers including Tony Laubach near Kimball, SD. The storms became linear and with very strong outflow winds, but a fantastic spree of gustnadoes was caught not far from Letcher, South Dakota ahead of the squall line. The storms encountered also had strong winds and heavy rains. The chase track played the squall line looking for circulations and forward-flank mesocyclones in the gust front. Todays long chase track, once out of Nebraska and into South Dakota, contined east along Interstate 90 into extreme SW Minnesota, then south on Highway 75 into Iowa where Tony Laubach and myself spent the night in Sioux City, Iowa.

May 24 - Today was a long chase day which began early with a forecast that targeted east-central Iowa and west-central Illinois. Tony Laubach and I left Sioux City, Iowa and headed south on Interstate 29 then East on Interstate 680 and 80. We passed Des Moines, Iowa then dropped southeast on Highway 163 into Ottumwa, Iowa where we checked data and met up with a few other chasers. We continued east on Highway 34 into Illinois. With another check of data, we continued to Galesburg, Illinois then north on Interstate 74 to finally intercept developing storms southeast of Moline, Illinois. The storm briefly became a small supercell near Rock Falls, Illinois before splitting and evolving into a multicell line and gusting out. We headed southeast on Highway 52, then to Interstate 39 to wrap up the day with dinner and lodging in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

May 25 - Another chase day beginning with Tony Laubach and myself forecasting and targeting east-central Indiana from Indianapolis to the Ohio border as tghe primary target. We left Bloomington-Normal, Illinois and headed east into Indiana towards Indianapolis and stopped at an exit off Interstate 70 where we met another chaser, David Diehl. We continued south towards Eminance, Indiana then towards Bloomington where the first tornado-warned supercell storm was found near Elletsville, Indiana producing small funnel clouds. The storm merged into a squall line so we headed back north and around to the east side of Indianapolis to try to get ahead of the storms, but they became linear and outflow dominant. We continued to the Ohio state line and ended the chase there. I continued back west towards Inidianapolis as Dave and Tony split apart as well. As I continued west, I encountered another severe storm with a spectatular shelf cloud (also outflow dominant) near Interstate 70 near Spiceland, Indiana. The storms continued to become linear, and I wrapped up the day spending the night in Indianapolis,l Indiana.

May 26 - Today was taken to be a travel (down) day to re-position farther west anticipating the next disturbance moving into the high plains. Left Indianapolis, Indiana and headed west on Interstate 70 most of the day and spent the night in Kansas City on the Kansas side. The original plan was to pass "down time" in Chicago, Illinois but plans changed as the rule was to head west. Unfortunately, major storms were missed this day in the western Kansas region as the "new" disturbance was much stronger than forecasts and models depicted. The next day should have activity and Kansas City at least puts any new chase prospects in range.

May 27 - Today was a long shot, a real long shot, which began with a forecast pinpointing the best chance of tornadoes and severe storms in northeastern North Dakota, and I made the trip. I left Kansas City, Kansas at 8:30 AM and headed up highway 29 through Kansas / Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska (where some strong storms were passed by), Sioux City, Iowa then into South Dakota and North Dakota choosing Fargo, North Dakota for the first target. The trip took about 7 hours, and I was in Fargo by 3:30 PM. Upon checking data, the best dynamics and chance of initiation (enhanced cumulus revealed by visible satellite) was about 100 miles to my west, so I headed west on Interstate 94 and found a line of towering cumulus far off to my NW. I headed north on Highway 231 out of Jamestown, North Dakota as the towering cumulus developed into a distant building supercell storm. This storm happened to be NW of Devils Lake, and was intercepted sucessfully with large hail and a rotating wall cloud / funnels. I also decided to go the extra 20 miles to the Canada border before returning to Jamestown, ND for the night as the next day will be a chase day farther south. This day was, put aside hurricane chases, the longest chase ever in my life!

