• Stormtrack's forum runs on Xenforo forum software, which will be undergoing a major update the evening of Wednesday, Feb 28th. The site may be down for a period while that update takes place.

Any Thoughts on May?

The explosive kickoff to the 2006 severe weather season has been just mind-boggling. The succession of intense SW lows coupled with strong Gulf moisture advection pumping impressive Td's into the mix seems to have no end. I've sure been impressed with all the coverage, and all of your vids and stills, but my heart sure aches for all the losses of life and property during this volatile season :(

While I've never had much faith in model data beyond about six days out, I'm really wondering what the month of May will bring. I'm better prepared to chase this year than I've ever been, and will be arriving in Wichita or Oklahoma City on May 2.

Do any of you have any thoughts on what the month of May will bring? Also, I'd sure like to meet some of you in person during my travels. I can send my call sign and cell number to anyone who might be interested in hooking up.

Be safe, everyone.
 
Seeing as how model output is questionable at best five days out I really don't see the point in even speculating on the overall pattern a month from now. I'm sure it will work itself out during the time you are here.
 
With drought conditions hanging on for most of the plains I'm guessing that the death ridge will set up about the end of May.
 
With drought conditions hanging on for most of the plains I'm guessing that the death ridge will set up about the end of May.
[/b]

I tend to have the same suspicions, but that sure won't stop anyone from following the weather to NE/SD if need be. The death ridge nixed anything worthwhile when I was in Kansas last year. All the severe weather (TOR included) was back at home.

But, I guess that's why they call it "chasing". :lol:
 
A good May pattern setup would be to get a continuous 500-mb trough over the SW US, and the current GFS output (12z Apr 8) shows such a thing trying to occur. But if the GFS does turn out to be accurate with it's upper level features (not timing per say) this trough looks to get cut off from the mean flow and ejects out from the SW. It looks as if another late March/early April setup may be on the horizon for late next week (13-16th'ish). I had a lot more comments on this feature for next week, but I'll save that for a forecast if/when one is created...too early at this time for details in my opinion. In short, I don't see the chasers dream (May) setup...yet.

In response to Michael, yes last May wasn't that great for the southern plains if memory recalls and the midwest got a lot of the action (2nd week in August, Wisconsin comes to mind). Sadly it was in not-so-great chase terrain and denser populated areas.

EDIT: Latest GFS fades the 500-mb cut off low out as it ejects NEward over the Rockies back into the mean flow, looks like this will be a quiet a week as things look now. Still though, the fact that troughs keep digging into the SW is a good thing even if they eject out, they're trying.
 
Because of the relative coolness of the northeastern Pacific and warmth of the northeastern Atlantic, I'm pretty optimistic for the next month or so that the current pattern of short waves developing into the coast and traveling up into ridging over the northern Midwest will persist.

The two week NH circulation seems to settle into a rather down-the-middle four or five wave pattern that could dynamically persist for a month or so. Beyond that I'm inclined to agree with Rob that the Ridge of Death could be the next transition to a more blocked circulation. The CDC seems to agree, putting the one month heat bullseye over AR, with above normal precip. centered over MN. The three month heat bullseye shifts to the Southwest (ugh!) with a below normal precip. bullseye over OK, you poor b*****ds.

The long and short of it is I'm looking for an average non-spectacular but ok season through the middle of May. The validity of my observations on what is essentially a crap-shoot is of course just about nil. FWIW.
 
Tell you what, everyone just stay home this season because May is going to suck big time. I will catch all of the tornadoes for you guys ok. Maybe next year...

Mick
 
Didn't you say that last year? :p
[/b]

Yeppers, sure did! :lol: Funny thing too, from what I gathered, last year mostly DID suck for most people unless you happened to catch the few really good events.
 
People say this all the time, but we Oklahoma chasers can say it and actually mean it - it can't be any worse than last year. You can't do worse than 0 tornadoes.

Seriously, I see no reason to expect a return of "normal" deep gulf moisture, because we've had days of gulf flow with only marginaly thick moisture. I'm not a scientist so I don't have a detailed explanation why. I just know that the current moisture fetch we're dealing with won't work when the chase day temps get above 82 degrees or so. Might be a good year for storm chasers, but tornado chasers might be in trouble. I dunno. I'm by no means giving up, I just have no reason to expect anything special. But then these things always seem to fix themselves somewhere during the season, whether it's Oklahoma or Texas or Iowa.

I remember all the threads during the first few days of May 2004 about how the year was wasted, so I don't really think about long-term much. It's more or less just something to talk about until it gets here.
 
I guess if anyone was to look at the past LaNINAS there could be a comparision, perhaps. It looks as though it will be in place for many weeks(current conus) to come but does that play on GULF moisture -I dunno know.

Sure seems TX panhandle / upslopes are slower than usual. And these current CA storms out of HI
(hilo lows) are pretty big and late.

There was some discussion earlier in the year (actually last month) that the big events would be EAST of the OK drylines - and that has played out in a big way.

last year I simply waited and waited...then flew to Denver on 6/8 ----and the rest was history in Hill City, KS

so go figure CA had more tornados than OK in 05? whaaa?
 
That's the nice thing I like about this board. You can set it in your settings so when a topic you participated in is replied to, it will not only email and notify you, but it will also send you the entire text of the post!