May 28 - Chase day with severe storms intercepted in SW South Dakota. Forecasted in Jamestown, North Dakota to determine today's target area. There were two prospects, one again in northeastern North Dakota (departing surface low) and another in southwestern South Dakota (lee cyclogenesis was a possibility). If the low did not develop SW of South Dakota and the low in NE North Dakota did not move, northeastern South Dakota would have been good for possible storms. I left Jamestown and targeted Aberdeen, South Dakota. Here is where I waited for quite a while, watching the SE winds there quickly go SW as a cold front surged past Pierre to my west. Meanwhile, agitated cumulus appeared on the visible satellite in both NE North Dakota and SW South Dakota, nothing in my area. After another hour or so, the cumulus to the SW kepts building, and was in far better upper-air dynamics, plus slowly backing winds, despite it being in the post-frontal air. There was a very strong cap, and that helf off anything in ND (although an isolated cell fired there). I decided to go with SW SD so I headed southwest to Pierre, then targeted Kadoka, South Dakota. Storms were building rapidly to the southwest, and finally, a violent storm (hail and high winds) was intercepted near Wanblee in the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. After intercepting the storm, it was then a long drive through severe weather along Interstate 90 until west of Kennebec, where it cleared. The night was spent in Chamberlain, South Dakota as the next days chase prospects are SE Nebraska / NE Kansas.

May 29 - Today was supposed to be a chase day farther southeast (NE Kansas / SE Nebraska) but a cold front surged ahead of all the good upper air dynamics, so a long travel day (but trying to play along the front) from Chamberlain, South Dakota down into northeastern Kansas through southeastern Nebraska, then southwest into Liberal in SW Kansas anticipating a good setup for storms on 5-30. Managed to document some dust devils in eastern Nebraska, convection along the stalled cold front in NE Kansas, as well as very interesting dryline induced convection farther in SW Kansas. Also stopped in Hallam, Nebraska along the way to check out how the town was doing after a tornado destroyed it 2 years prior on May 22, 2004. I was delighted to see most of the town rebuilt. Met up with Verne Carlson and Tony Laubach in Liberal to share a room for the night.

May 30 - Chase day in western Oklahoma area. Forecasted and left Liberal, Kansas targeting development southwest of Woordward, Oklahoma. This was a dryline type setup with an outflow boundary and stationary front to play with. An upper air disturbance passed over the target region with an increase in upper winds in the right-rear entrance region of the jet stream flow. The storm was a supercell storm that was followed down and west of Highway 283 from near Cheyenne, Oklahoma to Interstate 40 until it gusted out violently.

May 31 - Departure and travel day. No storms were intercepted today or were in range. Returned the rental vehicle and left Oklahoma City, OK to return to Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This concludes the Midwestern United States Chase Log for the first trip in May 2006. The summary includes a total of 8 severe thunderstorms, 4 strong thunderstorms, and 2 tornadoes / funnel clouds. The main chase vehicle conducting all chases was a 2007 Ford Focus rental. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.

Better late than never, but this season was on the low side, with lots of traveling with little "return" ;-)

See full chase log here: http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2006.htm!
2006 Chase Season Summary: Scott Blair

For those interested, I’ve finally completed my 2006 chase summary. The photos contained within the accounts were all taken with Kodak E100VS slide film using a 28mm lens for a large majority of the imagery. My season certainly lacked in the way of tornadoes but several days of good storm structure and photogenic scenes were observed. Enjoy!


Scott Blair
MILES - 2060
TORNADO DAYS - 2 - maybe 3
TORNADOES - 2 (possible 3rd one at night)
SUCCESS RATIO - 2 in 6 (33%) unless you count the "night torn" and then 3 in 6 or 50%
STATES CHASED - Texas, Oklahoma
BUST CHASES (no severe wx observed) - 0

Commentary: With the high cost of gas, the terrible extended weather pattern, and other issues to deal with such as health and moving I scaled back this year. However the chases I did go on were productive and enjoyable. Every year I like to learn a little better when to pull the trigger and when to stay home and desk chase.
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