That's always usefull when the poster makes a post then quickly deletes it for some reason. heheh
 
I tend to have the same suspicions, but that sure won't stop anyone from following the weather to NE/SD if need be. The death ridge nixed anything worthwhile when I was in Kansas last year. All the severe weather (TOR included) was back at home.

But, I guess that's why they call it "chasing". :lol:
[/b]


You could always try Southern Ontario in late June. lol
 
I've been trying to get a good feel for the overall May pattern since March. I've been thinking ridge over the plains/rockies and trough over the East. This is generally supported by the La Nina response in May, and the drought helps too. The Amercian Ensembles a few days ago were showing the ridge shifting towards the Rockies/Northwest U.S. mid to late in April, which would be the pattern change. The GFS operational hinted at this as well, though way too early as usual. Now the Amercian Ensembles develop low pressure over the Gulf of Alaska in mid to late April. That's just a class spring-time April pattern if I may say so myself.

But the current amazing patter must change sometime, the atmosphere can't keep this up for much longer. So one is forced to come to the conclusion that the first week or two of May will probably not be very active - but that does not mean there won't be a couple decent setups. Just a small shortwave imbedded in zonal flow can make magic happen. I do believe the first half of May won't be the big show, though, and late May or even June will be better. I do think the biggest outbreaks of the year have already occured, unless one or two more occur in the next 10-14 days before the pattern changes.

I've seen some talk about 1988? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't 1988 a moderate or strong La Nina? The atmosphere sure has been responding as if the current La Nina were moderate or strong since March...
 
I've seen some talk about 1988? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't 1988 a moderate or strong La Nina? The atmosphere sure has been responding as if the current La Nina were moderate or strong since March...
[/b]

1988 Probably THE worst chase year EVER! I think it was coming off a decently strong El Nino and the ridge from hell sat over the plains. Seems like there were only 2 or 3 decent chase days all year on the plains. You young 'uns haven't really had to suffer.....yet. :D You know it was bad when those of us who were around chasing then STILL remember it almost 2 decades later! I joke about 1988, but a year or two like that would definitely thin the chaser herd.
 
I wonder, because I've not looked at the climate data for 1988, if it was a year where it was bad because chasing *outside* of OK/KS/TX hadn't been 'discovered' yet. Many of the years when the southern Plains were quiet, there were many chaseable events in SD, ND, NE, IA, IL, CO and IN. 2002 comes to mind. You might even say 2004 if it weren't for May 29, May 12 and June 12. Even then there were only a handful of good days in OK and KS. Maybe there are some of the vets that were chasing back in the 80's that can shed some light on whether they ever considered the northern Plains or midwest in their earliest chasing seasons.

I wonder if by today's standards (IE the willingness of most chasers to consider a much larger chase area) if we have really seen a truly bad year where there were absolutely no good events *anywhere* from the Rockies to the Mississippi/Ohio Valley.
 
I wonder, because I've not looked at the climate data for 1988, if it was a year where it was bad because chasing *outside* of OK/KS/TX hadn't been 'discovered' yet. [/b]


Nah, it stunk everywhere that year...there was one big day in May (8th) with 50+ tornadoes in IA/WI/IL...mainly Wisconsin. The day before looked good along the dryline in OK/KS, but the cap from hell left me with nothing but a sunburn. I did see my first chase tornado in March, but it was a fluky flanking line thing on a massive HP supercell that went thru OKC, dropping one or two rain wrapped tor's and 4" hail. April, bad....May, bad...June, bad...mainly just a lot of random, needle in a haystack type events. The real fun came in November, with several outbreaks across the plains and midwest.

Rob
 
I've seen some talk about 1988? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't 1988 a moderate or strong La Nina? The atmosphere sure has been responding as if the current La Nina were moderate or strong since March...
[/b]

Yes, 1988 was pretty dry but so was 1998 if I remember correctly. Like other's, I don't put too much faith in anything over 5 days out. This season as with all the past seasons, we will just have to wait and see what comes. It could be a year where I take off for a vacation in London for the first 2 weeks in May since nothing is happening or going non stop chasing.

One thing I did notice is that the death toll is a lot higher. Could this be just due to people getting use to the non active year's that we have had? Or just people not paying attention to the weather?

Anyway, we will just have to wait and see what this season brings.
 
1988 Probably THE worst chase year EVER! I think it was coming off a decently strong El Nino and the ridge from hell sat over the plains. Seems like there were only 2 or 3 decent chase days all year on the plains. You young 'uns haven't really had to suffer.....yet. :D You know it was bad when those of us who were around chasing then STILL remember it almost 2 decades later! I joke about 1988, but a year or two like that would definitely thin the chaser herd.
[/b]

I did a little research and both you and I are correct. We WERE coming off a strong El Nino in early 1988. But that quickly turned to a strong La Nina by April/May/June persisting through 1989, peaking at -1.9. So, as I was suggesting in my first response, this year sure looks similar to 1988 in that both were La Nina years. And even though this year's isn't strong, the atmosphere has sure been responding as if it were strong. Make what conclusions you may for this spring, but I'm worried about May, especially for the Southern Plains! I've long heard talk about how horrible 1988 was for chasing. Man, I hope that doesn't happen this year....but I'm pretty sure early spring this year will prove to have been much more active that mid-to-late spring. My 2 cents anyways.
 
Back
Top